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GeneralLiberia news

Cummings questions NEC’s integrity

– To conduct free and fair elections

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Liberian opposition leader Alexander B. Cummings has questioned the integrity of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct a free, fair, and transparent election this October.

Cummings is the head of the opposition Collaboration Political Parties (CPP) which is made up of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the crisis-struck Liberty Party (LP).

Addressing residents and partisans at the New Kru Town Borough Intellectual Development Forum over the weekend, Mr. Cummings said he is concerned about the credibility and integrity of the NEC to conduct transparent elections.

He is one of several opposition leaders seeking to battle incumbent President George Manneh Weah for the presidency during the presidential and legislative elections this October.

He said he does not trust that the NEC can conduct a free and fair election under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) regime because the ruling party is desperate to stay in power.

Mr. Cummings alleged that the NEC has introduced new technology to the country’s electoral system without practical testing and evaluation before integrating it into the system.

He also alleged that inadequate funding from the government to the NEC is an issue that questions the integrity and credibility of the NEC to conduct free and fair elections. 

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“And so to answer the question about trust in the NEC to conduct free and fair elections, I will say to you that we have some serious concerns about whether [the] elections will be free, fair, and transparent,” said Mr. Cummings.

“We also have [a] very serious concern about the funding of the NEC and the introduction of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process without testing the technology,” Mr. Cummings added.

He noted that for the first time Liberia is using the BVR process with no practice and rehearsal done before implementing it.

“Nowhere in the world you will use new technology without testing it first before using or implementing it,” Cummings said.  

“Also, because of the technical problem faced with the BVR, we saw how the first phase was conducted even to the point where vote-rich areas’ population dropped.”

The CPP standard bearer recommended that if the NEC will conduct free, fair, and transparent elections in October, it must be funded internationally and locally.

He recommended that the NEC must be robust, effective, and efficient in the BVR process and disengage from any act of partisanship.

“I don’t trust that this government will conduct a free, and fair election and so we need to monitor the election,” he said.

Cummings said he has no problem if it is the will of the people to elect President George Manneh Weah and his CDC government for the second term.

But said the opposition needs to make sure that the will of the people is protected and guaranteed when the results are announced, and not someone’s will.

“However, that is our fear that they will be announcing someone else’s will and not the Liberian people’s will. To use BVR in [the] national elections without testing it is bad and so they have to do more,” he concluded.

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