Korkoya, Please Manage The Election with Care

6
2030

Pronouncement recently made by National Elections Commission (NEC) chairman Jerome G. Korkoya that “People with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details were not identified during the voters roll exhibition,” has created embarrassment not only for the public, but the NEC as well.

The first civil society group to raise alarm over the pronouncement last week was the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC). Represented by its chairman, Oscar Bloh, the ECC said the pronouncement has the potential to undermine the voter roll exercise and defeat the very purpose for which it was commissioned.

After the ECC, one of NEC commissioners, Cllr. Jonathan K. Weedor, also rejected the June 14 pronouncement by Korkoya, backing his action that “The essence of the voter roll exhibition exercise is to provide individuals who participated in the voter registration exercise the opportunity to vet the provisional roll aimed at establishing a final registration roll that is reliable and credible.”

Furthermore, the NEC commissioner disclosed that there are several problems associated with the present provisional roll ranging from the omission of thousands of names to missing photos and profiles of registrants. He further indicated in his comment that the NEC chairman’s comment is alarming, disturbing and troubling because a reliable and credible final registration roll is a cardinal requirement for every free, fair and transparent election.

In addition to the preceding comments, Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper has complained to the Senate about the irregularities, and the Senate has called Korkoya to appear before its plenary today to respond to questions.

Apart from concerns raised by Senator Cooper and the ECC chairperson, Oscar Bloh, it is especially more troubling that one of the major decision makers at the NEC differs with Korkoya.

Why troubling? Because the NEC chairman must get the backing of the rest of the five commissioners that work with him. But Cllr. Weedor, one of NEC’s most experienced commissioners, has differed on grounds that the chairman is in error. This may lead people to think that Korkoya does not consult his team before coming out with public statements. It also raises concern as to whether Korkoya’s relationship with his coworkers is cordial.

The election in Liberia this year is not only historical but crucial as sustenance of our peace and democracy heavily depends on it. How can the chairman make policy pronouncements without consulting the rest of his coworkers? This insinuates that there may be internal wrangling and disagreement among NEC officials, which could erode public confidence in the elections authority.

Alarm raised by Commissioner Weedor also raises concern that processes leading to the October election are totally different this time around. In the two postwar elections Liberia has held, not too many complaints emanated from the registration process, except the late arrival of materials to some places.

But this current process began with problems and continues to be problematic. First, the NEC put out an advertisement calling for competent, qualified and credible people, but in the end, it recruited people who could not effectively and efficiently do the work. Misspelling of names and other details, disorganized information, secret registrations, as well as the discovery of voter registration forms in authorized hands, were the order and talk of the day. In addition to late arrival of materials at some centers, cameras became dysfunctional; registration forms were scarce to meet targeted groups; and election workers were engaged in malpractices evidenced by those caught in the Johnsonville belt secretly registering voters in the house of a representative aspirant.

These irregularities have been proven by the current voter roll exhibition exercise that the NEC chairman is finding a solution to resolve. The fact that most of the record clerks and photographers were unprofessional and recruited on the basis of connection, led to disorganized data and the disappearance of photos and names.

What Korkoya should know is that the concerns raised by Commissioner Weedor, the ECC and Senator Cooper coupled with his own questionable citizenship status are creating suspicion about the credibility of the upcoming elections in the minds of voters, and politicians. Besides weakening the intent of the voter roll exhibition, many people will also end up losing their information; consequently leading unqualified people to vote and discouraging registered voters from voting. Commissioner Weedor’s tone in the argument would cause anyone to reason that Korkoya may be working as a one man army.

We want to reemphasize here that elections are crucial to the sustenance of peace in any country. Therefore, failure to make the election credible and transparent has the propensity to spark conflict. We want Korkoya and his team to supervise the process with care, making sure to do due diligence. Cllr. Jerome George Korkoyah, please remember that the future of this country will be determined by the conduct of these elections, and any attempt to make the process questionable will put your credibility and reputation on the line.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. In its rush to provide a platform to the campaign to smear Korkoya, the Observer is exposing itself and should be careful not to lose its credibility in the process. The Observer starts this editorial by saying Korkoya said that “people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details were not on the voters roll during the exhibition.” If this is an accurate statement of what Korkoya said, then those criticizing him are showing their own limitations. The statement that “people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10” is what any sensible election official should say. Nowhere in a democracy would you say that “people with valid voter ID cards” will not be allowed to vote. If a voter card is obtained by fraud, such a card is not “valid” as it was not issued by the proper authority. Why Korkoya and the other commissioners should put in measures to detect and stop people from using fake id cards to vote, no responsible person or organization should seek to smear another for saying that “people with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10.”

