In pursuit of a full cleanup of the 2017 Voters Roll, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has dragged the National Elections Commission (NEC) before the Supreme Court, seeking the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus against the electoral body and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) – led Government.
The CPP led by Chairman Alexander B. Cummings and other party leaders and partisans stormed the grounds of the Temple of Justice, causing a heated standoff over the weekend between the opposition and state securities assigned at the Temple of Justice. Things came later under control.
The move came over the weekend at a time there have been dissents against the Voter Roll Update (VRU) in preparation for the December 2020 Senatorial Election, with some reports suggesting mass voters’ trucking and some potential voters engaging in multiple registrations and obtaining multiple voter cards.
CPP which is comprised of former ruling Unity Party, Alternative National Congress, Liberty Party and All Liberian Party, says a clear and credible Voters Roll is an indispensable prerequisite for the conduct of free, fair and transparent democratic elections.
Instead of cleaning up the voters roll, the CPP alleges that the NEC has with the approval of the government, unilaterally announced and embarked on a mobile voters roll update with focus on Liberian of voting age including those who have attained the age of 18 years and above.
Further, it says the NEC has focused on those who have relocated from previous voting places to another, those who have lost their voting cards and those who didn’t register during the last voter registration in 2017.
It notes that the integrity of the Voters Roll or the FRR used for the 2017 general and presidential elections was challenged by the Unity Party (UP) andLiberty Party (LP).
Following UP and LP’s challenge, the CPP recalls that the Supreme Court acknowledged several irregularities in the voter roll and ordered the NEC to conduct a full cleanup of the roll in consultation with and information to the political parties.
But the CPP insists that with callous disregard of the consequences, the NEC has failed, neglected and refused to clean up the voters roll as ordered by the Supreme Court, mandated by the Liberian Senate, the House of Representatives and recommended by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
According to the CPP, since the exhibition of the provisional voters roll was carried out on the 12th of June 2017, the total valid registered voters viewed in the database was 2,045,483.
From this analysis, CPP says the ECOWAS report concluded that between the time of the exhibition of the FRR and declaring the FRR, a total of 138,146 records were added to the voters roll.
The CPP laments that there is no evidence up to date that these additional 138,146 voters added to the FRR have been removed from the voters roll.
It says the findings of a technical team deployed to Liberia by ECOWAS clearly showed that the 2017 Voters roll was defective and could not form a basis for free, fair and credible elections.
The CPP further claims that the conclusion is compelling and inescapable that 170,000 suspected duplicates were never extracted from the voters roll and remain there up to date, rendering the FRR defective and unfit to lay a basis for elections.
It notes that if 170,000 suspected duplicates were removed from the provisional registration roll, the total number of the voters on the FRR ought to have been 2,012,956 and not 2,183,629 voters as reported by NEC on its final voters roll on 11 September 2017.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley