— Chairman Korkoya Informs Senators
The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and a team of Commissioners have informed the Liberian Senate that the Commission has not received a dime for the conduct of the October 2020 midterm Senatorial Election.
The midterm Senatorial Election, as expected in October, will be drawing 15 of the 30 Senators elected in 2011 whose tenure expires this year. Without the conduct of this election, it is certain that Liberia will enter into a constitutional crisis as the 9-year tenure for said Senators expires as of October.
Appearing before the plenary of the Senate on Capitol Hill yesterday, Cllr Korkoya disclosed that NEC is yet to receive any amount from the adjusted US$17 million agreed by the government for the election and warned that “If by the 30th of May the registration process is not completed and credible roll established, the possibility of conducting election by October, will be seriously handicapped.”
Cllr Korkoya disclosed that in accordance with NEC timetable, the voter registration would have taken place in January, but was rescheduled for this February and has again been scheduled for March.
“Without sounding dramatic, I think we are seriously late with the voter roll,” Cllr Korkoya maintained. Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn, requested that since the hiccup of the NEC progress is hinged on the unavailability of money, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning must be cited to appear before the Senate to give reasons why his Ministry is delaying the provision of funding to the Elections Commission.
For his part, River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh reminded his colleagues that the issue of elections in October is not in doubt, “because the Constitution is very clear that it must happen at that time; so in their planning, it is evident that they have not failed in presenting to us the critical part to election, and a key factor to that is resources.”
Senator Wesseh asserted that if elections are not held, “it is not because of the inefficiency or ineffectiveness of the National Elections Commission; it is the failure of the institutions that are set up to provide them the resources. I think what they have done by coming today, it has further indicted the Legislature and the government that we have failed to do what we need to do.”
Senator Wesseh emphasized that it is the Senate that is going to be affected the most, “because if elections are not held there will not be a Senate and the government will collapse; all the people who were afraid of stepdown campaign or so, the real stepdown will happen in October because there will be no elections, no Senate, no government functioning and they (government) should take responsibility for violating the Constitution, not the Elections Commission.”
The River Gee County Senator, meanwhile, warned that there will be no basis for anyone to start thinking that there will be a resolution to postpone elections; “All those who participate in the delay process will have to suffer it, so let the message go clear that the violators of the Liberian Constitution will be those who will not support the Elections critical path method that we have today.”
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday voted unanimously to cite the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to appear before plenary on Thursday.
In another development, Senators Abraham Darius Dillon and Oscar Cooper yesterday declared as diabolical lies, Representative Acarious Gary’s assertion that the Liberian Senate voted to concur with the House of representatives to ratify an agreement between East International and the government for the expansion of the Roberts International Airport highway.
The two Senators clarified that the Liberian Senate has not taken any position regarding the East International agreement for the expansion of the road project.
Senators Dillon and Cooper clarified that President George Manneh Weah’s letter to the Senate was seeking the Senate’s advice on how to transfer the contract by East International from Bomi to the RIA Highway, which they said the Senate is yet to approve.