Liberia: Low Voters Turnout In Firestone Workers Election
Margibi County – Low turnout in the Firestone Agriculture Workers Union (FAWUL) has created doubt over the credibility of the polls with some candidates alleging that discrepancy may playout in the process.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah, [email protected]
The election was scheduled for Tuesday, September 4 by the Ministry of Labor but was later rescheduled to Wednesday, September 5 due to low turnout.
The quick change in polling centers by the ad-hoc election commission is said to be one major problem that has created challenges for members of FAWUL to vote.
The commission previously blamed changes in polling center and the rescheduling of general voting to a representation poll. This means the workers are to vote for leaders who will represent them in four different blocs.
Thirty-six candidates are contesting for 12 different positions and the ad-hoc commission has indicated that there is specific number of people selected to represent the entire voting population within each of the four blocs.
Results will to be announced in the coming days and the winners are expected to serve a two-year term.
Ahead of the Tuesday’s polls, embattled FAWUL President Harris Kerkula expressed disappointment over what he calls abrupt changes made by the Ministry of Labor’s election commission.
“I foresee problem in the elections due to challenges that our workers will face as a result of system put in place by the Ministry of Labor,” Kerkula told FrontPage Africa.
According to him, the recent adjustment in the election process would create tension during election for the national leadership because various representatives will also be contesting.
Kerkula noted that it would be impossible for electorates to leave their respective leaders within the four enlisted blocs and vote for others during the national workers union leadership election.
“These same representatives who will be voted for within their regions will also contest the national election, so how possible will it be for voters who they represent to leave them and vote for others,” he opined.
Kerkula furthered told reporters on Wednesday, the second day of the election that low turnout on Tuesday resulted from the commission’s inability to create awareness.
The embattled FAWUL President, at the same time, believes the election is being poorly administered due to lack of publicity on media that will build up the momentum of voters to participate in the process.
Meanwhile, FAWUL’s ad-hoc election commission Chairperson Joseph Pewee noted that the change in polling places was a mandate from the Ministry of Labor.
He, however, noted that funding constraints and court proceeding coupled with late timetable for the election also resulted to poor awareness on the process, while expressing confidence in the positive outcome of the process.