Liberia: “Dismiss the NEC Magistrate in Grand Gedeh” – Youth Calls on Elections Commission Boss
Grand Gedeh County – A youth of Grand Gedeh County has written the National Elections Commission to either replace or dismiss the Elections Magistrate in the County ahead of the 2020 senatorial and referendum elections.
Allison Z. T. Dunner told NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown Lansanah in a communication that the removal of Mr Arthur C. Y. Duogee from the commission’s office in Grand Gedeh will enhance trust and credibility in the commission and put an end to the rigmaroles that usually follow elections in the county.
In the letter Dunner recounted cases of suspected electoral fraud under Dougee’s watch across two elections, citing the cases of Mr William Karyee and Rep Alex Grant in 2011 and that of Mr Patrick Bowah and Rep George Boley in 2017.
In the former Karyee filed a complaint with the NEC that he was robbed of victory in Grand Gedeh District three election in 2011. Locals touted him as the winner of that election until results from the Boe/Ploe area in Gbarzon gave Mr Grant the final laugh. Mr Karyee supporters rejected the result, displaying tally sheets which they said were changed in Mr Grant’s favour.
In 2017 Mr Patrick Bowah cried foul as Dr. George Boley claimed victory in District Two in a controversial fashion. Bowah also took exception to the result but later dropped his case.
And Dunner is saying these are recipe for chaos if nothing is done about it.
In his mind the 2020 elections are too crucial to witness claims and counterclaims.
“To sustain the peace in our country we need to be clear about what matters to the public interest.
“We cannot continue with a man whose workings have the propensity to undermine our peace.
“In 2011 and 2017 people who were dissatisfied with elections results waived their cases for peace sake. Will that be the case in 2020? No one can guarantee that”. Dunner told the press.
He said every election conducted by Mr Duogee as NEC’s magistrate in Grand Gedeh has been marred by suspected electoral malpractices, “even in Margibi where he presided over elections in 2014”.
“My communication to the NEC boss was very clear to the point. It was dated August 7, 2020 and I attached few of the numerous emails exchanged between magistrate Duogee and a candidate during the 2017 elections.
“I don’t know why the commission is yet to respond.”
Mr Dunner added that in the leaked emails Rep Grant was instructing Mr Dougee to hire people who were his associates as he was running to retain his seat at the House of Representatives.
He also claims Mr Dougee is a bosom friend of Rep Grant whose party is part of the Coalition for Democratic Change that is fielding Rep Zoe E. Pennue in the December 8 elections, as one of its newest members from the Congress for Democratic Change.
He said it puts the credibility of the elections in doubt if Mr Dougee remains elections Magistrate in the Grand Gedeh County.
Dunner also alleged that Magistrate Dougee has a host of close friends – also connected with Rep Grant – who he often hires to conduct elections in Grand Gedeh.
He said the evidences adduced in his communication to the commission should be enough remove Mr Dougee.
The young Grand Gedean frowned on the commission’s failure to respond to his communication, saying it may make him to seek other means for redress.
Dunner also alleged that in late March 2020, few Grand Gedeans told the Hot Pepper newspaper – with documents in their possession to back their claims – that magistrate Duogee was involved with electoral malpractices in past elections.
The group was opposing a probable appointment of Mr Dougee as a commissioner at the NEC.
Dunner said while it is a glaring fact that he holds no grudge against the Elections Magistrate, the peace of the country is hinged on the December elections. And those who might spur the tension, like Dougee, must be booted out of the system to safeguard peace.