The Fraudulent 1985 Elections Led to Civil War: We Pray the Supreme Court Understands the Gravity of the Situation


As the nation awaits the final ruling of the Supreme Court only a few hours away, the National Elections Commission (NEC) finds itself embroiled in a plethora of issues concerning the integrity of elections results in several electoral districts around the country. How such developments are going to impact the course of the ongoing electoral process remains unclear, although it is evident that the results are generating growing tensions within communities around the country.

The main question weighing on the minds of the public is whether the National Elections Commission (NEC), given all that is transpiring, can be trusted to conduct future elections be it a rerun or a runoff. Never ever in recent history has the Liberian electoral process been plagued with so much controversy as it is now under the oversight of its Chairman, Jerome Korkoya.

And for reasons that remain a mystery and defy logic, this individual is being allowed to cling on to the reins of authority at NEC, even when it is clear that under his leadership the integrity of the institution is being torn into shreds. In retrospect, the 2014 senatorial elections results and the unprecedented number of challenges to it that ended up in the Supreme Court provided early warning signs that went virtually ignored.

There were, for example, allegations of improper behavior, bordering on fraud, on the part of NEC officials. In some cases, compromise deals were concluded to have some contenders drop their charges while in others, the Supreme Court had to intervene to prevent NEC from further burning ballots before the matters were concluded.

And as though the 2014 senatorial elections were a dress rehearsal, results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections have laid bare issues of integrity — issues which cannot be dismissed by a wave of the hand or by repetitive bare denials as is being done by Chairman Korkoya. And those issues will not go away, at least not even after the Supreme Court’s final ruling, scheduled to be delivered at 3 p.m. today.

As earlier pointed out by this newspaper in previous editorials, the integrity of the Voter Roll shall again come into play, no matter in which direction the dice rolls. Establishing the integrity of the Voters Roll is, therefore, a matter which must be considered urgent. The ECOWAS team of experts should be given full cooperation to enable them address this problem.

Towards this end, NEC should and must make available the entire Roll, especially the addendum list, which is perhaps the eyesore that needs attention. In undertakings of this nature, transparency is key to building and instilling public trust. For example, the flurry of bare denials coming from NEC officials in the wake of the publication of leaked emails, the contents of which suggest official tampering with the Voter Roll, must be fully investigated without delay.

As it appears, NEC has been standing as Judge, Jury and Executioner, shooting down genuine complaints as they see fit and not giving a hoot about public concerns regarding accountability and  transparency. We cannot at this time make definitive statements about the veracity of these leaked emails, but we can confidently declare that a full investigation is the way to go to lay the matter to rest.

This is important because we know from history that permitting flawed elections results to stand is like striking a match before a tinder box; it is then only a matter of time before the whole thing blows apart.

We recall that fateful day in 1985 when Elections Commission (ECOM) Chairman Emmett Harmon declared that the stolen elections results which he had announced were “ordained by God.” Our traditional ally, through Secretary of State George Schultz, followed Emmett Harmon’s pronouncement and declared that those stolen results were, as he put it, “fair by African standards.” And what did that stolen election lead to? It led to a 14-year civil war that killed nearly 300,000 people, internally and externally displaced millions, destroyed Liberia’s infrastructure and turned her into a failed state.

Fast forward to 2017, international observers, following in the same footsteps as in 1985, also declared the October 10 elections free, fair and transparent. But this time around, much unlike before, the political parties did not swallow the international observers’ dictum hook, line and sinker. The aggrieved political parties took the matter to the Supreme Court and neither to the streets nor the bushes. By so doing, the nation breathed a sigh of relief.

We pray that the Supreme Court fully understands the GRAVITY of this matter and will today render dispassionate and blind justice.


  1. That is the reason why the Supreme Court of Liberia MUST be left alone to do
    its due diligence, instead of putting fear into the minds of the Judges about
    what caused the civil war. Even if the elections of 1985 was free and fair, the
    planning of the civil war or war long preceded those elections in 1985. Don’t
    let us open our mouths to start naming names who were involved in planning,
    raising money and who used to travel to Lybia and other parts of Africa negotiating
    for fighters. So then, in order to avoid civil war, it is prudent on the part of the
    Supreme Court of Liberia to help clean up the age old electoral fraud in Liberia.

    • The historical lesson or reminder embedded in this editorial is quite cogent and timely for the task at hand. After all history serves as foundation for the future of any society. So better we, including our justices are aware now of how others before us traversed these same or similar bifurcations, rather than after the fact, thus encumbering us with the same fate and needlessly. And our justices ought to be above intimidation and coercion in reaching these life-and-death decisions, contrary to the timidity or faintheartedness you estimate of them, Mr. Tarlue.

  2. Why are people reacting as though the decision of the Supreme Court shall detrmine the winner of the election? Anyway, its understood. That is, IF the election should be left in the hands of those thieves (legislators or Representatives and Senators) who already endorsed Boakai, they will reverse the democratic choice of the Liberian people. And this is why they have ganged-up in vain with their baseless allegations against the NEC which they(Boakai, Brumskine, indicted criminal Varney Sherman cannot prove. BUT THEY LIE! THEY ARE BLOCKED BY THE PRESENSE OF THE IRON LADY!

  3. NPFL leader Rtd General Thomas Qwiwonkpa left the US, where he lived with his family, and announced in late 1984 that he was coming to free Liberians from his former PRC colleague Doe – an announcement that was published by Daily Observer – long before his invasion from Freetown in 1985. So why does this paper continue writing revisionist history like facts will flee in the face of fiction?

    Not to mention that rebels of the second NPFL -led Major Charles Taylor invasion from Ivory Coast killed LAP’s standard bearer Mr. Jackson F. Doe, the supposed winner of the 1985 presidential election. The question, then, is why murder cold-bloodely the so – called reason for the

    Why did the December 1989 invasion led by Taylor succeed should rather be the subject of intense debate for the Security Sector, government, and public to learn from that experience. When the 9/11/2001 terrorists’ attack occurred, the American people instituted a Commission of Enquiry to look into what went wrong to cause such existential breach in security. Until now no Liberian government has bothered with such humbug. Perhaps, Daily Observer should put aside the misinformation campaign and advocate for our enquiry.

  4. Well, the preceding comment was inadvertently sent by phone. It is dismaying that the those who were around when these events happened couldn’t correct this continuous distortion. No wonder it is hard to get things right – many of us don’t give a crap about truth!


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