Korkoya Threatens to Banish Daily Observer

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Says newspaper “is against the NEC”       

Jerome George Korkoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), yesterday avenged his apparent long withheld anger at the independent Daily Observer newspaper, threatening to ban the media outlet from attending NEC press conferences. “We know the Daily Observer is against the Commission,” the chairman said over the phone.

Korkoya made the statement via mobile phone when NEC communications director Henry Flomo called the paper to ascertain its source for a story which quoted him confirming a run-off election on November 7.

Although the NEC chair did not explain why he believes the paper is against the commission, his outburst, however, was in reaction to a front page story the paper published in its Wednesday, October 18 edition under the caption: “Boakai, Weah Confirmed for Nov. 7 Run-off.”

Korkoya’s tirade came just days after the announcement of the preliminary results of 95.6 percent of the valid votes cast in the the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, which many contenders claim was marred by frauds and inaccuracies.

Observer’s Wednesday story cited an October 17 statement attributed to the NEC communications director, Henry Flomo, by the Associated Press (AP) news agency and was published on the Voice of America (VOA) website under the caption: “Liberian Runoff Vote On Nov. 7 with Weah Facing Boakai.”

In the story, it was reported that: “Election authorities say Liberia’s presidential runoff will take place Nov. 7. Henry Flomo, National Elections Commission communications director, said Tuesday that former international soccer superstar George Weah will face Vice President Joseph Boakai in the second round.”

In true AP fashion, the story was published on the websites of leading global outlets including the New York Times, New York Daily News and Fox News.

Another news agency, Agence France Presse (AFP), reported the same information, which was published on News 24, which said “NEC announced the run-off on Sunday” (October 15).

Meanwhile, Korkoya and Flomo denied ever speaking about a runoff date to any media outlet. The NEC Chairman contended that the Daily Observer failed to contact Flomo or the commission for clarification, and rather published the story as reported by the international news outlet.

In Liberia, it is not uncommon for government agencies to release information to foreign media, leaving local media out of the loop.

In the recent past, the Daily Observer has tried on numerous occasions to interview the NEC chair on a number of issues the public had raised with the Commission, but did not succeed. Like Korkoya, other officials of government as well as politicians in these elections tend to prefer granting interviews to foreign news outlets rather than to local reporters.

“The apparent inconvenience borne by the NEC due to the Daily Observer not contacting Flomo or other officials for clarity was not malicious or intentional,” the Daily Observer said in an email to Flomo. “The Daily Observer is not against the National Elections Commission as Chairman Jerome Korkoya [said] during your phone call. We hope you all can disabuse yourselves of that notion.”

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10 COMMENTS

  1. What a shameless bold face! In the midst of so many frauds and inaccuracies,
    you want to announce the elections results? Give us a break! You allowed only
    all of Weah’s supporters and turned away other parties’ supporters. Why?
    That is what you need to explain to the Liberian public and the International
    community.

  2. Yikes! I read the news about Weah v. Boakai via international media (Citizen of USA). I’d been watching the election and wasn’t that surprised by the results (Though, I figured Cummings would come in 3rd). That Mr. Korkoya better be careful – That sounds awful close to intimidation of the Press. Here is wishing All Liberians a peaceful run-off election…

  3. In a country where people live on $1 a day, it’s obvious that hot news will be very easy to go viral. Monrovia is a gossip town and leaders are found everywhere in liquor and cold bow shops sharing sensitive information. Korkoya needs to be careful because his reputation is on the line. He needs to publicly apologize to the Liberian people for handling the election poorly. I know it is very late now but NEC made several errors including the court. The reason we ended with floodgate of candidates because the price tags for candidates registration was set too low., the code of conduct was violated, excess ballots were brought in and the results was pubished on social media before the official announcement. Korkoya himself is a source of leaking news in Monrovia and I dare him to bother the media. Apparently, you don’t know how AP works – Please check your notes before going rogue, it is probably no different from what they have because your signature is on it. Meanwhile, the two parties have agreed for the Nov. 7th re-run. And by the way, please don’t prolong the transitional process as well because Ellen Johnson Sirleaf can’t wait to move out. #God save the Republic of Liberia.

  4. The Daily Observer Managing Editorial needs to apologise to NEC for lazy journalism.
    Two things the paper should have implemented in publishing this article. They are as follows; contact NEC’s officials to confirm the story carried by major international media regarding Weah and Boakai going for a round off or quote the international media.
    If the indicated above was employed in writing this story,the situation between NEC and Observer couldn’t exist.
    To mitigate or prevent future situation between Liberian media outlets and institutions or individuals,I would like to give this piece advise the owners of electronic and print media in Liberia to create an Investigation Department to investigate news before publishing.

    • We did not say we quoted he Associated Press. We said we got the information from VOA, who got it from AP. That is the truth. Check again.

  5. Comment: Thank God For Liberia, Atleast Our Democracy is Getting Mantrow. God Has Started To Expose Every Illness In Our Recent Elections. Now We Know The Book People From The Educated People. Chairman Kokoya, You Are Just A Mare Book Man Not An Educated Man

    • Lol…your leave the chairman alone !
      EJS hire Kokorya to do dirty work for her.. Kokorya, already sold his reputation to the Liberian people.

  6. The silent majority has the Liberian nation’s secret Presidential control of this election. This brought forward 57% is the only power to transition: has the actual factual count. We should not panic, neither should we forget that this imaginary is also counting and has the formula to this election. (RV=AV + AB). Actual votes, abstinence, votes in process, void votes, literate votes, illiterate votes are all part of this election activities. This control system set by our founders in the case such issues occur, can also see the prior faults from all angles. For instance, prior predictions of international observers, NEC and the incumbent’s pallet masks, and local + foreign media shenanigans ill conclusive revelations, etc.. We do not care about who is spying or what may be said or written in broken English, any language or not. This nation is 85% illiterate and 15% literate. We will keep our secret heritage by procedures and laws that have been enacted, without any interference. We will do it the traditional cultural Liberian way to avoid another fight. “Simple majority above 50%”. Liberians know the Liberian way. The Liberian people need another President. The Liberian People will find a President without fussing. No one will know who the winner is until the appropriate time. God’s time.
    Gone in silence. Let the Liberian people know.
    DO NOT REPLY THIS BOX.

  7. Does a functionary of government have the authority to arbitrarily “banish” any organ of the Fourth Estate? Not that I know of, hence, Chairman Korkoya shouldn’t make threats he won’t enforce. Certainly, his current challenges are overwhelming, nonetheless, he cannot loss his head: Not now!

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