“Liberia Cannot Go To Election Under Ugly Circumstances of 2017”

10
944
Representatives of various political parties hold the view that the special senatorial elections cannot be transparent without the cleaning up of the 2017 voters' roll, adding that there should be new voters registration to allow first time voters be part of the process.

-says Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison

Former Chairperson of the National Election Commission (NEC), Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison has advised that Liberia cannot go to the 2020 special senatorial elections “under the kind of ugly circumstances that were observed during the 2017 general and presidential elections.”

Cllr. Johnson-Allison, who also once served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, told participants at a daylong dialogue with political parties over the weekend that elections are tracers of conflicts if they are not carefully managed in a way that brings integrity to the process, that all parties can see transparency, free and fairness.

She called on the new board of Commissioners to manage the 2020 special senatorial elections carefully to ensure that the mistakes of 2017 would not be repeated because, in Liberia, elections have increasingly become sources of conflict and violence.

The 2020 special senatorial elections roundtable dialogue, held at the NEC, brought together representatives from the various political parties under the theme; “Inclusive and non-violent Peaceful elections.”

The roundtable dialogue was organized by the Liberia Peace Building Office in collaboration with ZOA, with funding from the Ireland Embassy in Liberia.

Major topics discussed at the roundtable dialogue included how the capacity of the NEC can be strengthened to be responsive for the successful implementation of the 2020 special senatorial election and 2023 general and presidential elections; what lessons can be drawn from the 2017 elections to guard against violence and promote peace; what are some policy recommendations that can be advanced for consideration by the government, civil society organizations and international partners to sustain peace, promote national reconciliation and achieve social cohesion; as well as what are some challenges political parties face before, during and after elections.

Cllr. Johnson-Allison said the quest for power has become such that people will almost kill themselves simply to loot, steal, marginalize people, punish those that voted for them, and enrich themselves.

“The voters do not understand; that is why every time they get in the rain and sun to vote, they vote people who do not care about them. They vote for few cups of rice and, at the end of the day, their leaders turned their backs only because they lack education about the true meaning of elections and the responsibility of their elected leaders,” Cllr. Johnson-Allison said.

“Voters need to understand that election is not about one person coming to power just to enrich themselves, but to improve the lives of those that voted them in power.

Speaking about reconciliation, she said Liberia has not made any gains but has successes in dividing the people based on political party lines.

Cllr. Johnson-Allison said Liberia does not have a collative Presidency, but a form of government where there is one head of state who serves as commander in chief of the AFL, head of governance and President. As such, political pronouncements should be made by the President, not for all government officials to confuse the already suffering masses.

She said Liberia cannot go back to a one-party system. That is why people should not be asked to join the ruling establishment as a precondition to working in the government, indicating that such pronouncements are contrary to the constitution and the sustainability of peace.

“This government is not just for people who voted them in power,” Cllr. Johnson-Allison said, “This is not the intent of the Constitution. When you are elected, no matter how the process went, you become the president for everybody, and every citizen has the right to the entitlements that the country has to offer. We must understand this.”

Oscar Bloh, head of the Election Coordinating Committee, who served as one of the moderators, said Africa is starting to see a new dispensation where political parties are challenging the outcome of elections through the legal process.

Bloh named Kenya and Malawi as those countries whose elections results were overturned by the Supreme Court and the propositions of re-run won the case.

“Those are all new ways to strengthen our democracies in Africa that political parties can take advantage of,” he said.

Bloh said African political parties need to follow such emerging developments to help do things differently because, holding all things constant, an election does not take place on election day.

“The real election is the systems, process, structures, educations, legislations, and the involvements of political parties that are put in place. So all political parties have the responsibility to engage NEC constantly to inform them that you are following all the processes,” Bloh said.

Davidetta Browne Lansanah, NEC Chairperson-designate, said they are doing everything in their power to ensure that elections Magistrates have enough training to handle elections matters.

She said they are doing their best to ensure that things are done the right way to reflect a better outcome during the 2020 special elections.

When the issue of clearing the voters’ roll was raised by many participants, Commissioner Browne Lansanah said NEC will ensure that there will be a voters’ role update for the 2020 elections and the process will address outstanding challenges of the voter’s roll in 2017.

