The Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoyah, has expressed frustration with news that several of the cameras that are being used in the ongoing voter registration (VR) exercise are defective.
“We are not saying that the problems the cameras have developed came from UNDP, our partner who donated them to us, but these are technical problems we did not expect to have come up, most especially at the beginning of this VR process,” Cllr. Korkoyah noted at a press conference on Thursday in Monrovia.
He said the worry now is that cameras currently being used across the country, including Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Lofa and Sinoe counties, will have to be brought back to Monrovia to be repaired by NEC technicians in case any of them has a problem that may subsequently render them ineffective.
The case of the defective cameras took center stage when at the start of the exercise on Wednesday, February 1, several VR centers could not register any significant number of Liberian voters due to technical problems associated with the cameras.
Cllr. Korkoyah noted that the Commission will work along with the UNDP to address the faults the cameras have developed.
Concerning security during the VR process, the NEC boss said the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) has agreed to deploy officers at the various VR centers to deal with aliens that would attempt to register.
“The Liberia Immigration Service has accepted to offer their own human resources and logistics for their own use during this VR process, with NEC having no financial burden thereof,’’ Cllr. Korkoyah assured.
According to him, it is not possible for police and other security personnel to be present everywhere but citizens themselves should take ownership of the process by not only registering to vote but exposing irregularities as well.
‘’We got a report from Lofa that some strange people, who were identified as non-Liberians, attempted to register yesterday but were exposed by some citizens and are undergoing investigation by the immigration and police officers,’’ the NEC boss disclosed.
Regarding VR centers located at privately owned school facilities where the NEC was denied access because owners claimed they were not earlier informed by the NEC, Cllr. Korkoyah said there are ongoing negotiations between his office and the schools’ owners and he hopes to resolve the misunderstanding.
Korkoyah said his office is constrained with many financial burdens and as such they are not prepared to pay for spaces in order to carry out the VR process.
He said a meeting to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the NEC and all the qualified political parties so that the parties stop pre-campaigning is expected to take place today at the NEC headquarters.
“The MOU, if signed, will clearly state the ultimatum for all political parties to stop the early campaigning,’’ Cllr. Korkoyah said.