Examining Questionable Claims about Overwhelming ‘Yes’ Vote in December 8 Referendum!

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For a beleaguered government, hemmed on all sides by a host of problems i.e. economic, governance, security and most critically the growing lack of public confidence, going at lengths to create a favorable public image by distorting the truth just to save face is not something unusual.

It is something that most governments around the world do in some shape or form when they find themselves confronted with awkward and embarrassing situations. And for this, many or most governments around the world have at their hire, spin doctors. Their job is to make governments look good and for this they are paid thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

And private media houses including PR firms play key roles in such undertakings. It is because private media houses are more likely to be trusted and believed by the public when they publish stories, basically because people normally do not trust statements /pronouncements etc., emanating from the government.

A case in point is that of the results of the referendum which was held concomitantly with the December 8 senatorial elections. Despite advice from several quarters of civil society, including the Liberian Council of Churches calling for the postponement of the referendum, NEC boss, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, strongly supported by Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, insisted the referendum would go ahead as planned.

More importantly, the Supreme Court had placed a stay on the conduct of the referendum following the hearing of a Petition filed by the CPP, advancing several reasons why the referendum should not be held.

Key amongst such reasons advanced was that of insufficient public education on the issues to be voted on as well as the time limits imposed by the Constitution requiring that the referendum be held not sooner than one year prior to the publication of an official Gazette announcing the referendum and stating reasons for its conduct.

Well, the referendum was held anyway, despite the Supreme Court’s Stay order. Results show that the number of invalid votes was significantly high and that the votes failed to attain the two-thirds majority required.

The officially proclaimed winner of the Montserrado county elections, Darius Dillon had, prior to the vote, urged all his supporters to vote NO to all the referendum proposals while his rival Thomas Fallah urged his supporters to vote YES.

At the end of the day, the records showed that Dillon had won with an overwhelming margin securing nearly a quarter of a million votes (246,000) as opposed to his rival who captured just about half (125,000 votes). As a matter of fact, the CDC lost in nearly all the counties save three (3).  

But rising public concern about the referendum results prompted the December 14, 2020 editorial of the Daily Observer, questioning whether the results of the referendum were in limbo since Madame Lansanah had apparently deliberately avoided mention about its results.

Since then, NEC has announced that so far, across all 15 counties, an average of 60 percent of the ballots cast in the referendum were invalid votes — confirming warnings by civil society, the religious community, and other groups that there was not proper and sufficient voter education done on the referendum. Therefore, if any of the propositions in the referendum pass, it would be by a simple majority — not the two-thirds of registered voters requirement prescribed by the Constitution. Meanwhile, the NEC is relying on an (Section 4 (a) of the elections law under “referendum” to suggest that referendum results be calculated based on two-thirds of valid votes cast.

According to elections experts and former NEC Commissioner Jonathan Weedor and former NEC Chairman James Fromayan, now of the Center for Democratic Elections (CEDEM), the legal and constitutional requirement for the referendum to pass is two-thirds of all registered voters voting in the election, meaning 66 percent of all votes cast. This is different from the absolute majority requirement which is much easier to obtain as it requires 50 percent plus one of all votes cast.

In the opinion of the Daily Observer, this is a serious matter with deep implications for sustained peace and stability in our dear Liberia and it is one about which spin doctoring and mercenary journalism have no place.

That said, the Daily Observer calls on the NEC to release the results of the referendum forthwith in order to help lay the matter to rest. The Daily Observer also calls on opposition political parties to publicly release their tally sheets showing evidence of the referendum vote count in order to help dispel any claims that the referendum results show overwhelming approval of the 8 proposals advanced.

In the interest of peace and stability, all sides should consider it an obligation to provide the evidence. The Chairperson of the NEC, Davidetta Browne Lansanah is especially urged to publish by voting precinct/polling center/county, the results of the referendum just as was done with the results of the senatorial elections.

