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Prisoners get voting right

For the first time in the history of Liberia, pre-trial detainees will be allowed to vote inthe October 10 representatives and presidential elections, based on a decision reached by the House of Representatives.


The House has endorsed a bill filed by Bong County Representative George  Mulbah to grant pretrial detainees rights to vote in the upcoming elections. But the House’s decision to allow pre-trial detainees to vote does not include  Liberians who have been indicted or convicted for infamous crimes.

In a communication dated January 12, 2017, the Bong Lawmaker pleaded with  the Plenary of the Lower House to mandate the National Elections Commission or NEC to make allowance available for the opening of registration centers and  subsequent voting of pre-trial detainees held at all prison facilities in Liberia.

Rep. Mulbah had insisted that article 77(b) of the 1986 Liberian Constitution and  Section 5.1 of the new elections law explicitly provide the legal backing for his  argument.

Upon his request, plenary requested the committees on Judiciary and Elections  and Inauguration to conduct a proper legislative investigation to report in two  weeks with findings and recommendations. The Joint Committee’s report necessitated a public hearing on25 January duirng  which the Ministry of Justice, NEC, Carter Center, Liberia National Bar  Association and the Law Reform Commission were invited.

Following the hearing, the Plenary of the Lower House voted with 18 for, one  against and seven abstained. During separate presentations made at the hearing, Bar President Cllr. Moses  Paegar and his team affirmed the validity of Rep. Mulbah’s suggestion that  Pre-trail detainees had rights under the laws to participate in the decision -  making process.  
Citing Chapter 5 Section 5.1, the Bar Association said those who have been  judicially declared to be incompetent or of unsound mind, or who have been  barred from voting as result of conviction and imprisonment for infamous crime  cannot be allowed to vote.

The Bar said such people are disenfranchised as voters once their rights have not  been restored to full citizenship. Having being convinced by presentations from the invited institutions, the  chairman on Judiciary Rep. Worlea Saywah Dunah said only those indicted for  Infamous crimes should be stopped from participating in elections.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Winston W. Parley

Margibians resist trucking

Citizens of Weala, specifically Margibi County electoral district#5 and its environs have vehemently resisted attempt by a group of eligible voters transported to the district in a Monrovia Transit Authority or MTA bus and other vehicles to participate in the ongoing voter registration process on grounds that they do not hail from the district.

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Call for security at VR centers

The absence of police and immigration officers at various voter registration centers across the country has sparked concern among Liberians turning out to register for the 10th October presidential and legislative elections amid reports of aliens trying to infiltrate the process.


The 2017 voter registration is the only process where security forces especially, police and immigration are conspicuously absent. The essence of security presence at registration and polling places is to ensure that only Liberians are allowed to register and not foreigners.

The Constitutional of Liberia states that only a Liberian citizen has the right to participate in national and local elections. Several political pundits interviewed by this paper have expressed disappointment that the National Elections Commission is conducting voter registration process in the absence of national security officers.
The presence of the national security officers is to also ensure that workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and eligible voters don’t get into confusion during the process.
It is also intended to prevent individuals wanting to register at more than one centers.

As the situation stands, it is difficult to know whether all those registering at various NEC registration centers are Liberian citizens especially, in the wake of reports that some contestant are bringing aliens into the country to have them registered in order to participate in the elections, in complete violation of the election laws.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Othello Garblah

The NewDawn Newspaper,

(Published by) The Searchlight Communications Inc.,

Crown Hill, Broad Street

Monrovia, Liberia.

 

Contact numbers: +231886484201/+231777007529.

Email: info@the newdawnliberia.com

 

Editorial Department

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