Are the Referendum Results on Life Support?

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For all intent and purpose, it appears, the referendum is dead. It is not even the subject of ongoing public debate on the just ended elections. The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Davidetta Browne Lansanah has been conspicuously silent on pronouncement of the referendum results leaving to public to wonder whether the results are on life support.

And neither has the public demanded its results probably because in their view, there is no need to whip a dead horse. Despite this, the NEC owes the public an explanation why it has not announced the referendum results.

From all indications, the results, according to insider NEC sources, constitute a virtual slap in the face to its Chairperson, Madame Browne Lansanah given her strident push for it and her strong reliance on Minister of State Nathaniel McGill for guidance and, as it appeared, instructions on how to proceed.

Sources say the number of invalid votes on the referendum was overwhelming and, moreover, voters for Dillon are reported to have voted NO to all the proposals advanced by the NEC, according to insider sources.

These, amongst others, could be reasons why the NEC has so far declined to publish figures of the referendum results. According to sources, fear of public rebuke and scorn are principal reasons why the referendum results have not been published.

Further, according to sources, NEC Chairperson had come under relentless pressure to change the results of the vote count. They claim that the manner in which Madame Browne Lansanah announced the results was confusing to the public, adding that it was as if she had never learned in school how to read figures.

Prior to the announcement of the official results, the nation had virtually been on tenterhooks awaiting word from NEC. The tension in the air was rising and palpable amid wild public speculations that the actual results would have been ordered changed by President Weah.

Officials of the ruling CDC, including its Chairman Mulbah Morlu and party stalwart Representative Acarous Gray, had publicly hinted on radio that a change of the results was imminent and would have been the case.

Sources say that in furtherance of this, the President had allegedly paid a surreptitious visit to Buchanan to meet with elections officials there to actualize the plan.

But according to sources, President Weah was dissuaded from pursuing such action by Western diplomats accredited to this capital including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN.

Further, according to sources, President Weah was allegedly told in no uncertain terms that the consequences for such action would have been very grave with disastrous implications for the peace and security of the country.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources have told the Daily Observer that in the view of the international community, far too much resources, material and human have been expended to achieve peace in Liberia.

In view of this, according to sources, the international community was not prepared to counter reckless action that would have plunged the nation into chaos reminiscent of the past 14 years of conflict.

What this suggests is that Liberians, especially leaders of the opposition, should always seek to engage this government constructively if only for reasons of sustained peace and stability.

Going forward, all parties should exercise tolerance and restraint and take their concerns to the ballot box,

Based on reports received by this newspaper, many Liberians had expressed the ballot box was/is a preferred option of expressing opposition to policies and actions by this government.

According to a well-known political figure (name withheld), street protests would have played into the hands of hawkish officials of this government who, according to sources, had been prepping state security for possible violent suppressive action against street protesters.

Meanwhile, tension remains high in Nimba and Grand Kru Counties. In Nimba, opposition politician Edith Gongloe Weh had accused local officials of transporting a pick-up load of ballots to an unknown destination while in Grand Kru County, angry voters were reported to have surrounded the local NEC headquarters threatening to burn the building.

According to sources, the local Magistrate is being accused of ballot stuffing in favor of the CDC candidate. NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah, speaking at a news conference yesterday, called for the intervention of the Justice Ministry to end the standoff between supporters of the ruling party and a leading opposition figure who, according to reports, had been leading the vote count.

Public opinion on this latest development suggests the critical lack of public confidence in the electoral body under the leadership of its chairperson, Davidetta Browne Lansanah.

An opposition leader (name withheld) has told this newspaper that the NEC chairperson appeared to have surrendered her independence, especially regarding funding of the elections and the conduct of a referendum alongside the elections.

Truth be told, this is the worst performance on record, of the conduct of elections by NEC since 2005. Aside from its dismal performance, members of that the body suffer from crediblility issues.

For example, an individual accused and found guilty of vote fraud in the 2019 District 17 elections; yet he was confirmed by the Senate to serve on such a key integrity institution.

Little wonder therefore why public trust and confidence in the NEC is appallingly very low.

These must be troubling times indeed for President Weah. However, it would behoove him to do some stocktaking.

As has been noted earlier, this President does have time to turn things around only if he can put his hand to the wheel, so to speak.

He will have to make some very hard decisions, some of which may come close to his heart; yet he must, or risk losing total public trust and confidence.

If the outcome of the Montserrado elections is anything to go by, it means President Weah has a lot on his plate. That is, if he genuinely intends to restore public trust and confidence in his leadership.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Our country occupies a space in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most rigged elections under President King therefore, unsurprisingly, even though the ruling CDC coalition is losing, this editorial seems to be crying foul. Of course, stunning results of the senatorial races overshadow the referendum, and that shouldn’t amaze anyone.

