E D I T O R I A L
OVER THE PAST SEVERAL weeks, there has been a lot of wrangling over the nominations of chairperson and commissioners at the National Elections Commission.
BACK IN MARCH, the largest civil society group which oversees electoral matters out-rightly rejected President George Weah’s picks to the NEC.
THE ECC expressed concerns that the President’s nominations lacked broad-based consultations with stakeholders.
WHILE IT REALIZED that the President has the power to appoint, ECC took serious exception to the nomination of Cllr. Ndubuisi Nwabudike, a Nigerian-born who had already been appointed twice by the President, first at the Governance Commission and later to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.
ACCORDING TO ATTORNEY OSCAR BLOH, Coordinator of the ECC, Nwabudike was morally conflicted and lacked the credibility required to exercise neutrality over an independent body that is supposed to decide Liberia’s president and other elected officials.
IN THE END, the Senate concurred and rejected Nwabudike’s nomination.
NEXT UP was Floyd Sayor, the President’s nominees as one of the commissioners at the NEC. Sayor was the most problematic and controversial, still haunted by his misdeeds of the District No. 15 Montserrado County Legislative Elections to fill the void of the late Adolph Lawrence.
ALTHOUGH SARYOR, told the Senate Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commissions during his confirmation that public perception about him have been wrong, many who felt disenfranchised by the outcome of the District No. 15, are still upset at the role Sayor played in the irregularities which marred the results.
AS DATA DIRECTOR at NEC for nearly a decade, Sayor has always come under public criticism of manipulating data at the NEC against certain individuals who for some reason felt cheated in every electoral process.
IN 2017 SAYOR was made to appear before the court as an expert witness in the case of Liberty Party versus The National elections Commission. During his confirmation hearing, Cllr. Abraham Darius Dillon, in an attempt to question the Sayor’s integrity at the NEC and whether he has been investigated by the NEC for electoral malpractice (es), the nominee denied being investigated by the NEC.
TO THE CONTRARY, a report from Cllr. Muna Ville, NEC’s hearing officer ruled in the case Telia Urey versus the NEC as a result of an election dispute between her and Mr. Abu Kamara, where he ordered the Investigation of Mr. Sayor.
IN HIS DELIVERY OF THE VERDICT, Cllr. Ville said the chief reason for calling a rerun of election in all the quarantined polling places was because the director of the NEC data center director, Floyd Sayon compromised the integrity of the District #15 polls by failing to obey instructions from his immediate boss, to quarantine ballots from the polling places where irregularities were said to have occurred and withheld the inclusion of votes from those areas from the final tally until all such complaints had been addressed.
DESPITE NUMEROUS objections and public outcry, the Senate Committee confirmed Mr. Floyd.
THIS WEEK, PRESIDENT Weah made two more appointments at NEC, naming Davidetta Browne Lansanah as Chair, replacing Cllr. Jerome Korkoryah whose tenure expired in March, and Cllr. Teplah Reeves as Co-Chair.
ALREADY, THE nominations are generating some concerns.
ATTORNEY BLOH of the ECC told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday that the nominee to co-chair NEC, Cllr. Reeves has strong ties to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change because she contested on the party’s ticket in the 2017 elections as Representative Candidate for River Cess County.
MR. BLOH said the appointment of Reeves to such non-partisan institution has the propensity to undermine public confidence in the NEC and increase uncertainties on the Electoral body’s ability to hold free and fair elections in the not too distant future.
ALL THIS suggests that the ruling CDC is going all out to find nominees that are sympathetic to them to ensure victory in both the Mid Term elections this year and the 2023 Presidential elections.
WE HOPE THIS IS not the case and strongly urge the ruling CDC to do the right thing simply because it too had been down this road before and knows where it is bound to lead, chaos, uncertainty, and violence.
LIBERIA HAS ENDURED so much over the last century that it deserves nothing short of peaceful and orderly elections and transitions from one government to the next.
IF THE CDC really wants to avoid losing the next elections, the formula is simple: Do the right things, put a stamp on corruption, exercise transparency and accountability and address the bread and butter issues facing Liberians and Liberia.
LIBERIA HAS NEVER been the same since the rice riots of April 14, 1979, it turned even worse a year later when Master Sargeant Samuel Kanyon Doe ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule on April 12, 1980, in a bloody coup d’etat which disrupted what was once one fo the most peaceful nations on planet earth.
THE NEXT DECADE saw Doe failing to come to terms with the realities, engaging in corruption, human rights abuses, killings, and a disputed 1985 elections which marked the beginning of the end of Liberia’s political debacle.
AN EVENTUAL CIVIL WAR ruined lives, infrastructures, and separate families, friends, and loved ones. Others lost their lives in a senseless war born out of greed and dissatisfaction.
LIBERIA HAS COME too far to return to its ugly past.
PRESIDENT WEAH and the CDC must ensure that the elections on the horizon are free, fair, and transparent. Appointing partisans or sympathizers to what should be a neutral body is totally wrong.
SADLY, SOME OF THOSE elected as Senators and Legislators are just too blind to see. Others, benefiting from the spoils of bad governance will defend it to their deaths – or until the apples stop falling from the trees.
SECTION 2.5 OF THE FINAL AMENDED Elections Law of Liberia regarding Party Affiliation and Oath states: “No Commissioner, election officer or any employee of the Commission shall be a member or an affiliate of any political party, or of an association or organization; nor shall any Commissioner, election officer or any employee of the Commission canvass for any elective public office directly or indirectly. Before assuming office, each Commissioner, election officer and every employee of the Commission shall solemnly subscribe to an Oath renouncing allegiance to, and severing all connections, affiliation and relationship with his/her own, or any political party during his/her service or tenure with the Commission.
WHICHEVER WAY the tide breaks – or wherever the cooking crumbles, one thing is certain, it is Liberia that matters in the end. This is why each and every well-meaning Liberian must stand up and raise a red flag on anything resembling the ugly past of Africa’s oldest republic. Culled FPA