As preparations for the runoff election get underway, it appears that the National Elections Commission (NEC) seems unwilling to comply with the Supreme Court’s mandate to cleanup the Final Registration Roll (FRR) before the holding of the runoff election. NEC Chairman Korkoya’s continued insistence that the FRR is flawless and needs no cleanup was rebuffed by the Unity Party (UP) as well as the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) according to reliable sources.
Sources say a meeting convened over the weekend by NEC with representatives from the UP and the CDC ended inconclusively as the NEC Chairman had no prepared agenda — as would have been expected — outlining procedures to be agreed and adopted by both parties for the cleanup of the FRR, as mandated by the Supreme Court of Liberia in its recent ruling.
Further, according to sources, the NEC Chairman, when requested to produce the FRR for scrutiny by the parties, failed to do so insisting outrightly that the FRR was indeed clean and stood in no further need of any cleanup as recommended and mandated by the Supreme Court. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, NEC Executive Director Lamin Lighe had repeatedly said that despite the public outcry, there was nothing wrong with the FRR.
In his words, “We have respect for the Supreme Court but it is good for us all to firstly establish the fact that there is actually a need to clean up the FRR. Is it not established today that the names of many voters which could not be found on the FRR earlier due to their wrong queuing for the October 10 elections later found? We have said and continue to say that that there is nothing wrong with the FRR.”
Mr. Lighe has further argued that the few lapses the FRR has do not amount to a need for its nullification, more so in the name of a cleanup. He said the same multiple ID numbers used by voters across the country came due to some technical problems but promised that the Commission has put in place mechanism to curtail the many challenges experienced. He noted further that NEC is a law abiding agency and as such it is willing to follow what is right.
But the inclusive results of the meeting held over the weekend with representatives of UP and CDC during which Chairman Korkoya refused to provide for scrutiny, copy of the FRR which he claims is spotless, clearly contradicts any claims whatsoever by NEC Executive Director Lamin Lighe that NEC is a law abiding agency.
When contacted for comment on the matter, a representative of the UP/Boakai campaign team (name withheld) informed the Daily Observer that the meeting was indeed held but no decisions were reached because the Chairman had no agenda which would have formed the basis for discussion. He said that attempts to convince Chairman Korkoya to produce the FRR in NEC’s possession proved futile as he (Korkoya) refused to accommodate their request.
When contacted for comment, NEC spokesperson, Henry Flomo confirmed that the meeting was indeed held but he refused to divulge details of the meeting for fear of his comments being taken out of context by people he did not name. He suggested instead that the Daily Observer contact others who attended the meeting.
For his part, the CDC national chairman, Nathaniel McGill when contacted said he was not at the meeting but had Moses Kollie, an executive of the party, was represented the CDC there. He declined to submit Kollie’s cell phone number for inquiry and as such the CDC’s official reaction to this latest development could not be addressed.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the CDC and UP, jointly or singly would again seek the intervention of the Court to have its decision and mandate enforced. Some legal experts believe that any of the parties could elect to exercise such option and, even if the Supreme Court under the circumstances does grant relief, enforcement will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the Executive whose impartiality in this matter has been questioned and in some cases openly chastised.