Remember, this is not all about money, prestige or status. It is all about Liberia, its sustained peace, stability and the future of its generations yet unborn.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Bai Best, your article was written from a partisan point of view. I’m not a journalist but I don’t think you wrote to provide factual information for general consumption. For example, your interpretation of the Supreme Court opinion was one-sided, undermining your subsiquent comments. The real truth is that the high court’s ruling was ambiguous and subject to many interpretations. Please write for us independents also sir. Thank you for listening.

  2. Bai Best, the very “host of problems i.e“. salary management in terms of payment of your staff whom have not been paid for nearly two years, badly written reports and “critically the growing lack of public confidence, going at lengths to create a favorable public image by distorting the truth“ just to sell your paper and carry out your paid by the highest bidder journalism are recklessness and unprincipled conduct rightly imputable to you and your Liberianobserver since the retirment of Kenneth.

    For example, here you are lying that “the Supreme Court had placed a stay on the conduct of the referendum following the hearing of a Petition filed by the CPP“, WHEN THETRUTH IS WHAT IS BEEN REPORTED BY FPA INFRA…

    Liberia: Supreme Court Wants Referendum Ballot Papers Contain Original Eight Propositions

    MONROVIA – The Supreme Court has ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to ensure that all eight propositions mentioned in the joint resolution of the Legislature that sanctioned the need for a referendum appear on the ballot paper.

    The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision was a result of a petition for a Writ of Prohibition on the Referendum scheduled for December 8 along with the Special Senatorial Election and two by-elections. CULLED FROM FRONTPAGEAFRICAONLINE

  3. True Nationalist, AKA Samuel Tweah!!!

    Will you just shut the fuck up? Focus on the economy that is in the toilet. You and McGill have failed Weah. This is not the CDC we fought for years ago. You guys are destroying our party.

    Bai Best is doing a good job and point out the broad day thievery that could bring another war because you are fooling Weah to enrich yourselves.

  4. Kelvin,

    Bai wrote a brilliant article and I urge you to write a rebuttal.

    Bai is not a partisan of any party as you think. He is writing an opinion. You may agree or counter with another opinion.

    • For a Bai Best who like his peers do not know their ARSE from their ELBOW when it comes to understanding what is actually going on in their “own beat“ or professional province, not to talk about what is going on in the world, only little minds like you, take such as Bai Best etc. serious.

      Here is A MANIPULATED HIGHEST BIDDER’S STOOGE (BAI BEST) stunningly uninformed and ignorant to the extent that he does not know the position of the Supreme Court on the referendum! And then instead of behaving professionally, he is there disseminating lies and disinformation solely in his selfish interest as opposed to information in the interest of society and sanctioned by the principles and accountability phenomena of journalism.

      Duo and Fofana, ignorance and naivete, the mental combination that produces so many Liberian journalists, is a telling and highly destructive combination!

      This cancerous combination is of course, detrimental to the improved rule of law, far far less corruption, the democratic participatory politicking of the Liberian people under the Weah government!

      A government (The Weah Government) which is being extolled by amongst others,, the diplomatic and international communities, are what you should be concerned about!

      And not wasting ink and time on the likes of Bai Best who, on top of not knowing their arse from their elbow,, are notorious being terribly “biased and a guard dog for the highest bidder instead of performing its role as a watchdog to expose the ills in the society.!“

  5. As a neutral, I only see two desperate sides trying to gain power at the expense of the poor Liberians.

    Weah and his gangs want to change the constitution to remain in power up to and possibly beyond a “third term.”

    The opposition wants Weah and his group out of power now because they think they can do what Liberians want. The challenge with the opposition is Alex Cummings can not defeat George Weah. Cummings is “from Maryland,” – a county in the southeast. Weah is already the chosen son of the south easterners. There is no need to vote against Weah, in the view of many south easterners, when he is already president. Furthermore, some supporters of Cummings who are based in America fall prey to what Ellen’s American recruits did in Liberia: arrogance. They are arrogant and think they are better than some Liberians who reside in Monrovia and the counties. How true is that allegation remains to be tested as the recent behavior of two disciples of Cummings, Wongbe, the green pekin trying to prove he is more Nimbaian than others, and the adopted country boy, Fubi, showed there is more to be examined. I frankly feel for Cummings. He needs to try a run for the Senate in Maryland. Maybe that will be start.

