The chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya has issued a caveat to all political parties and independent candidates contesting the October 10 representative and presidential elections to be transparent, fair and credible in all their dealings with the NEC and others.
“We will not accept any fraudulent activity on the part of any political party or an individual on the basis of forging ahead in these ensuing elections. Parties were informed to submit their audited accounts and declaration of assets before or on the 1st of this month (September) but only nine of them have complied,” Cllr. Korkoya said.
He said the NEC’s request for all political parties to declare their assets and audited accounts are in line with Article 83d of the Constitution. “This is not an overnight piece of idea put in place by this Commission to generate wealth,” he noted.
He said the NEC Board of Commissioners has scheduled to meet and take a decision on the delinquent parties that have failed to respect the legal deadline. Korkoya named Grassroots Democratic Party of Liberia (GDPL), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), All Liberian Party (ALP), and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), People’s Unification Party (PUP), Unity Party (UP) Liberia Transformation Party (LTP) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) as political parties that have submitted their complete audit reports, among other requirements, to the Commission.
“In a campaign year, all assets, liabilities, and income, including donations should be declared in line with the law. He said, “chapter 7 of the Elections Law is very detailed in this respect and the NEC will be using its powers to audit accounts to ensure all political parties respect these rules.
“This is a key transparency measure for political parties and it is important more efforts are made to submit documents,” he said, adding that transparency is not only expected from the NEC but also from all political parties.
Addressing other issues, he said the final voter roll will officially be made public on September 10. “The Commission will distribute the final voter registration roll to magistrates’ offices across the country,” he said.
He added that the cleaning and checking of the VR roll have been completed and the list is now ready. “There are calls from some individuals for it to be published in newspapers and aired on radios but we are pleased to remind those individuals that this is a process and not an event. The NEC has a responsibility to make sure things are done properly and in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Elections Law. It is not the Commission that sets out these steps but the law of the land,” Korkoya pointed out.
He said that contrary to what some or most of the people are thinking, the NEC is not under any obligation to publish in the mass media the final voter roll, noting that the Commission does not know of any example elsewhere where voter registers are published in the mass media.
About the new ‘short messages service’ (SMS) for voters, he explained that the system will help voters to access details of their polling places. “This technological assistance in our elections system will be available shortly and all a voter needs to do is to punch in his or her voter ID number into the system and he or she will access information about him or her collected by the NEC during the VR process. As we know, there is limited access to internet services in our country but we encourage all voters to use their mobile phones and check their voting locations,” he said.
Korkoya called on all political parties to also submit their campaign rallies’ plans to the NEC so as to enable the Liberia National Police to do their work without many challenges. “This will minimize public disruption and risks of campaign rallies clashing with one another. We want to make sure that everyone is safe during these rallies, public order is maintained and inconvenience to the public is minimized,” he noted.
He admonished all parties to be mindful of what they say and do as they go on with their political rallies. “Be informed that it is only the NEC that has the legal right to announce national elections’ official results, not political parties or individuals from anywhere else. No other institution can announce official results of Liberian elections except the NEC. So I am calling on all parties and the media to be extremely responsible in how they handle this matter,” he admonished.
Korkoya said the time for hearing election disputes is over and no one should think of taking any election complaint to the Commission. “Two of the cases, Rep. Edwin Snowe and Sen. Johnson as well as Rep. S. Gayah Karmo and Amos Seibo’s cases were concluded Tuesday by the Supreme Court. Snowe was qualified to run in Bomi while Seibo lost his case against the NEC. We welcome the intervention of the Supreme Court and call on all parties and individuals to remain peaceful and law abiding,” he admonished.