By J. Burgess Carter
The Liberian Senate yesterday mandated the secretary of the Senate to cite the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, to appear before the plenary on Thursday, June 22, based on concerns and complaints of massive irregularities in the final voter registration roll currently on display throughout the country.
The Senate is requesting Korkoya to appear along with all relevant documents that he may need to assist him in his answers to their queries.
The decision by the 15 Senators at yesterday’s 42nd day sitting came as a result of an earlier verbal complaint made Thursday by Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, in which he informed his colleagues that his and his wife’s names were missing or omitted from the final voter registration roll. He was requested to put his observation into writing for plenary’s action.
In his letter dated June 19 and submitted to the Senate yesterday, Senator Cooper reminded his colleagues that it is their duty to ensure that the electoral process is not flawed, and that “we hold a free and fair election without violence and without questions regarding the validity of the outcomes.”
Therefore, the outspoken Senator continued, “I ask that we request the appearance of the NEC commissioner to speak to the severity of the irregularities, in regards to the voter registration roll; and we must be made aware of any problems that may impact the elections process.”
Senator Cooper urged the lawmakers to help ensure that Liberians are at ease with the process and that the electoral process is such that it will be void of doubts, innuendos or questions about its validity. “It is paramount that the National Elections Commission be honest and above board with the people of Liberia.”
Concluding, the former chairman of the Committee on Public Works asserted that the October elections will be a defining moment for the continuity of democracy in Liberia whereby “the people of Liberia would have demonstrated their democratic franchise and will only be receptive of the results if they perceive the process to be transparent.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in recent sittings, 15 Senators plus Pro Tempore Armah Jallah attended yesterday’s sitting, among them Montserrado County Senator and standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change, George Manneh Weah, after over a month’s absence.
The former football icon was seen in deep conversation with Nimba County ranking Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, who recently gave his support to the candidacy of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai. But political pundits who confided in our reporter said naming a running mate will dictate the Nimba strongman’s next move.
Senators at yesterday’s sitting included Geraldine Doe-Sherif, Montserrado; Morris G. Saytumah, Bomi; Stephen Zargo, Lofa; Albert Chie, Grand Kru; Peter Coleman, Grand Kru; Francis Saturday Paye, River Cess; G. Alphonso Gaye, Grand Gedeh; Oscar Cooper, Margibi; Jewel Howard Taylor, Bong; H. Dan Morais, Maryland; J. Milton Teahjay, Sinoe; Conmany B. Wesseh, River Gee; George Manneh Weah, Montserrado; and Prince Yormie Johnson, Nimba.