Liberia: A Lot Of Issues, Uncertainty Over the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah

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The Editor,

Who is Davidetta Brown-Lasanah? What are her qualifications: education and professional work experience to head the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia? All I have been told about her is that she is from Maryland County and is a younger sister of Ms. Lauren Brown. Ms. Lauren Brown headed a presidential task force during the presidency of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to probe the shooting death(s) of CDC partisans by the Liberia National Police on November 7, 2011 at the CDC Headquarters. 

As Chairperson of the Liberia National Elections Commission, Ms. Lasanah is responsible to steer our wobbling young democracy to stability through free and fair elections so we don’t return to our recent ugly violent past. Liberia is notorious for holding fraudulent elections going back nearly one hundred ago. And we have been threading the same bloody path in recent past elections since the 1980s under Presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor
Mr. Charles D.B. King was first elected President of Liberia in 1923 on the ticket of the corrupt True Whig Party. He was seeking a 3rd term in the May 3, 1927, general election against Mr. Thomas J. Faulkner of the People’s Party. The results would put Liberia in the global Hall of Fame/Shame in the Guinness Book of World Record as the most rigged election in human history…and the DNA has been passed on to succeeding generations of Liberian leadership since.

In 1927, there were only 15,000 registered voters of the settler five percent minority Americo-Liberian stock only. The majority 95 percent African-Liberians or tribal people would have to wait for over 100 years to vote and form an opposition party of their own after the 1980 military coup led by Sergeant Samuel Doe. The Grand Olde True Whig Party has been literally obliterated since and limping to its grave.

Out of the 15,000 registered voters in 1927, Mr. CDB King received 243,000 votes or 1,680% to Mr. Faulkner’s 9,000 votes or 4%. This trend has been repeated since but not on the same scale as the CDB King margin of victory.

For Ms. Lasana the NEC Chairperson during her second press conference in the midterm senatorial election updates earlier today, Friday, she was mystified in her utterances, rambling and giving half-baked answers to important election questions from reporters.

Asked during her first update about votes being counted in the dark without electricity, she answered by asking: “if there is no electricity in the capital, how do you expect the NEC to provide electricity at polling stations throughout the country?” The reporter wanted to know why weren’t electric generators made available in her budgetary request and allocation? The same lukewarm answer.

In Monrovia’s 19th Street Sinkor polling station, two individuals were arrested with 100 voter cards in their possession. At another polling station, an NEC officer had given three pre-marked ballots in favor of CDC candidate Thomas Fallah to a voter. Her answers always spin to ” the Police are investigating “

With voting closed throughout the country and the majority of the votes already counted because candidates were given copies of the tally sheets for each precinct, the candidates justification, however prematurely, for declaring “victory,” why is the NEC lagging behind when there should be no pause in releasing the results from across the country where votes had already been tallied? We simply have to endure her daily updates the next day and the next day until it is OVER.

Another first by the NEC Chair is how she was announcing the results that a reporter had to ask her why. For example, the NEC boss would say in Montserrado County, CPP’s “Darius Dillon has 4-4-6-9-2 votes” instead of saying 44,692 (forty-four thousand, six hundred ninety-two votes. Her pronunciation of tribal names was ridiculous when she could have practiced familiarizing with the names with her NEC staff.

For God’s sake, there are 15 counties in Liberia and all the counties are being contested. Why would a reporter remind/ask the NEC Chair why was Bomi County not included in the results after her second day of briefing reporters and the nation? She made no mention of Bomi County as she concluded her official updates on her second day. Is Bomi not a County? Her answers often were one, two, three, four, or a five-word sentence/answer….” I will check on it” or ” there were issues in Bomi” she said without elaborating.

Then this question from James Goodday Flomo of SPOON-TV about “why is the NEC website down” unlike in the past where journalists and others would go to get updates on elections? Her answer: “I will check with my technical/Internet team”, she murmured; “an indication,” according to Mr. Flomo, “that you have not visited the website as NEC Chairperson.” 

Jerry Wehtee Wion
Washington, DC, USA

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