NEC Addresses Media Reports

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Cllr. Kokoya: "The process remains credible though it has been postponed indefinitely.

Authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) have cautioned journalists to double check the information or apply a bit of due diligence to their story before publication. The NEC statement comes in the wake of concerns expressed by the four collaborating political parties — Unity Party, Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party and Liberty Party — that the NEC might be secretly registering voters in order to increase the number of votes in favor of candidates on the ticket of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The Commission has meanwhile called on journalists and those accusing it of wrong doing to give due diligence to fact finding.

“But what this Commission has to say is that those reports and assertions are false and that the public should not take them serious,” NEC chairman, Jerome George Kokoya told a news conference in Monrovia.

“That story has no basis in fact; it is false and a dangerous attempt to undermine the electoral process and expose the Commission to public disrepute,” he added.

He said NEC does not operate in secrecy and, as such, whosoever wants information on any of its operations should visit the Commission’s offices and he/she will get the needed answers.

“Independent foreign partners are closely monitoring our activities and, apart from that, this Commission, under the law, is open to all political actors and citizens or residents with important concerns,” he said.

About the replacement of lost and damaged voter cards, Kokoya said NEC is obliged by law to replace all voters’ cards that have been damaged or missing before the conduct of any by-election.

He said no new voters’ cards were printed for anyone as alleged recently by politicians and some journalists.

On the need for those who lost or damaged their voters’ cards to pay US$5, the NEC said it is granted under the new elections law of Liberia, and as such, people who are claiming that the Commission attempted to exploit the electorates were in complete error, and should see the need to investigate the truth for themselves.

“Under the law, as recorded in Section 3.5 (2) of the New Elections Law of Liberia, it says in the event of loss or destruction of voter registration cards after proof has been established, the registrar shall issue a new card for a minimum fee of $5 to be paid in the internal revenue.

Korkoya however said that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) promised to pay for all lost and damaged cards.

“It is the NEC that appealed to the Finance Ministry to facilitate the payment for the lost voter cards, since most of those who showed up to replace their cards did not have money to pay, so those who showed up to be registered the date for the exercise was expired, were denied,” he said.

He said that the Commission’s extension of the voter cards’ replacement period was legally done on the basis to serve all those, who were not served earlier.

“The registrars were overwhelmed by the presence of a huge number of people who wanted their lost or damaged cards replaced. They were not from a particular political camp, but from many parts of the country as citizens qualified by law to get their lost voting cards replaced,” he said.

Korkoya said the total number of 1,649 lost and damaged cards were replaced during the last exercise.

“Of the 1,649 cards replaced, 573 came from the Brewerville Election Magistrate’s office; 337 from the NEC Bentol’s office, while 739 cards were replaced here at the Sinkor NEC Headquarters for the pending by-elections,” he said.

He said only individuals whose names were found on the 2017 final registration roll (FRR) were considered for the replacement of lost voters’ cards exercise.

Of the 2,183,268 voters registered in 2017 nationwide, 778,291 are from Montserrado County. The number of registered voters in Montserrado Electoral District #15 is 39,005.

“Montserrado has 488 precinct centers and, of this number, 31 are in Montserrado Electoral District #15,” Kokoya said.

He added that the voter roll for each center in Montserrado in general and in District #15 will be posted for public viewing by all qualified voters.

He said in the soonest possible time, the Commission will announce the date on which the pending by-elections will be held.

“We are very certain that the date to be announced will not be changed as done with the previous dates, due to certain challenges. Meanwhile campaigns can continue until the Commission announces the next official date for the elections,” he said.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I think NEC has always done well. Thanks to all their Staffs; Very friendly.
    Where is their Website?
    Do they only have facebook?

  2. Thank you Chairman Kokoya for the clarification. Take your time and do the process right.
    The 72 members of the House of Representatives, and 29 members of the Senate can successfully carry on the functions of the Legislature.
    The absence of one Representative and one Senator will not stop the work of the Legislature.
    Stay focused and do the job right.

  3. Asking the MOF/DP to pay for voters’ cards is very very strange and unheard of in any election situation around the world. Even the WAEC has never asked the MOE, for example, to pay the sitting fees for students who could not meet that requirement. Such “kind gesture” supports the alarm blown by the opposition parties that something fishy is unfolding about the unjustified and unilateral postponement of these elections. It begs the question, “what convinced Korkoyah that the MOF/DP could underwrite the cost of those “missing cards?” Does the MOF/DP have petty cash or whatever the designation in its budget for this kind of charity? If so, there are more deserving people or areas for such charity, like at the various hospitals for registration fees for indigent patients than wasting those resources on mercenary voters, who will be selling their votes to the highest bidder and not necessarily for the good of Montserrado county, or the country at large. And the date for the pending elections ought not be secret or as information intended for few big people only. People lives depend on the outcome of these elections, in terms of the associated advocacy and representation of citizens’ interests by the winners. So no need NEC playing “Cocoa and mecee” or “you see this and you don’t see this” with these elections. It creates unnecessary anxiety and fuel all these rumors thereto. And these are some of the mishandling of elections that lead to unnecessary violence. Any election shrouded in secrecy and lacks transparency is a recipe for violence in Africa. Korkoyah and staff know know this very well. So unless violence is the objective here, they are surely playing with fire with this clumsy and susceptible manner in which these elections are being conducted so far. We are tired with war and therefore must signal or decry any behaviors that instigate warfare in our midst. Hence, hear ye! Hear ye!

  4. We need the face the facts and stop putting ourselves first. If we put Liberia first, I think that’s the right direction to go. Why should the NEC be asking finance ministry to paid for those missing cards replacement for? Is that what the constitution says since the NEC wants to implement what our constitution say. This very election has been twice postponed which is totally suspicion and funny giving the environment which it was being done especially reasons involved the postponement. The government knew about the elections to be held in advance but yet failed to fund the NEC to hold the elections at the dying days since the momentum was in the opposition favor hence leading to the cancellation for the second time. People are very concerned about the way things are being handle especially when our president has boostfully and repeatedly said that, as long as he is the president of Liberia,the opposition will never win elections. These are very powerful statements to over look and here NEC cancelling twice our elections, they ring bell in our ears considering the speech from our president. So NEC should be strongly convincing the public as to why they repeatedly postponeded the elections instead of attacking the media. As yet, for me the reasons they postponeded these elections are not good enough giving the way things was done. J. Ark

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