The National Elections Commission (NEC) Magisterial office in Tappita, Nimba County, was on Monday, April 5, 2021, besieged by vehicle owners who rendered services to the Commission during the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial election, Representative by-elections and the National Referendum, and have not been paid.
According to Prince Dunbar, acting the NEC’s head of communications, the vendors’ action came following the Commission’s failure to pay them their arrears for the December 8 polls.
“The Vendors are demanding that the National Elections Commission pays them for the services they rendered during the Special Senatorial Elections and Referendum conducted on December 8, 2020,” Dunbar said a press statement issued yesterday.
Dunbar said Police and other security officers in that part of the country had to intervene by forcibly ordering the removal of all vehicles.
Recently a group of vendors from Monrovia and its environs gathered at the Commission’s headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia, demanding their compensation yet to be paid by NEC.
Series of meetings were held and the Commission appealed to the vendors to continuously exercise patience and wait for the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to release funds to pay them their monies for the services they offered.
“The vendors besieged the NEC local office in Tappitta at a time when UNDP and NEC staffs were at the site to turn over the NEC’s renovated office in Nimba County,” Dunbar said.
He added: “After hours of the standoff between the vendors and NEC, the Ministry of Justice dispatched officers to the area to bring the situation under control. It was the police intervention that led to the withdrawal of vendors’ vehicles that blocked the entrance of the NEC Tappitta office and subsequently the release of the NEC and the UNDP staff.”
Certification of Sinoe Representative, Quejue Wiah
In another development, the National Elections Commission yesterday certificated Samson Quejue Wiah, candidate of the ruling CDC who was elected on December 8, 2020 in the Representative by-election in Sinoe County Electoral District #2.
Sinoe Electoral District #2’s by-election came following the death of Representative J. Nagbe Sloh.
Representative Sloh, 55, died on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, after a protracted illness.
Wiah’s election in the December 8 by-election was contested by the Rainbow Alliance before the NEC Board of Commissioners on allegations of fraud and irregularities.
The certification came after the Supreme Court wrote the National Elections Commission informing it that all pieces of evidence presented by Samson’s accusers did not justify any fraud in the December polls and therefore he should be certificated.
As in the case of all other elected officials certificated by the Commission, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, chairperson of the NEC, told Representative Wiah to be cognizant of the trust and confidence of the people of Sinoe District #2.
“Your people elected you to serve them. Do so as provided for by the law, and in the truest sense of humanity. The Commission wishes you well as any other elected official who is currently serving,” Madam Lansanah said.
In response, Rep. Wiah said he will lobby with his colleagues on Capitol Hill to allow the passage of a bill that will allow the NEC to have financial autonomy.
“The failure of the NEC to pay vendors for services they rendered is dangerous to the State. This is why we will join hands with all others who are pushing to see NEC become practically independent and have total control of its budget whenever allotted in the national fiscal budget,” Wiah assured
He added that his focus is to work for the unity of the people of Sinoe, regardless of political differences. Sinoe has an existing tribal tension between the Krus and the minority Sarpo tribe.
Like Rep. Frank Saah Fokoe of Montserrado District #9, who is completing the unexpired term of his predecessor, the late Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood, Rep. Wiah will be completing the unexpired term of the late Representative Sloh.
Both Sloh and Youngblood were reelected for a six-year tenure in October of 2017.