    Ellen and a few of her friends would like to see Cummings as president. But he is not favored in the opposition. Boakai and Urey folks are suspicious a Cummings can win Weah. So, Boakai and Urey folks would prefer reintroducing Boakai to defeat Weah. Boakai can easily win the northern votes and try to gain more support from other disgruntled people who do not like Weah.

    The UP boys are also angling to return to power. They want to kick Weah and his people out by all means. That is why Honnah keeps celebrating every victory. Expect more UP boys to run for seats in the legislators in the next elections.

    These are the happenings that Weah and his people are aware of and they want to keep a “young” Weah in power up until he is truly exhausted.

    If Weah and his people knew how to build a strong team of capable people, especially mixed partisans and non-partisans, Weah would easily win re-election. It is assumed that a capable team would do better than the current batch of cabinet gangsters in the Weah government.

    Look at Eugene Nagbe. He is a crook. Sporting that nasty, white bear tells you Eugene is as unserious as his “wife.” He spends time encouraging a lady to attack another government official? True or unlikely? Eugene needs to grow up.

    Liberia is on a rude rollercoaster. Fasten your seatbelt.

  6. Teddy Kpahn, if Weah and his people“ did not know “how to build a strong team of capable people, especially mixed partisans and non-partisans“ there would be no incumbent CDC and its Coalition of Democratic Change winning with such wide margin the 2017 presidential and legislative elections!

    With the already far far far less corruption, and the improvement of the rule of law, ensure regular payment of public servants since govt is the major employer, and let measures of sophisticated due diligence (conventional and or alternative detective means) be put into place to prevent such homicidal incidents of innocent people before, during, or after elections.

    Once these two factors are taken care of, those power seeking bandits or money seeking draculas you refer to as the opposition, are no match to young and dynamic WEAH IN 2023!!!

    As a matter of political reality, you err to mention a little known Cummings a settler descendant when dealing with the presidency! For Cummings is no match to even Urey (though also a settler descendant) or Boakai too old, and or, not to talk about a young and dynamic indigenous national political giant as Dr. Weah!

    In other words,, this idea, delusion, or deception, that a change or overhaul of the cabinet has any potency or possibility of altering an inherited deteriorated economy overnight is laughable“!

    Since of course, all a government with economic problems (as was with the case with George Bush Sr.), had to or has do was or is engaging such A NON STRATEGIC THINKING AND APOLITICAL MODUS OPERANDI!

    Nor would the international and diplomatic communities be extolling Weah and his people for the far far far less corruption, and the impressive improvement of the rule of law!

    Since, in A “WINNERS TAKE ALL WORLD“ suggestions about “mixed partisans and non-partisans“ in a coalition government is simply lackadaisical!

    For a coalition is ABSOLUTELY a mixed partisans and non-partisans governmental structure especially in a country where ethnic based politics is non existent as evidently reflective in the hierarchical structures and memberships of the parties within the coalition and the coalition itself.

    Again, this utopia or dystopia?,, or deception, that a change or overhaul of the cabinet has any potency or possibility of altering an inherited deteriorated economy overnight is laughable.

    That is if dismissing a cabinet and bringing in a new one, then there would be no economic problems facing governments or countries anywhere in the world!

    So, Mr. Kpahn, since unlike you it is

    (1) not in our conviction to be neutral in politics, or intellectualism, we

    (2) say here with candor, valor and vigor, that we are on the side of Weah and the Masses as opposed to those you refer to as The opposition (ACTUALLY THE ELITE) who DO NOT ACTUALLY “want Weah and his group out of power now because they think they can do what Liberians want,“ BUT

    (3) ACTUALLY BECAUSE THEY (Urey, Cummings, Boakai, etc.) WANT TO INCREASE THEIR WEALTH AT THE COST OF THE POPULATION’S MARGINALIZATION AND THE RETARDATION AND PROGRESS OF THE POOR!

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