The political parties also advised that to strengthen the independence of the NEC, there should be reform in the elections law that will not allow the president to appoint commissioners to head that August body.

According to them, women’s inclusion in the elections process must be welcome and those that cause violence in the electoral process should bear the full weight of the law.

The participants hold the view that the special senatorial elections cannot be transparent with the 2017 voter’s roll, adding that there should be new voters registration to allow first-time voters to be part of the process and avoid those things that happened during the 2017 general and presidential elections.

Author

  • Hannah N. Geterminah is a 2016 graduate of the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism with diploma and series of certificates in journalism from other institutions. She has lots of knowledge/ experience in human interest, political, Health, women and children stories. Hannah has worked with the Daily Observers Newspaper and the Liberian media for the past years and has broken many stories. Contact reporter; [email protected] WhatsApp;0770214920

10 COMMENTS

  1. Posted at 9:42 PM EST on Sunday, July 5 2020

    There are lots of problems associated with our electoral system.

    Unfortunately, many of the reforms needed MAY require legislative action and some foreign aid. Let me list a FEW of them:

    #1. NON-STAGGERED TERMS OF ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS – All election commissioners should not be subject to appointment [ and re-appointment] at the same time. It would be preferable to have staggered six-year terms.

    #2. INADEQUATE CIVIC EMPOWERMENT AT LOCAL LEVEL — The fact that voters don’t currently have a say in the selection of municipal leaders is a serious barrier. If people could see how the three (3) branches of government operate with a mayor, city councilmen, and city magistrate, they may understand better how to hold NATIONAL leaders accountable.

    #3. INADEQUATE LAW ENFORCEMENT STRENGTH — Remember 2011, when immigration officers were assigned to augment law enforcement at electoral centers? That happened when we had UNMIL.

    Imagine how the next elections will be in the absence of UNMIL. How do we conduct elections and tabulate votes in an environment that is susceptible to political violence? How do we field enough personnel to cover over 2,000 electoral precincts?

    #4. VOTE TABULATION DECENTRALIZATION — During the last by-election featuring Darius Dillon, Telia Urey, et al, the vote tabulation occurred at the NEC HQ instead of at the precincts. And that was for a small county like Montserrado.

    If we repeat that, we’ll create problems of “chain of custody” of ballots and open the door to allegations of fraud, ballot stuffing, etc. We should have learnt from the 1985 special elections. Apparently, we haven’t.

    [CONTINUES BELOW]

  2. Posted at 10:01 PM EST on Sunday, July 5, 2020

    #5. SET MINIMUM 2.5% OF VOTER ROLLS AS ELIGIBILITY FOR PARTY EXISTENCE AND INDEPENDENT CANDIDACY

    Too many political parties. Require 2.5% of projected 2.5 million adult population (by 2023)for party retention. That means, any political party [or independent candidate] who cant gather 62,500 signatures should probably try something else. Maybe, sell shoes and stay out of politics.

    In theory, we may have up to 40 candidates maximum [ 2.5% times 40 = 100%]. In practice, we may end up with a few political parties/independent candidates(perhaps five or less) and manage our elections better.

    —————————

    #6. AMEND THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS ON RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS —

    To prevent foreign-based “tourist politicians” and “down-low” U.S> citizens from contesting electoral positions, do the following:

    a. Increase the residency requirement of House and Senate to three(3) years and five(5) years, respectively, from the current three(3) months and one(1) year,.

    b. For the presidency, keep the 10-year prior residency. Strengthen it further by including the words “immediately preceding” the elections to remove any ambiguity. This one doesn’t deserve much debate. Candidaes need to live with the people. They should feel the mosquito bite, sleep at night with the risk of armed robbery, and get to understand the problems of the electorate.

    c. Require PERMANENT RESIDENCY in Liberia. It means no “green card” holder and candidates should spend at least 275 days (75% of the time) in Liberia.

    d. Require candidates with prior residency abroad to show proof of immigration status in that foreign country, as well as proof that they enter those foreign countries with LIBERIAN PASSPORT whenever they travel. Since U.S. citizens MUST enter and leave the U.S. with U.S. passports, it will be easy to weed out potential “down-low” U.S. citizens seeking electoral positions in Liberia.

