A defeated candidate in the just-ended mid-term senatorial election has accused authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) of being used as “pawns” to do someone’s “dirty work.”
Cllr. Frances Johnson Morris-Allison’s comment was contained in her complaint filed against NEC through a written communication; copy of which is in the possession of this paper.
Although the NEC is yet to respond to Cllr. Allison’s complaint, the defeated candidate from Bomi County claimed that she was aware that the entity was “merely used as a pawn to do someone’s dirty work, that of reversing the democratic gains that our post-war country has made over the last nine years.”
Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison, former Chair of the National Elections Commission, presided over Liberia’s 2005 presidential and general elections which ushered Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in as the nation’s 24th President. Cllr. Allison was subsequently appointed Justice Minister during the first term of President Sirleaf. Prior to taking the helm of the Elections Commission, she served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
According to her, true democratic elections are supposed to reflect the free will of the people and not the will of the “leaders” as was the case in Bomi, where she believes, the results were predetermined and the magistrate’s office was only required to see to it that those results were actualized through the manipulation of the votes however the NEC saw fit.
She then recalled that the Assistant Magistrate served as registrar during the voter’s registration process at Demehn during which process he (the Magistrate) and others diligently registered hundreds of “contract voters” for certain candidates well beyond the official hour of 6:00 P.M.
Henceforth, Cllr. Allison believes that the office of the NEC Chair cannot be entirely absolved of responsibility for the post-electoral violence which erupted in Bomi County recently following the close of the polls.
For example, the distressed and defeated lawyer said, “at precinct 03002 (Barmo Pala Hut), all 10 candidates each received 42 voters totaling 420 votes; that at precinct 03061, (Moila Town Hut), all the 10 candidates again received 43 votes totaling 430 votes; that precinct 03063 (Alasala Palaver Hut), also witnessed all the 10 candidates received 39 votes totaling 390 valid votes, and also, at precinct 0368 (Jamima A. Wilson Public School), all 10 candidates at this precinct received 45 votes each totaling 450 valid votes.
Additionally, she said that precinct 03006 (Gba-Jakeh Gba Public School), of the five polling places PP03 and 04 showed no voters voted for any of the 10 candidates: she then wondered as to whether the voters were guided or were they not free to cast their votes at the polling place of their choice?
Similarly, she claimed that at precinct 03047, (Red Hill Palava Hut), where there were two polling places (PP01 and 02), PP02 showed absolutely no voter cast his/her vote at PP02.
“Were the voters also restricted to PP01 at this precinct? If so, what happened to the freedom of choice of the voters during the election?” Cllr. Allison asked.
In a related development, a defeated candidate from Lofa County race, Alhaji G.V. Kromah, has said it is wrong and premature for the chairman of the NEC to declare the December 20 senatorial elections as “free and fair” when there are serious cases of alleged fraud pending before the Commission.
Kromah’s statement claimed that the NEC Chair, Jerome Korkoya may disqualify himself to serve on the NEC Board of Commissioners to hold appeal hearing from any of the cases arising from the conduct of elections.
The statement quoted Mr. Kromah as saying that the recent comments from Chairman Korkoya that the elections were “free and fair” could have undue influence over the hearing officers, who are supposed to preside over the cases from various aggrieved senatorial contestants.
He said that the NEC officers may find it difficult to contradict their boss in Monrovia, thereby making them unqualified to render fair and legal judgment.
By that, Mr. Kromah said Chairman Kokoya should have waited for the conclusion of the various investigations before declaring “a free, fair and transparent description for the elections.”