Your Excellency Badatunde Ajisomoi Olenrewaju
Special Representative of the president
ECOWAS Commission to Liberia
Rise of the One Party Dominant State
On September 30, 2020, I wrote and called your attention to the threat of a constitutional crisis that hangs over Liberia because of the poor handling of the electoral process in Liberia and the inability of the George Weah government to maintain the peace. Since then, the brutal killing of key government workers in the financial accounting sector has sent fear through the society. It is clear that the current strategy of government is to present the ruling CDC party, the government, and the state as a dangerous and fearful entity that will intimidate the population and heavily attack opposition leaders. In that way, election will become a mere formality that will give the false impression of popular participation and the involvement of opposition parties in the democratic process. Under the circumstances, only the ruling party will be guaranteed the possibility of electoral victory. Obviously, that will be unacceptable and tension will intensify in Liberia as government will continue to take miscalculated actions in order to avoid being pushed out of power. Your Excellency, kindly allow me to restate, emphasize and remind you about the concerns that were raised in my earlier communication.
Therefore, on behalf of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) of the Republic of Liberia, I write to call your attention (and, through you, the diplomatic community, our Development Partners, the Interreligious Council of Liberia, and other stake holders) to dangerous developments in Liberia that have the potential to undermine the peace building process in this “postwar” country in which much innocent African blood has been wasted for nothing by greedy and wickedly motivated politicians who are only interested in power and wealth. Accordingly, there is the threat of a vote of no confidence hanging over the senatorial elections of 2020 and the possibility of constitutional crisis that will call into question the legitimacy and legality of the George Weah administration.
- The refusal of the National Elections commission (NEC) to clean the Voters’ roll in compliance with Supreme Court Decision of 2017 after the first round of the fake and dishonest elections. NEC refusal to allow political party representatives involvement in the cleaning of the voters roll, despite written communication by the NDC requesting the NEC to furnish the National Democratic Coalition with an electronic or hard copy of the voter roll.
- NEC refusal to open up the platform on which the voters roll was built to political party technicians.
- The possibility that virtual registration and, therefore, potential voting centers have been created by NEC within the National Elections Commission computer system.
- Poor resourcing of NEC to the detriment of the integrity of the ballot.
- The monetization of politics which compels poor voters to take photos of candidates for whom they vote for financial rewards, contrary to the spirit of ballot secrecy which is guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic of Liberia.
- Inability of NEC to control or put in place mechanisms that discourage trucking, which is a dangerous practice that is disenfranchising poor contestants and actual county residents; in contravention of the Constitution of Liberia.
- Inability of NEC and the Liberian government to control trucking from across national borders.
- Inadequacy of registration centers and registration materials. Delays in the registration process that discouraged and denied many people the exercise of their rights.
- Inability of the Weah administration to control the increase in election violence between ruling party interest groups (on the one hand) and between ruling party thugs and the opposition (on the other).
- The increasing suspicion that most of the NEC officials and selected election workers are an extension of the CDC government interest.
- The confusing referendum proposal that calls for citizen approval to ‘change the constitution rather than amend the constitution.
- The placement of Mr. Weah’s photo on all billboards concerning the so-called referendum as a way of unduly influencing the referendum results, if it will be imposed.
- The unpopular position for change of office terms for senators from nine to seven years and six to five years for presidents and members of the house of representatives; contrary to the popular position that was establish during the national debate for change of office terms for senators from nine to six years and six to four years for presidents and members of the house of representatives.
- The rigging of the electoral process through allowing violation of the election laws by the ruling party (ruling party campaigning outside of official campaign period).
- Inadequacy of voters’ registration centers; slowness of the registration process; and positioning of centers in faraway localities that discourage citizens from registering and voting.
- The mixing of voters registration with voters update process.
- Government inability to control the increasing crime rate in the country.
- The continuous attack on opposition leaders as demonstrated by the brutal and military style invasion of the residence of Hon. Yekeh Kolubah, the Representative of District Ten.
- The uncontrollable corruption, disrespect for the constitution by Mr. Weah and his cheerleaders, the exploitation and suppression of the working people of Liberia, the mismanagement of the economy, disregard for Liberia’s integrity in the international community, and flagrant disinterest in popular participation in the democratic process.
All these are reasons or pretexts that led to the military coup d’Etat of 1980 and eventually, the fourteen year civil war from which Liberia has not yet recovered. Together with the failure to reconcile the country, build social harmony, and accommodate the war and economic crimes courts, you can see how the stage is being set for the construction of a platform on which power seekers can easily promote ethno-nationalism and another senseless war.
Your Excellency, we would have thought that ‘postwar’ governments in Liberia will be interested in building and maintaining peace. Ironically, the Weah administration continues to fan the flames of war. We had thought that the popularity of George Weah would have been used to maintain the peace and inspire social economic development. Ironically, Mr. Weah and his allies continue to use his historical football popularity for the wrong reasons.
Bear in mind, your Excellency, that the NDC, Liberia’s oldest coalition is comprised mainly of the New DEAL Movement and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Both the New DEAL Movement and the FDP are signatories to the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2003. As moral guarantors of the CPA, it is such a great shame to see Liberia breaking down in spite of every effort by ECOWAS and the international community to restore sanity to Liberia and maintain peace in West Africa.
We will therefore appreciate it if you can do all within your power to call the attention of the ECOWAS Authority and the international community to the complications and complex emergency that now confronts Liberia. Accordingly, the NDC is prepared to cooperate with other democratic forces to instruct the Weah government to come down rather than see another bloodbath for nothing in Liberia and West Africa.
Alaric K. Tokpa
National Chairman, NDC
CC: National Elections Commission (NEC)
Interreligious Council, Republic of Liberia
Other National Stakeholders
Main Photo: Cde Alaric Tokpa