    • Thank you Mr. Kollie. Observer has been publishing stories every single day about this case but now that the court rules in favor of Korkoya, there is no story on that.

  2. Moses, the possession of a valid voter ID card is not all it entails to be eligible to vote, my friend! so only an incompetent individual or a fraud as Jerome Korkoyah would say that the possession of a valid ID CARD IS ALL IT ENTAILS TO BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE.

  3. “Korkoya, Please Manage The Election with Care”.

    Let’s stop beating around the bush, and call a spade a spade; Self – preservation is the first law of nature. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf a celebrity – conscious internationalist doesn’t want to be charged with the same economic sabotage crime she had levied against Interim President Gyude Bryant and few others in his administration, so, dual citizen or not she appointed Korkoya for her own selfish reason: Select her own successor, instead of voters electing their choice for the presidency.

    To make assurance doubly sure, she tried to have some type of influence on the composition of the voter rolls, knowing that her approval rating was nil after Ebola, and the failure of her war on corruption amid pervasive poverty. And it was to ensure this an ID system, which didn’t exist the two times she was elected, was introduced to disenfranchise thousands of undocumented illiterate citizens born in rural Liberia, on the lame excuse that it would weed out non – citizens from voting in the 2017 elections.

    Unsurprisingly, and as intended, the new ID system weeded out more citizens than non – citizens.
    But who could’ve imagined that this poor voters’ suppression strategy of a former beret – wearing, fist – pumping, Black Power – loving Liberian student in the US named Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf was copied from racists in the Deep South like Texas exploiting it to deny the vote to undocumented Black Americans and other minorities, including Native Americans.

    Thus, as expected, many have come to the unavoidable conclusion that a “cloud of uncertainty” hangs over the general and presidential elections as a result of the suspected shenanigans at NEC. One of the commissioners, Mr. Jonathan Weedor, in a recently – published position statement decried “Chairman Korkoya’s “Scam That Will Lead To Rigged 2017 Elections in 2017” (re – the perspective.org).

    The question is, why would a signature Media power such as “The Daily Observer” then be appealing to the better angels of a man who definitely cannot be trusted to conduct ethical elections this year? Unless editors suspect it is a fait accompli, Korkoya – against common sense and Home land security considerations – would stay, regardless. We agree.

    If the past is prologue, our Supreme Court’s near permanent Justice in – chamber, Honorable Phillip Banks, may not deny the wishes of President Sirleaf, especially when opinions are divided on the dual citizenship issue. Of course, that’s how she planned it; use a wedge issue you don’t actually care for to divide and control citizens. Once again, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Ellen is leading Liberians to another dark unfathomable hole. God save the country!

    • It would be a miracle indeed if a decision is rendered otherwise, but I couldn’t agree more with you coz, that it is almost a forgone conclusion that Associate Justice Banks, a bulwark of the regime, given his judicial track record, would rule in favor of Korkoyah. At this critical juncture, the nation’s fate once gain hangs in the balance and rests with the SC; and history will record if Bank’s decision save the nation or have the potential to plunge it into another round of crisis.

  4. A criminal to Manage Election with Care? The very fact that this criminal Jerome G. Korkoya would say that “People with valid voter ID cards will vote on October 10, even if their names and other details were not identified during the voters roll exhibition,” is enough to prove that he cannot manage the election with care.

    Besides, why such expectation or advise to someone who does not have the legal capacity to serve as NEC Chairman and is expected to be disgraced away from the NEC? OR IS IT BECAUSE ELLEN HAS NOT DONE WHAT SHE IS CONSTITUTIONALLY OBLIGATED TO DO? SEE THE INVESTIGATION GOING ON IN THE WHITE HOUSE…WHETHER TRUMP LIKES IT OR NOT!!!

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