    The economy, and public safety (security sector bungling of investigations of terroristic murders of auditors) were the “death knell”. They suggest that if GMW doesn’t prioritize capacity in government over comradeship, he wouldn’t only be a one term President, his successor might be compelled to make him a sacrificial lamb as was done to Interim President Bryant and few of his leading aides – prosecuted.

    Thus GMW’s redemption rests in his own hands. For instance, cutting down waste in government; changing the status quo in the precious metals industry – diamonds, gold, rutile, etc. which benefits go to individuals instead of the nation; review the money and banking sector with emphasis on a monetary supply that can be manipulated or sabotaged. When people are hungry and in fear for their safety, they would turn even on Jesus. For heaven’s sake, forget the flattery: Reform dysfunctional governance.

  2. Sylvester Gbayaforth Moses

    They have now become accustomed to the abuse of power and the corruptible forces that have the propensity to control it if those who are in power do not take heed. And sadly, they seem to lack the mental flexibility to fathom the dangers, which accompany the ruthlessness and consequences of their actions, like you described.

    Good thought.

  3. While serving in the Ronald Reagan’s White House in the Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs Bloc, one journalist asked me as to “WHAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE I CONSIDERED TO BE POLITICAL?“ I INTUTITIVELY REPLIED..“EVERYTHING!!!“And that is my conviction about any incumbency vis a vis any Government or administration!!!

    Accordingly, in our case, what is or was

    (1)“stunning“ is amid THE REALITY of an inherited deteriorated economy, AND THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTION of the deaths of the four auditors, intelligent people (including EVEN THE PRESS!, and you Sylvester who indicated that no incumbent govt would shoot itself in the leg by carrying out such killing) would be in such disbelief, astonishment, and shock of the obvious ..voters turning against the incumbent government! That is..

    (2) How on earth few weeks preceding a major nationwide senatorial election opposition leaders (CPPS Cummings and rebel war criminal yekeh Kolubah) after been chased out of an area, would

    (3) threaten to “make the incumbent President a one term President“, and at the eve of the very nationwide senatorial election, four editors will mysteriously die, and the police and security sectors’ inability to outsmart the culprits will not turn voters against the incumbent administration! When..

    (4) in the political jungle of Africa and Asia, such terrorisms on the part of usually the opposition on the eve of elections are common bloody inhumanity carried out by political groups, or even “third parties“ on the bent intent of attaining some diabolical hidden agenda, no matter the danger inflicted on the innocent!

    Let no one make mistake of that! Just as in the Army or the Police,, assignment is greater than rank, but rank prevails, or as in international politics, reality is no less important, but perception is the lifeblood, so too, during campaign and elections, VOTERS PERCEPTION surpasses REALITY!

    Accordingly, in this case (campaigns and elections with numerous independent candidates, single parties, etc. etc.) and where VOTERS PERCEPTION about the death of innocent people stood side by side with THE REALITY of an inherited deteriorated economy, expecting the opposite of the results of these elections was or is a doomed mirage!

    So yea, Mr. Moses while

    (A) we disagree with you on your understanding of “dysfunctional governance“, or that of Mr. Blandon Fahn Todees, imputation of “abuse of power“, we

    (B) agree with THE SPIRIT of your comments that the incumbent, to some extent shocked out of its apolitical complacency as was the fate of the Washington’s Establishment when Trump won the 2016 elections, and ironically as such fate has been inflicted on Trump by himself viz the US 2020 ELECTIONS, THE TIME HAS

    (C) COME FOR THE MASSES’ GOVERNMENT THE PEOPLES’ GOVERNMENT TO DEVISE MORE WORKABLE AND HIGHLY POLITICAL SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS IT CAN NO LONGER, DENY, IGNORE OR BE APOLITICAL ABOUT!

    (D) NOT ANY WITCH HUNTING, ETC., NOR DISMISSAL NOR ANY UNNECESSARY RESHUFFLE AS NON STRATEGIC THINKING AND APOLITICAL MINDS HAVE SUGGESTED!

    We “enjoyed“ Ellen when taking into account the power of PUBLIC PERCEPTION, though her Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and her Police Director were caught on Tape, she remained cool, calm, collective, and POLITICAL!!! FOR THAT IS THE HALLMARK OF A GOVERNMENT OR A POLITICAL LEADER!!! THINK, ACT, AND OR OPERATE POLITICALLY!

    .

    • Am i on another planet? Or, am i reading this the wrong way?

      True Nationalist wrote:

      The time has come for the masses’ government, the peoples’ government to devise more workable and highly political solutions to the problems it can no longer deny, ignore or be apolitical about.

      This is the first time I have heard/read him speak truth to our mighty CDC-led government headed by Dr. GMW.

      There is some blood running through your vein, after all.

      Thank you.

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