When Will the Supreme Court Act on NEC’s Failure to Comply With the Court’s Mandate on the FRR?

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The Supreme Court of Liberia, in its December 7, 2017 ruling on the case of massive irregularities and fraud allegedly committed by the National Elections Commission (NEC) brought by four leading political parties, acknowledged incidences of irregularities and fraud.

The Supreme Court denied, however, that these irregularities and fraud were sufficiently widespread to warrant a rerun of the entire elections.

However, the Court did take a forthright action by demanding that NEC immediately clean up the Final Registration Roll (FRR) and have it circulated to all Election Magistrates and all polling stations before the presidential runoff.

But Chairman Korkoya has apparently taken the Supreme Court’s ruling as a joke.  Instead of doing as the Court’s ruling demanded, Korkoya did nothing about the cleanup exercise but instead went ahead and hurriedly announced December 26, the day after Christmas, as the date for the presidential runoff!

The public heard absolutely nothing from the Court about this clear and open defiance by the NEC Chair to its mandate, and this newspaper editorially urged the parties, especially Unity Party (UP), to run back to the Supreme Court, which UP did, filing a “Bill of Information.”

Chairman Korkoya and his fellow Commissioners seem to have no idea of the magnitude of the trouble they are in—unless, for reasons best known to themselves, they reckon that the Supreme Court is not to be taken seriously.

It is also surprising that all nine Commissioners at NEC do not yet understand the grave suspicion Liberian voters harbor concerning the millions of extra ballots Chairman Korkoya ordered, many of which, in the wake of the mismanaged October 10 elections, many people feel were used to inflate the votes of certain candidates. Even so, many of these ballots were not used in the October 10 elections. So where are they? We need an audit of all the ballots imported for those elections.

The overriding question remains, how could NEC set a date for the presidential runoff when the FRR had yet to be cleaned up in keeping with the Supreme Court’s mandate?

Another question is, were the political parties concerned consulted on the proposed runoff date? As far as we know, neither UP nor has the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) confirmed that they knew anything about the December 26 date. Whom, we ask, are Korkoya and his fellow Commissioners listening to? Who, besides the NEC Board of Commissioners is calling the shots at NEC, one of the nation’s leading integrity institutions that is supposed to be independent and autonomous?

Having already set the date for the runoff, without first taking a single step to clean up the FRR, what if the cleanup exercise is not completed before that date announced by NEC?

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is keenly interested in the efficacy of these elections and is insisting that they be conducted in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner. Anything otherwise, they fear, and rightly so, would be a recipe for chaos.

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his frank and forthright Commencement Address to the University of Liberia last Thursday, declared, “West Africa is not prepared to contemplate the scenario of Liberia sliding back into instability and conflict.”

“We will,” he added, “do all we can to ensure that democracy is entrenched in the country, but we will not accept any other outcome.”

We hope and pray that ECOWAS and its leaders are serious about this. The Liberian people and ECOWAS cannot sit supinely and allow this Liberian government and its National Elections Commission to rig these elections.

We vividly recall what rigged elections in our history did to the country. The 1927 rigged election led to the Fernando Po Crisis that seriously threatened Liberia’s sovereignty, which we would have lost but for the timely and forthright intervention of President Edwin Barclay and his Secretary of State, Louis Arthur Grimes.

The 1985 elections, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was “elected” Senator for Montserrado County, but refused to take her seat because those elections were rigged, led to the Liberian Civil War.

We only hope that President Sirleaf remembers that.

Should she not, we now have to depend only on the resolute Liberian people and their Organization, ECOWAS, to do what it did in The Gambia few months back, to bring sanity to recalcitrant and arrogant political leadership.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. In the parable, “If you can’t hear, you will feel,” one only hoped it was one person or few that would feel in that regard, and not the whole population. Because it doesn’t make any sense at all when everybody else has recognized a faulty electoral process and yet, the election officials and commissioners don’t see anything wrong with it. This is how violence during or after these elections are often instigated. When the system is perceived as racked with discredible and incompetent leadership, as unfair, as biased against one side, as rigged, etc., etc., all of which make the outcome disputable and objectionable. Add the apprehension of international sponsors, observers and stakeholders that the system is flawed and a recipe for disaster and the prospect for an unsavory ending becomes very very real.

  2. African leaders should acknowledge that Liberia was once and still is the light of freedom on this continent. They should also keep in mind that colonialism never was in Liberia. The effort of solidarity brought colonial nations around the continent including other African nations to independence in the 1960s just around the corner. We will no longer leave our nation to go establish peace accords in other nations as was during our war intervals, in Sierra Leone, Ghana etc… This was one of the worst mistakes made. Never again will this happen. Our institutions have re-entered and we must be mindful of the existence of the three branches of Government in its unique style and form planning a digger at each branch to ensure the secret heritage of this nation and proper function of its branches. No do not need to be reminded by any external guest to remind us about our past war that made stranger to come in for pieces of scraps of our freedom. We should not forget that Togo is chairing ECOWAS until June of 2018. It is the prerogative of the Togolese chairperson to admonish peaceful Presidential speech trade amongst African ECOWAS states. Wait until it is your nation’s time to chairperson ECOWAS. Report advices to Togo Chair until June of next year. Liberians that stop their own war and it is Liberians that have keep their own peace with trade from other nations. But not because of our external relationship with nations of the world, we encourage concupiscence from some nations. We are aware of the causes and effects of a civil war and we will now handle our election ourselves as a nation. WE are still the light of democracy in Africa. Such history made will ever be. The headquarters of ECOWAS being in Nigeria does not mean that Niger steps should be brought in the Liberian state by all kinds of squares under the pretense of Western educational values. Liberia now has its own values. We will handle and count our own ballets and end this Liberian Presidential run-off, of the Liberian Highest licit Judicial decision in peace as was before and after the foundation laid by Liberian chiefs, elders and founders. This run-off will be completed by the Liberian people with in the confines of its jurisdiction in its own peaceful atmosphere with its own secret heritage. Making and reminding statements within and out will only stir-up the unfortunate few superfluous opposing views which the spies of our silent majority are spying to keep the peace. Few will no longer cause many, many, many, Liberians to suffer. Do not reply this box.
    Gone to palaver source and rice. Fish and meat and only Liberian seasoning inside. Not invited.

  3. TD; You’ve got to be kidding. Haven’t you ever heard of “The American Colonisation Society”? What was it’s purpose in Africa? Indeed! Liberia was an American Colony; with real White Governors.

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