    [END]

  3. PLAIN DISPLAY OF NONSENSE (to cover-up) AFTER BEING BEATEN AND DISGRACED FOR HIS DELIBERATE MISREPRESENTATIONS, BIZARRE IGNORANCE, AND DISGUSTING IDIOCY, in his extremely unnecessary and totally lackadaisical attempt to mislead readers about people, who;

    (1) in their current diabolical, rude, and hypocritical, agenda are known on both domestic and public international records for;

    (2) stupidly believing Liberia is the property of the settlers and their remnants, and their accomplices (of the indigenous population) who, like the remnants of the settlers, are known to be;

    (3) power-seeking hypocrites who mask their selfish desires behind the rhetoric of “doing something” for the Liberian people; even at the cost of taking the country a hundred years backward, the destruction of the country, and the massive killing of the innocent!

    You better shut-up and let others assume (and not confirm) that your idiocy abound when it comes to the required, needed, and authorized, statutory and constitutional jurisprudence, and the practical or rudimentary intelligence, and dynamics of conventional wisdom viz elections.

    List a few MRU, ECOWAS, OR AU sovereign nations within which all of the commissioners are tenured officials (as you are implying here), even when the chief commissioner is constitutionally and statutorily a tenured official. when you rant such rubbish as “All election commissioners should not be subject to appointment [ and re-appointment] at the same time”; you should
    explicate WHY!

    So, according to your “track thinking” and “tunnel vision” lacking commonsense and reality, elections in post-war-torn nations cannot be held in the absence of UNIMIL, despite the fact that elections are and have been held in our sisterly and neighborly post-war-torn countries with relative calm and serenity WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF UNIMIL.

    As for your ranting idiocy on “Too many political parties”, residency requirements, or “requiring candidates with prior residency abroad to show proof of immigration status in that foreign country,”- all of which, ipso facto their lack of commonsense and lack of regards of certain fundamental rights, and constitutional dictates, simply render such “suggestions” totally lackadaisical!

  4. Also, with regards to your rubbish about “INADEQUATE CIVIC EMPOWERMENT AT LOCAL LEVEL”, list neighborly, subregional, or continental, nations where “voters don’t currently have a say in the selection of municipal leaders, and do not “see how the three (3) branches of government operate with a mayor, city councilmen, and city magistrate”; hence, do not understand better how to hold NATIONAL leaders accountable.”

    The Liberian electorate are amongst the best masters of “understanding” and holding both their elected and appointed officials “accountable”! And this fact, truth, or reality, is made evident before, during, and after elections! Before you come here to rant your rubbish, you better take into account your deep-seated limitations!

    • True or False Nationalist you are just a failed propagandist in the Ministry of Information. Still needs training in the field of disinformation. Simply put, you are a turn off. If this is the best kind of lies in you that nation can produced to its citizens, one should look no further than the boss of the Ministry of Information. Just a laugh off mess . Granted that as True or False nationalist , it is your time to eat, you can do better than the BS put out here. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  5. Posted at 8:41 PM EST on Monday, July 6, 2020

    PART 1 OF 2

    For the benefit of readers, I have been followed to another discussion thread because I dared to defend Hon. Olubanke king-Akerele.

    It all started when she penned an opinion piece for the Daily Observer last week with caption—- “Open Letter to: Minister of Health and the Government of Liberia” .

    The letter referred to the recent experience of Mrs. Mae-Gene Best at the #14 Hospital. She re-iterated some of the suggestions submitted by Mrs. Best and offered some of her [ Akelere’s] own.

    The article was published on July 1, 2020. By July 3, 2020, the members of the Gbekugbeh’s cyber praetorian guard had smelled blood.

    I joined the discussion at 7:28 PM EST [ 11:28 PM Liberian time] on Saturday, July 4, 2020.
    I defended her and suggested that the Weah administration should reach out to key members of Liberia’s medical community, as well as experienced ebola-era case maangers like James Dorbor Jallah and infectious disease specialist Chris Dougheg Nyan.

    At 9:52 PM EST of the same date, I debunked the claim made by one of Weah’s supporters regarding Hon Akelere’s alleged links to ACDL and the NPFL based on the erroenous perception that “settlers” supported that organization.

    I referred to an April, 1990 document which clearly revealed the following :

    1. The ACDL was primarily interested in resotring constitutional government to Liberia
    2. The majority of the ACDL’s Board of Directors was comprised of indigenous persons [ 6 of 7].
    3. The ACDL had retained a U.S.-based law firm to pursue a 501 (C) (3) status
    4. The ACDL had a fund for the support of refugees.

    [CONTINUES WITH Part 2 of 2]

  6. Posted at 8:45 PM EST on Monday, July 6, 2020

    PART 2 of 2

    I also debunked the oft-repeated claim that Hon. Akelere is the daughter of one of those men executed in 1980 [ Charles D.B. King II]. Not true. Her father was Charles T.O. King, Sr.

    Finally, I also pointed out the irony that Weah has appointed out descendants of “settlers” like Milton Findey, Emmanuel Shaw II, Charles Bright, Jeanine Cooper, and Archie Bernard. I provided genealogical information to prove my point that it seemed odd that Weah appointed people from a group blamed for the destruction of Liberia.

    After that, everything went down hill. I became a subject of numerous insults. For example, at 8:11 AM Liberian time [ July 5, 2020], I was branded as an ACDL supporter and “possible war criminal”.

    The individual following me sought to portray me as a liar by citing an April 9, 1990 letter by Harry Greaves Jr. [ based on a past FPA publication]. He jumped all around the thread like a headless chicken trying to deceive readers. Apparently, he failed to realize that I was referring to the same [April 9, 1990] document.

    Eventually, I went through the painstaking process of pointing out paragraphs 4, 7, and 8 of the same letter to prove my point. I did that at 5:35 PM Liberian time on Sunday, July 5, 2020.

    Now, here I am being followed and called all sorts of names in another thread. It’s so funny. I’ll leave it to the readers to visit the other discussion thread and see for themselves.

    [END]

  7. MINOR CORRECTION : Hon. Akelere’s dad was Charles T.O. King II, son of President Charles D.B. King.

    President Charles D.B. King was the son of Charles T.O. King Sr.

  8. POSTED AT 12:26 PM EST on Monday, September 21, 2020

    I decided to dredge this discussion thread to show readers how PETARUS DOLO is a liar.
    On September 11, 2020, at 1:35 PM LIBERIAN TIME, Mr. Dolo wrote [ to me ] :

    —- “….Some of you are still indulged in stupid segregation in Liberia. In fact, some of you only pretend to mingle with the rest of Liberians during elections to win their votes…… “

    That comment was posted in another thread with caption “Let’s Make President Weah A Benevolent Dictator”. —- [SEE DAILY OBSERVER story of September 8, 2020]

    ——————

    Now compare Mr. Dolo’s comment to my remarks posted on Sunday, July 6, 2020 [ at 2:01 AM LIBERIAN TIME / 10:01 PM EST, July 5, 2010] above .

    Readers may note that I advocated for:

    #1. Strengthening the 10-year prior residency requirement for the presidency

    #2. Candidates who would “….. need to live with the people. They should feel the mosquito bite, sleep at night with the risk of armed robbery, and get to understand the problems of the electorate…..”

    #2. Increasing the residency requirements of the House and Senate eligibility from 3 months and 1 year, to 3 years and 5 years, respectively.

    #3. Requiring PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN LIBERIA . No “green card” holder and physical presence for at last 275 days [ 9 months] per year.

    #4. Requiring candidates WITH PRIOR RESIDENCY ABROAD to show proof of Liberian citizenship and PREVIOUS IMMIGRATION STATUS in that foreign country.

    ——————

    Yet, somehow, Mr. Dolo claimed that I subscribe to the notion [or belief] by some candidates who “…..only pretend to mingle with the rest of Liberians during elections to win their votes……”.

    This is the kind of bold-faced lying that got lots of people killed and imprisoned during the Liberian political crises of the 1980s and 1990s.

Leave a Reply