Liberia: Collaborating Opposition Political Parties Threaten to Reject By-Election Results if Not ‘Free, Fair, and Credible’
Monrovia – Liberia’s four major opposition political parties have threatened to not settle for any result shy of a “free, fair, transparent and credible” electoral contest that respects the decision of Montserrado County’s electorate.
According to the parties, they are aware that NEC chairman Jerome Korkoya’s tenure as Chairman of the National Elections Commission is nearing its end and are sensing that it is possible to negotiate a condition for extension and/or renewal, which may not be far from skewing any outcomes in favor of President Weah’s preferred choices of candidates.
The parties, in a press statement issued Thursday in Monrovia, stressed that when thousands of Liberians thronged Capitol Hill on June 7 this year to show their disapproval for the way their country is being governed means that any attempt to rig the Montserrado County by-elections and any subsequent elections will provoke a similar reaction.
“We warn elements of the National Elections Commission who continue to collude with external political forces to immediately desist because they are under our radar and will suffer the consequences of their actions. We will do all we can to protect the votes of the People of Montserrado County,” reads the statement.
The four collaborating parties are All Liberian Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress, and Unity Party.
They are deeply troubled by recent strange developments within the NEC, considering attempt by some “unscrupulous” individuals within the Commission to collude with external political forces to frustrate the electorates of Montserrado County as was experienced during the Sinoe County Senatorial by-election of 2018, when the outcome was skewed in favor of President Weah’s anointed candidate.
The political parties alleged that in Sinoe County “known operatives of the ruling party, who are also part of the Sinoe County administration” were recruited to serve as poll workers which they say was in total violation of any ethical precept or tenet for a free, fair, transparent and credible electoral contest.
“It is becoming all the more worrisome that the Sinoe malaise is being nurtured once again, as strange maneuvers within the National Elections Commission continue to indicate,” the parties said.
They claim that on Monday, 8 July 2019 busloads of unidentified people were seen within the premises of the Sinkor Headquarters of the National Elections Commission.
“When confronted, many of the bus riders said they had been encouraged and transported to the Commission to obtain their Voter Identification cards for the stalled Montserrado County senatorial and representative by-elections, the actual date for which remains uncertain due to deliberate efforts by elements within the National Elections Commission and Government to replay the Sinoe County scenario.”
The opposition political parties expressed concern that the Commission has postponed the elections, thereby affecting their plans and preparations to continue their campaign activities.
The parties again expressed concern about alleged secret registration of voters although the process has since elapsed.
“This is not the first time that such a strange movement had been detected. Previously, many people from different parts of Liberia had been spotted in the premises of the National Elections Commission’s (NEC’s) Sinkor headquarters purporting to have been “sent” to obtain their Voter Cards.
“When confronted by political parties during two (2) recent meetings of the Inter-Party Consultative Committee (IPCC), the Commission superficially addressed this strange development without providing any guarantee that nothing sinister was in the offing, even if not official.
“This is unprecedented in recent election history, and it validates the growing fear that plans to rig the Montserrado votes might still be afloat.”
At the same the time, the statement alleges that NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoyah “has of late been seen in the company of the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel McGill, whose jurisdiction has nothing to do with that of the National Elections Commission”.
“In fact, considering that during the launch of the CDC Candidates’ campaign last month President George Weah had threatened our candidates and vowed that “As long as I am George Weah and President of Liberia…Abraham Darius Dillon and Telia Urey will never win any elections in Liberia…”
The opposition parties say they “cannot underrate the dangers that these maneuvers pose to Liberia’s electoral process and system”, while calling on Civil Society, Human Rights Community, Liberia National Bar Association, the Press Union of Liberia, other Interest and Pressure Groups, the ECOWAS Commission, European Union, African Union, United Nations, the United States Government and Liberia’s multilateral Partners and other Friends of Liberia to take the prevailing situation.
They also warned the NEC not to take the “very expensive risk” of tampering with the impending by-elections as this will be “a red herring”.