By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
In 2023, Liberians will be going to the polls in a general election to elect representatives, senators and a president. At that time, voters will give their verdicts as to whether President George Weah will be retained or democratically moved from office. The by-elections in Montserrado County follow by the 2020 senatorial race, will be some of the determinant factors in the 2023 general elections. Consequently, opposition political parties and the ruling establishment are maneuvering to show political supremacy.
The Montserrado County’s by-elections, which had consistently been postponed, raised fears among citizens of potential rigging in favor of the government. The National Elections Commission (NEC) under the watch of Jerome Korkoya, has conducted the Montserrado County’s by-elections, yet still withholding the results where pundits speculate for possible rigging. Rigging an election causes violence, and also serves as an instrument and conduit to destabilize a nation. The people of Liberia have had enough. We will argue that any attempt by Korkoya and Commissioners at NECE, President Weah and members of his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to deny the will of the people by rigging the Montserrado County’s by- election, the international community must see urgent reasons to impose an appropriate targeted sanction against perceived perpetrators.
Liberia seems to be at a brink of another civil disobedience if the international community does not swiftly move to curtail potential trouble that may emerge as a result of rigging the Montserrado County’s By-elections. The international community without doubt, invested abundant resources in Liberia, and with the help of God, brought the country to where it is. Seeing and celebrating such achievements to allow those efforts to go into breeze by efforts of self-centered selected few, would be self-defeating. Some of our West African brothers in uniforms, who maintained peace in the country lost their lives for the peace Liberians are enjoying today.
Retrospecting the past, considering the present and the future, the manner in which things are currently unfolding in the political theater, under the leadership of President George Weah, is causing the nation to jolter. Liberia needs the international community’s immediate attention to address these problems, simply, because judicial system to adjudicate electoral matters and others is weak, and often easily manipulated. We maintain that the court seems to be in the government’s pocket with convoluted, and confused interpretations of the Liberian constitution to suit government’s interest.
If the court that should be the reliance, is not fairly dispensing justice, it calls for immediate checking thus our appeal to the international community. Over and again. We have argued that the continuous presence of Francis Korkpor on the Supreme Court Bench as a Chief Justice with convoluted interpretations of the constitution is the continuous violation of the Liberian Constitution.
The breakdown of the rule of law and the acquiescence of selective justice in Liberia is the norm; consequently, it behooves for the international community to be watchful and act without delay. The by-elections of Montserrado County to replace the late Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff, and Representative Adolph Lawrence, are reportedly bringing tension between the ruling establishment, and that of the opposition.
It seems to us that both the ruling party, and the opposition may go to this very Court under the watch of Chief Justice Korkpor, who the writer thinks should not be in dispute. The perceived tension in question in our opinion is being masterminded by the NEC, under the leadership of Jerome Korkoya. Jerome Korkoya’s conduct of the by-elections in question has been marked by suspicion, uncertainty and the violation of the Liberian Constitution.
The Montserrado County’s by-elections are over, but the Commission is blaming its staffs for not being timely in returning the results from the field. As we compose this article, Jerome Korkoya and his commissioners at the NEC are still in possession of those results, while the nation anxiously waits. Local radio stations, like KOOL FM, it reported on July 31 that while the opposition block consisting of Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and All Liberian Party, were celebrating at Liberty Party’s Headquarters, members of the CDC crossed over to stone the jubilant crowd. In our opinion, such action is a recipe for chaos and a calculated plan by Korkoya, his Commissioners and CDC’s operatives at the instruction of George Weah.
George Weah as a sitting president, boasted that, no member of the opposition party will ever win an election in Montserrado County. Such uninformed and naive statement may serve as a conduit to rig elections. Liberia is a gullible society where cultural dishonesty, and corruption reign supreme.
As foreign government representatives, we humbly ask for the international community’s immediate attention and ascertain the fact relating to the elections at hand. These elections are very much significant, because it paves the way for the mid-term 2020 senatorial elections, follow by the general elections of 2023, which may tilt the change of power.
From every indication based on the President Weah’s utterances it seems compelling to us to argue that he is willing to hijack democracy and the will of the people. President Weah wants to maintain political supremacy and hegemony in Montserrado County whether by crook or deed. Here, the international community, especially the United States Embassy, European Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU) and the United Nations UN) as impartial umpires must see reason to impose targeted sanction at an appropriate level on Jerome Korkoya, commissioners at the NEC, President George Weah’s CDC National Chairman, and all those based on your expert knowledge will determine to be culpable for rigging the elections and potential violence. Should the elections’ dispute goes to court and result is manipulated, the perceived Justices must face targeted sanctions. We made this recommendation and proposal for a stringent action by the international community, because such an action will curtail, and deter future malpractices, which will have the proclivity to derail peace in Liberia.
In the Cause of the People, the Struggle Continues!!
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds two Masters and a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education, from the University of Oklahoma. He formerly served as a deputy minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education, Republic of Liberia. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, membership with the Highest Honor. Contact: [email protected]