Defeated Opposition Liberty Party (LP) presidential candidate Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine says he has come closer to death since he filed his complaint of alleged electoral fraud and irregularities case before the National Elections Commission (NEC) in challenge to the outcome of the 10 October presidential and representatives’ elections.
“I’m 66 years old now, I was here during the 1979 rice riot, 1980 coup d’etat, the 1985 coup, the 1989 and the rest of [the] wars, I have never come closer to death as in recent weeks since I filed the electoral fraud complaint,” Cllr. Brumskine claimed during a hearing before the NEC’s Board of Commissioners Thursday, 23 November.
The LP political leader and the ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai are behind an election fraud and irregularities case at the NEC that has stalled the conduct of a runoff due between the ruling party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Sen. George Manneh Weah.
In raising his alleged death alarm, Cllr. Brusmskine did not give details over what he meant and who wants to kill him. But he insists that the future of the state rests on the shoulders of the commissioners and that history will judge them on the decision they take as it relates to his complaint.
Both UP and LP have demanded that NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya recuses himself from the hearing on grounds that he has prejudged the case before presiding.
But following hours of arguments by both the NEC’s legal teams and the two political parties’ legal teams, Commissioner Boakai Dukuly ruled that there is no need for the chairman to step aside. On Monday, 20 November, the NEC Hearing Officer ruled that the pieces of evidence and witnesses produced by both parties in their joint claim of fraud and irregularities are not sufficient to seek a rerun of the October 10 presidential election.
The parties are challenging the results of the 10 October poll, citing widespread fraud and irregularities. The LP in particular is calling for a re-run of the entire poll. Its leader, Cllr. Charles Brumskine came 3rd in the polls with 9.6 percent of the total votes cast, while the UP secured 28.8 percent, and the CDC secured 38.4 percent.
As a result of the case at NEC, the Supreme Court has placed a prohibition to the conduct of the runoff, pending full investigation. Following the NEC’s ruling on Thursday that denies the recusal of Chairman Korkoya, the stage was set for the actual complaint to be heard. Following 120 minutes of argument by the defense and complainants’ counsels, the board of commissioners said they would make ruling into the case today, Friday, 24 November at 13:00 GMT.
Meanwhile, the 30 – day period allotted in the Liberian Constitution to conclude every electoral case comes to an end midnight. That means the Commission has today to work its ruling and file its submission to the Supreme Court.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley