NEC Under Immense Public Pressure

3
1194
NEC headquarters in Monrovia

Denies reports of cheating and new voter registration

Authorities at the National Elections Commission(NEC) have once again come under the spotlight all for the wrong reasons — the delay beyond the Constitutionally prescribed period for the holding of the by-elections to fill vacancies in both Houses of the Legislature, which were created by the deaths of Montserrado County Senator, Geraldine Doe Sheriff and Representative Adolph A. Lawrence of Montserrado Country District #15.

For reasons which are not explicitly clear, the by-elections for both Houses have been postponed for the second time. This newspaper recalls that although the Constitution provides that the leadership of each House should within a 30-day period notify the NEC in case of a vacancy in any of the two bodies, the leadership of the Senate did not, as Article 37 of the Constitution provides, officially notify the NEC of the existing vacancy until April 8, 2019, nearly a month following the death of Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff on February 10, 2019.

This development, according to ANC leader Alexander Cummings, was in violation of the 30-day period prescribed by the Constitution.

Article 37 of the Constitution entitled: By-Election to Fill Vacancy reads thus:
“In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”

Further, according to Cummings, the NEC and the Government of Liberia (GoL) have no justifiable excuse for postponing the elections since according to him, factors cited as reasons for the postponement of the elections were well known in advance to the NEC, as well as to the government, noting that such were not conditions beyond the control of both NEC and the GoL.

He further noted that reasons cited by NEC, that is delay in provision of funding and late arrival of elections materials are all self-created with the intent to rig the elections and steal the results.

Since the announced postponement, the Daily Observer has received from informed sources several reports suggestive of attempts by NEC officials to rig the elections. According to informed sources, the integrity of the voters registry, long a contentious issue is suspect, because it is the same compromised registry used during the 2017 elections.

Those rolls, according to sources, were never cleaned-up as directed by the Supreme Court, although the Court chose to look the other way when its mandate to do so was deliberately ignored by NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya without any repercussions.

Informed NEC sources further told this newspaper that a sum of US$400,000 was dished out to a certain individual (name withheld) to procure election kits from China, instead of Ghana, as previously done. But, according to sources, the said individual instead went to Accra for a holiday treat.

This, according to sources, prompted NEC Chairman Korkoya to fly into Accra to hasten things as well as to bring things under control. When initially contacted, late last week for comment on reports suggesting the elections would have been postponed, NEC acting information officer, Prince Dunbar, declared that the elections were on course, and that any suggestions to the contrary were not true.

When the Daily Observer contacted him concerning reports of a group of men, who had showed up at the NEC 9th Street offices on Monday, July 8, purporting to have come at the behest of their “Chairman” to obtain new voter registration cards, Dunbar noted that the group was told that the voter card replacement exercise deadline had passed and they were turned away. He also declined to comment on reports that CDC Chairman Morlu had paid a nocturnal visit to the home of the NEC Chairman on last Sunday following the chairman’s return from Accra.

The would be voters are suspected to have been recruited from elsewhere to support the CDC candidates in the elections.

Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has been reliably informed that prior to the postponement of the by-elections, the voters roll had not been displayed for inspection and public vetting as required by law, although public concerns had been raised about its integrity, which is considered key to the holding of free and fair elections. Prince Dunbar told the Daily Observer that, indeed there was going to be no voter roll display, but only the voter registration card replacement exercise.

Insider NEC sources say its official responsible for data management spent virtually the entire Sunday in the NEC data processing center for reasons suspected to be linked to attempts to corrupt an already compromised voters roll. The report has however been denied by NEC officials.

In fact, authorities at the NEC have further clarified that there is no replacement of missing and damaged voters’ cards going on at any of its offices as it has been rumored, the Commission said in a release, signed by Henry Flomo, communications director.

The Commission, according to the release, said replacement of voters’ cards for the 2019 Montserrado by-elections ended since June 27, 2019. “The initial deadline for replacement of voting cards was on June 25, however, due to government’s intervention to shoulder the cost of reproducing missing and damaged voting cards as per law, the Commission added a two-day grace period from June 26-27, 2019.

NEC has meanwhile called on all voters, who might have issues with their voting cards to solve them after the conduct of the pending Montserrado by-elections as the process of replacement is closed.

Insider NEC sources, however, told the Daily Observer that this move was driven by expressed public concerns about the integrity of the process, which appeared to convey an overwhelming public impression of massive fraud said to have been in the works.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Weah’s image is 100% silhouetted in the backdrop of Samuel Doe’s backlit; and there is no turning back.
    Liberia is in a deeper trouble than many shortsighted people might be thinking.

    If one could trek back in history and begin to reflect on the many reasons that brought the country down to its knees, he will conclude that vote rigging and massive election fraud contributed a whole lot to that sad chapter.

    When the election commission connived with Doe’s NDPL establishment, and they hoodwinked the late statesman, Jackson F. Doe, in the hotly contested electoral process of 1985, it drastically changed the socio-political and socio-cultural dynamics of the country for the worse.

    Doe never again regain the kind of trust that the people had previously had in him. And this is partly one of the attributing factors to the tribal polarization that we hear concerning our brothers and sisters in Nimba County and even in other parts of the country today.

    Like Doe, Weah is so self-absorbed in his vainglory and is enamored with power that he cannot even pause to see that he is on already on the wrong trajectory of history.

    Liberia is rife with lethal, deep-seated hatred, divisiveness, and cynicism among the citizens, and it is all because of these kinds of dangerous theatrics that are being displayed by the NEC while both the citizens and international observes alike watch in bewilderment.

  2. We should all stand up and make sure the system works best for everybody. That is the responsibility of all the citizens.

    I do not think President George Weah has enough sophistication to deal with those negatives around him?Let everyone work very hard to correct things before the next elections.

  3. The motto of this CDC government is, “You Dig Hole, You Cover hole.” Can’t people see that the government is living up to its motto? In the CDC parlance, “You Dig Hole, You Cover hole” means that the government is shrouded in secrecy; and that when it comes to transparency and accountability it must be played by its own terms and timing; not under the watch of the people whom they were elected to serve.

    When the minister of information, Mr. Eugene Nagbe, vocalized this motto (You Dig Hole, You Cover Hole) a few weeks ago, it was regarding the unauthorized transfer of donors’ funds, and some ordinary folks thought that it was just an isolated scenario. But right after that incident, they soon discovered that it was not an isolated one.

    It only took a keen watcher or listener to understand what was unfolding, when all the pieces in the puzzle fell in place. Mr. Jefferson Koijee, the Monrovia city mayor, re-affirmed the motto. An even though he re-affirmed it in a context of waste disposal, it however bears the same logic, result, or chain of thought.

    Mr. Koijee told Liberians that if they were dissatisfied over the manner in which he was managing the problem of garbage in Monrovia, then they should simply, dig holes in their communities and bury the garbage in them.

    And such is the situation with many things in this government. It is extremely conniving and not upfront with its intention to the public. For example: What are the true stories behind the death of the late Innis; the missing 16-billion; the false infusion of 25-million into the economy, and the formation and funding of death squads to monitor the activities of peaceful citizens?

    Moreover, who authorized the firing of live ammo amongst peaceful demonstrators and thus taking the life of an innocent lad and critically injuring others? With Superintendent Esther being vindicated of the charges of treason, what happens then to her accusers (Tweah, Koijee, Morlu)? What was the reason behind the selective justice that was rendered in favor of Tweah in that he was given special treatment and shielded from indictment while the others were sent to prison for the commission of the same criminal offense? As yet the CDC has, “Dug hole, cover hole,” on these issues.

    Last, but not the least, is the postponement of the senatorial elections twice on the account of some frivolous reasons not a flagrant abuse of the constitution?

    With the exception of some mass citizen mobilization demanding the lame duck congress to coerce a tangible explanation out of NEC as to why it is denying Liberians their constitutional rights to select whoever they want to represent them, the NEC will, “Dig hole, Cover hole.”

Leave a Reply