Amid growing concerns of alleged irregularities and frauds emanating from the October 10 polls, the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, has termed the allegations as “politically motivated.”
Addressing journalists at the Commission’s regular elections update press conference in Monrovia yesterday, Korkoya said the NEC should in no way be blamed for the delay in the conduct of the runoff election because some political parties and actors are responsible for the delay.
“One thing they all should know by now is that the NEC is not a political party situated to be counter-reacting all of the time to allegations as they may want us to do. We are not delaying the process, neither are we failing to dispose of pieces of evidence depicting frauds that we may have gotten from the field if any by the way,” he said.
“We have repeatedly informed the public that the October 10 representative and presidential elections were faced with some irregularities but let our message not be construed as saying that there were frauds, particularly intended to favor a candidate in the process,” he noted.
Korkorya’s reaction came following complaints filed by the Liberty Party, (LP), and All Liberian Party (ALP) and some individual candidates alleging that there were gross irregularities, frauds, and abuse of the constitution on October 10.
“Hearing into the Liberty Party’s case was ongoing but out of impatience they decided to run to the Supreme Court and seek a writ of prohibition ordering a stay order on the runoff until an investigation into their case was completed,” he said. “The NEC, as provided for by law has 30 days to hear complaints and if an aggrieved party feels any discontent, he or she or it can appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners and if ruling from said matter is also not welcomed by any party, an appeal can be taken to the Supreme Court.”
“The Supreme Court has seven days to handle appeals from this Commission and renders its opinion,” he said.
He noted that the resolution of election disputes is of high priority to the Commission and as such no one should think that it is careless about looking into grievances from any camp or an individual.
Korkoya admonished political parties to be responsible and verify their allegations before bringing them to the public.
“Political technicalities from political parties and their lawyers are causing the delay, not the NEC,” he noted.
Korkoya added that even though the hearing officer of the Commission is still looking into UP’s concerns and is expected to hand down a ruling today, the party should express their love for country by calling for specific areas of conflict rather than demand the Commission to revisit results from all the 5,390 polling centers across the country.
Concerning Liberty Party’s request of the BOC to recuse itself from hearing its case; he said he could not comment on it because the party’s recusal request is not formally brought before it.
“What we heard on the radio and read in the newspapers about LP calling for our recusal is speculation and it remains a speculation,” he said. “The BOC is a constitutionally organized body that acts based on formal procedures.”
He said the rule of law, in all aspects, including the recognition of the fact that the NEC is a responsible agency should be respected.
“Political parties and individual members of our political processes need to be civil and do away with fabrications. Do not incite the people and cause disunity in the country,” he admonished and called on the public to see the NEC as a mediator rather than a prosecuting arm of the government.
Meanwhile, the presidential runoff slated for Tuesday, November 7, between Senator George Manneh Weah (Coalition for Democratic) and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai (Unity Party), was suspended due to a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court filed by the Liberty Party.