Pre-packed kits for the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election arrived here late Sunday, November 01, at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County onboard a charted flight, barely a month to the poll.
They include: actual materials, training materials, and stationary polling items, among others, brought in the country by a local vendor, Unique Enterprise group of companies.
The NEC executive director Anthony Sengbe, received the materials on behalf of the Commission Sunday.
Total cost of the materials is placed at US$1.6 million inclusive of the chartered flight. Value of the actual materials is over US$605,000 while the stationary polling items are placed at US$700,000. The Chief Executive Officer of the Unique Enterprise, Mr. Daniel Kolubah said, the materials were produced into the country from Chain, transported on specially arraigned chartered flight due to their sensitivity.
This is contrary to recent statement by the Public Procurement and Concession Commission that the local vendor was unqualified to supply the electoral materials ahead of the December 08 election.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Liberia denied a writ of mandamus filed by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) seeking to prevent the National Elections Commission (NEC) from jointly holding two by-elections along with the Special Senatorial Elections, and National Referendum, all on December 8, 2020.
According to the Supreme Court, the NEC is not in error to have set December 8, 2020, for the holding of District#9 Montserrado and District#2 Sinoe counties by-elections; rather, the High Court says the Liberian Legislature should be blamed for such, on grounds that it did not notify the Commission of the vacancy in time.
A total of 118 aspirants are in the race, including 20 females, 98 males, 44 Independent, 74 political parties and alliance, and 17 members of the House of Representatives, respectively.
This is the first in contemporary Liberian political history for a special senatorial election to produce the highest sitting lawmakers from the House of Representatives to have developed interest in vying for the Liberian Senate.
Of the total number of aspirants, Lofa County tops the list with 11, followed by Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount counties featuring the second highest number of 10 each, closely chased by River Cess, Margibi, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and Gbarpolu Counties with each featuring nine aspirants in the much publicized pending poll.
Meanwhile, the new European Union Head of Delegation to Liberia has ended a one-day fact-finding visit to the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Monrovia.
Ambassador Laurent DELAHOUSSE was accompanied to the Elections Commission by the Deputy EU Head of Delegation Juan Antonio Frutos Goldarat.
The delegation was received Friday, 30 October by the Chairperson of the NEC Davidetta Browne Lansanah.
Ambassador DELAHOUSSE and delegation said the EU is concerned about the level of preparedness by authorities of the National Elections Commission to conduct the Special Senatorial Election, Constitutional Referendum and two by-elections.
The new EU Ambassador also expressed concerns about the level of funding from the Government of Liberia and partners to the Commission to conduct the polls as well as challenges facing the NEC.
Responding, Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah said the Government of Liberia has committed itself to providing funds needed for the exercises.
She said with the level of commitment from government, the Commission is confident it will conduct free, fair and transparent elections come 8 December 2020. The NEC Boss informed the new EU Ambassador that all preparations for the polls are so far progressing, according to plans.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne