“It tends to undermine conduct of peaceful elections,” he says.
Although the National Elections Commission (NEC) chairman Jerome G. Korkoya has clarified the commission’s decision to bring in excess presidential ballots for the October 10 elections, the standard bearer of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP), said the excess ballot papers is alarming.
Korkoya’s explanation was in response to comments and questions from the public regarding the commission’s decision to bring into the country nearly one million excess presidential ballots.
But Mr. Benoni Urey said the excess ballot papers were something to keep the public in worry, “Because it tends to undermine the conduct of the peaceful elections.”
Mr. Urey made the comments yesterday in Monrovia when a group of Imams, headed by Liberia’s Chief Imam Ali Krayee, visited him to pray ahead of the upcoming elections, on the ALP’s invitation.
“While we know there are excess ballot papers always, this number is alarming. Firstly, no one expects the entire 2.1 million registered voters to vote on October 10th and so there is no need to bring more than 20 percent excess ballot papers,” Mr. Urey said.
The ALP standard-bearer said he believes that about 75 to 80 percent of the registered voters will show up for the elections to vote, which already indicates that there will be some extra ballot papers.
Mr. Urey hoped that representatives from political parties, elections’ observers and the international community will be there to supervise the distribution of the ballots and ensure that the excess ballots are fully monitored.
“We believe this election should be free, fair, transparent and peaceful because most often we don’t talk about the peaceful aspect. Most often, the international community is only concerned about whether the elections were peaceful, but the ALP looks forward to free, fair and transparent elections,” Mr. Urey said.
Commenting on the generational change issue, Mr. Urey said while he agreed with the president’s views, it should be about people who are prepared and qualified educationally.
This, he said, “can be time for younger people to take over the government, but they must be competent young people. The president needed to include competent, qualified and experienced and not just on generational change because we want to change.”
On the Imams’ visit, he said “We are privileged to receive some eminent personalities. We have some time to explain to them how we believe they should be part of this entire process and they are able to listen to us.”
The ALP also explained its role and contributions to the Muslim community over the years, which some have admitted to and noted that the ALP will continue to work with all Liberians.
The Chief Imam, Ali Krayee, said they were pleased to visit the ALP standard bearer and also to pray with him ahead of the elections.
He said the Imam Council of Liberia will continue to work in the interest of Liberia, even after the elections, to ensure that Liberia is peaceful.
“We always say that those who serve and work in the humanity of God must pray for God to continue to bless us and we are pleased that the ALP can request our presence and to highlight some of the things done within the Muslim community,” Imam Karyee said.
“We heard that elections’ observers are in Liberia now, especially international observers and many times, they are interested in the process of vote casting and the way the results come out. This time, we don’t want them to just observe the casting of the votes, but to also assure us that what transpires at polling centers actually continue to the head office of NEC where the results will be announced,” Imam Karyee said.
Religious communities have increased their involvement in the political development leading to the October 10th elections. They have appealed to God to bless electorates to avoid anything that could lead the country into unnecessary events. The Christian community has supplicated to God, urging Christians to demonstrate love for country and work together with other faiths, particularly the Muslim Community, to ensure sustainable peace for the country.