Liberia: Former Ruling Party Chairman Accuses Govt of Influencing Voters ID Card Replacement
Monrovia – When the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that people with the issue of lost or damaged voters card will pay US$5 to get a new one, it was met with mixed reactions from the public. Even though this NEC mandate is backed by the elections law, it seemed strange to many Liberians.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Days after the announcement was made, the Commission summersaulted and made another announcement that seemed pleasing to the voters. NEC said the government had agreed to foot the cost for people with issue of lost voters card.
As good as the gesture sounds, some opposition politicians, however, believe that there is a political motive from the government.
Mr. Wilmot Paye, Chairman of the former ruling Unity Party, believes that the government is using this to troop in their supporters from other parts of the country to swell their support base in Montserrado so that they can win the Senate and District 15.
At an event marking the endorsement of the candidacy of Mr. Darius Dillon, who is running on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party, with backing from UP, Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the All Liberian Party (ALP), Chairman Paye said: “Under the elections law whenever a by-election is about to be held there is a period for the replacement of missing or damaged voters card.
“Two days ago, the NEC invited political parties and at that meeting Chairman Korkoyah informed us that there has been no time in a given by-election when people replacing lost cards have ever exceeded hundred persons.”
“But as we speak, people are trooping at NEC; a new form of voters registration is taking place. You heard President Weah say on Saturday as long as he’s President, Dillon will never win elections. I am not concerned about that statement because of what he said, but there is a reason we are speaking because that statement was a direct instruction to NEC. Fortunately for us, some commissioners have already started to express concerns.”
In response, Mr. Henry Flomo, head of Communications at the NEC, described as false and farfetched the claims from the UP Chairman.
In another response, Mr. Mulbah Morlu, Chairman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) described as “stupid” comments made by the UP Chairman. “He’s a stupid man heading a weaker party looking for baseless excuse to make up for the flogging waiting for them. Lies and propaganda remain the last straw being hung on by the Unity Party as they are drowning in defeat.
“Trooping people is a trademark of the Unity Party, not the CDC. How can we troop people in our strong hold?”
Paye further stated: “People who are going there to get voters card are from Rivercess and Nimba. This is wrong if that is what President Weah is depending on. We encourage you to protect your votes because we know what they want to know.”
In NEC’s recent announcement, it extended the replacement of missing and damaged voters registration cards until Thursday, June 27, 2019.
The extension came days before the expiration of the previous deadline day that should have ended Tuesday, June 25th 2019. This was because of the intervention made by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance to foot the bills for the missing and damaged voting cards.
According to the release, NEC said those affected now need to turn out at either of three NEC offices in Brewersville, Bensonsville or at the NEC headquarters in Sinkor from 9am to 5pm on Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 and 27, 2019.
“NEC encourages voters to turnout as there will be no further extension after June 27, 2019.”
Legislative Staff Endorse Darius Dillon
In other news, staffers of the Legislature have pledged support to the candidacy of Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon, who is running for the vacant seat in the Senate.
In the staffer’s endorsement statement, they said their support is because Dillon, a former staff of the legislature, did not sell his independence or integrity to support his job. And in their mind, his election as a senator, could join up to other “independent senators” bring the necessary change in the legislature.
They promised in their petition to use their meager resources to campaign for his election and encourage others to do the same. In response, Dillon promised that as a senator, he would work with other senators to ensure that the welfare of staffers is a priority.