Referendum Flops

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-As invalid votes overwhelm the process

President George Manneh Weah’s campaign and those of his supporters in order to see eight propositions of the controversial constitutional referendum may likely suffer a massive defeat as invalid votes from provisional results from five Counties are overwhelming.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday, December 15, 2020, reported that all polling places from Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Maryland, River Gee and Rivercess Counties have reported hundred percent of all votes cast for the National Referendum jointly held on December 8, 2020 with the Special Senatorial Election (SSE) and Representatives by-elections in Montserrado District #9 and Sinoe District #2.

On the reduction of the term of the office of members of the House of Representatives, Bong County electorates cast 51,086 invalid votes (68.38 percent), while 14,439 votes were recorded for a “Yes” (19.2 percent).

The “No” votes amounted to 9,204 (12.32 percent). Total votes cast for the reduction of term of office for members of the Lower House of the Legislature was 74,721 votes.

“To shorten the time for the National Elections Commission (NEC) to hear complaints” from elections held, 11,501 (15.39 percent) voted “Yes” while 10,013 (13.75 percent) voted “No.”

The results, as reported by NEC, show that 21,514 or 28.79 percent voted “Yes,” or “No” while 53,215 (71.21 precent) votes were recorded invalid. A grand total of 74,729 votes were cast.

On the reduction of the term of Senators, 49,160 (65.78 precent) votes were invalid while 15,294 (20.47 percent) voted “Yes,” and 10,275 (13.75 precent) voted “No.” A total of 74,724 votes were recorded.

For “Dual Citizenship,” 49,405 (66.11 percent) votes were invalid while 13,446 (17.99 percent) voted “Yes,” and 11,878 (15.89 percent) voted “No.”

“Reduction for the term of office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker Speaker of the House of Representatives” received 50,746 (67.9 percent) invalid votes while 14,203 (19.01 percent) voted “Yes,” and 9,780 (13.09 percent) voted “No.”

As though all was not enough, electorates in Bong created 47,932 (64.14 percent) invalid votes for “Reduction of the term of President and Vice President while 16,106 (21.55 percent) voted “Yes,” and 10,691 (14.31 percent) voted “No.”

For the reduction of the term of office for Senate Pro Tempore, 50,702 (68.02 percent) votes were invalid while 14,485 (19.43 percent) voted “Yes,” and 9,354 (12.55 percent) voted “No.”

National elections are usually held on the second Tuesday in October after every six years, but a proposition seeking to change the date to another in November obtained 51,029 (68.29 percent) invalid votes, while 15,003 (19.43 percent) voted “Yes,” and 8,697 (11.64 percent) voted “No.”

Grand Cape Mount County

Votes counted from 193 polling places of 193 polling places in Cape Mount has it that 17,938 votes (68.74 percent) votes were invalid while 4,406 ( 16.88 percent) voted for “Yes,” and 3,752 (14.38 percent) voted “No” for Dual Citizenship.

For reduction of the term of Senate Pro Tempore, 17,701 (67.83 percent) votes were invalid while 4,875 (18.68 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,520 (13.49 percent) voted “No.”

To reduce the term of Senators, voters in Cape Mount created 16,917 ( 64.38 percent) invalid votes while 5,204 (19.94 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,975 (15.23 percent) voted “No.”

On “Shortening time for NEC to hear complaints,” 18,599 (71.27 percent) votes were recorded invalid while 4,033 (15.45 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,464 (13.27 percent) voted “No.”

Electorates in Cape Mount, not being content, created 17,522 (67.14 percent) invalid votes while 5,000 (19.16 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,574 (13.70 percent) voted “No” for the “Reduction of the term of Representatives of the House of Representatives.”

On the reduction of terms of office the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Cape Mount electorates created 17,912 (68.64 percent) invalid votes while 4,809 (18.43 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,375 (12.93 percent) voted “No” from all 193 of 193 polling places across the county.

To reduce the term of office of President from six years to five years, Cape Mountainians created 16,597 ( 63.60 percent) invalid votes while 5,472 (20.97 percent) voted “Yes,” and 4,027 (15.43 percent) voted “No.”

About changing election date, Grand Cape Mount created 18,070 (69.24 percent) votes were recorded invalid while 4,984 (19.10 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,042 (11.66 percent) voted “No.”

Maryland County

Results from all 173 of 173 polling places in Maryland show that 14,998 (60.15 percent) invalid votes were cast for the reduction of term of office of Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Next, 6,786 (27.21 percent) voted “Yes,” while 3,151 (12.64 percent) voted “No.”

On the reduction of office of the President Pro Tempore, Marylanders produced 15,050 (60.36 percent) invalid votes while 6,934 (27.81 percent) voted “Yes,” and 2,948 or 11.82 percent voted “No.”

For Dual Citizenship, 14,495 (58.54 percent) invalid votes were recorded while 6,134 (24.77 percent) voted “Yes,” and 4,132 (16.69 percent) voted “No.”

Marylanders produced 14,251 (57.17 percent) invalid votes for reduction of term of office for President and Vice President, while 7,002 (28.09 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,676 (14.75 percent) voted “No.”

To reduce the term of office of Representatives, 15,115 (60.62 percent) accounted for invalid votes while 6,947 (27.86 percent) voted “Yes,” and 2,874 voted “No.”

For the reduction of the term of office of Senators, 14,535 (58.29 percent) accounted for invalid votes while 7,328 (29.39 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,073 (12.32 percent) voted “No.”

Change of Elections date received 15,593 (62.53 percent) invalid votes while 6,501 (26.07) percent accounted for a “Yes,” and 2,841 (11.39 percent) voted “No.”

Shortening the time for NEC to hear elections cases received 16,095 (64.55 percent) invalid votes, while 5,734 (23.00 percent) voted “Yes,” and 3,106 (12.46 percent) voted “No”.

The referendum’s results from three of the five counties reported show that getting two-third of votes for each of the proposition to meet the constitution approval for amendment is desperately slim.

Many pundits say the results came as they are coming due to lack of civic voter education.

By law, a two-thirds “Yes” vote (66 percent) would give each of the propositions the green light to become a part of the Constitution of Liberia and become effective subsequently.

To be continued…

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David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Unfortunately!

    Neither the government nor the NEC is to blame for this flop.
    We must blame it on the civil society. This referendum is important for the country, it must be redone before the general elections in 2023.

    • CLIPPINGS FROM CNN ON DONALD TRUMP

      “Despite his interest in pardons, almost all of Trump’s energy over the past six weeks has been spent mulling his loss and devising ways to contest it. When he is not phoning Republican lawmakers to assess their willingness to help him overturn the election results, he is busy devising ways to exact revenge on those he believes abandoned him, including the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia; hosts and executives at Fox News; certain members of Congress; and key members of his Cabinet, including Attorney General Bill Barr who in many instances bent to the whims and caprices of Trump, but in this election case chose to take away his loyalty from Trump and give it to the ultimate rule of law!“

      Culled from CNN

  2. I agree with you. Let our international partners help us re-do this Referendum in line with the dictates of our Constitution. There is an urgent need to educate our people on the 8 prepositions of the Referendum. This should take about a year in doing so. After the nation wide education, then the Referendum can be held, 2022. “Hurry, hurry, burst trousers.”

  3. The government at large and its agency NEC is to blame. This is due to gross incompetency, intentional recklessness as well as lack of foresight on the part of the aforementioned that led us to this. We don’t need international partners to spoon feed us all of the time! We have to assume responsibility!

  4. Liberia is the FIRST and ONLY country in the world where somebody can be a citizen of two countries at the same time. Even proponents of the bill, most of whom are citizens of the United States, know very well that they cannot be citizens of both Liberia and the US,
    On the proposal of setting out 15 seats in parliament EXCLUSIVELY for women, I would like to see how that works in a true democratic nation. Probably that can also happen in uniquely corrupt, greedy and unpatriotic Liberia’s stakeholders. Julius A. Momo – Stone, USA

  5. Mr. Momo,

    The amendments can NEVER, in any way, create problems for Liberia. Other countries like Ghana and Rwanda have the dual citizenship clause in their constitution and they are doing fantastic.

    Your two key sovereignty institutions, the executive and legislature, will NEVER be vied or occupied by dual citizens.
    We should even go an extra mile by allowing people who did not graduate from the law school in Monrovia to practice law in Liberia. It would even make our legal system dynamic and competitive.

    We want people with dual citizenship (natural born Liberians) to help in managing public corporations, running some key agencies, buying and developing lands, etc. It will be benefic for Liberia to open to its children who fled the country due to the civil war and had to seek papers from other countries to integrate and develop their lives.
    If we don’t vote to accept this dual citizenship, our country (your hamlet, village, town or city) will sooner or later be taken over by Africans from neighboring countries.
    A Nwabudike may be more Liberian then a Yarkpawolo, Wiah, Dolo, Gbezonghar, Momo, Foboi, Zokar, Samukai, etc.

    So, Sir, Liberia will NOT be the first and only country to have dual citizenship. As for the 15 seats to be set aside for women, it is a political politics; just to please some voices or organizations. It would be left with women to make the legislature a woman-dominated house or not, no one can determine such breakthrough, unless they want to proceed by appointing people to both houses.

  6. Again an example of very poor journalism. This article is almost illegible. The main contents of this article should have been presented in tabulary form if at all. Instead you should have explained why so many votes were considered invalid and what will be the consequences for the country and the next step to correct this. Please send your journalist to a school of journalism.

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