By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberian authorities say over eight electoral workers are in detention for their alleged roles in electoral malpractices in an election marred by political tension across the country.
As preliminary results for presidential and legislative elections are being announced, rhetoric among Liberia’s political leaders and their supporters since Election Day has brought unease among many residents.
Jittering folks often flee marketplaces upon hearing rumors that suggest that “some people” are coming.
National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairperson Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah Wednesday, 18 October 2023 disclosed the arrest, investigation, and dentation of over eight election Presiding Officers and temporary staff.
She said they are held for their alleged involvement in election malpractices.
Madam Brown-Lansanah stated that the individuals are in police custody undergoing investigation and awaiting trial before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Madam Brown-Lansanah explained that the accused are from Grand Cape and lower Montserrado Counties.
She named the accused as Presiding Officers from Grand Cape Mount, suspects Philip A. Zouduya, Electoral District #1 Coordinator, and Patience Mongro, Presiding Officer, Polling Place One, with Code 12035.
She also named Mohammed Kaymot, Presiding Officer, Polling Place Two, Waydo Public School, with Code 12035, and Munah Passaway, Presiding Officer, Polling Place Four.
According to the NEC boss, the accused were incarcerated pending trial.
Regarding the temporary staff involved in the alleged election malpractices in Montserrado County, the NEC boss named Butie S. Monday, with application number 086791 in electoral district #4, and Jamama N. Togby, with application number 089187, electoral district #4.
She also named J. K. Gbassegy, application number 061403, electoral district #8, Tracy, with application number 06265, electoral district #15, and Victor T. Johnson, with application number 102959, electoral district #16.
She noted that they are also in police custody undergoing investigation.
At the same time, the NEC has assured all political parties, candidates, and stakeholders that the alleged electoral malpractices are well-corrected and will not affect the outcome of the elections.
“The NEC also notes that individuals involved in those acts will no longer work for the NEC,” she said.
Additionally, the NEC chairperson disclosed that the rerun for the presidential, senatorial and representative elections at two polling places in precincts in Buo Gauyoto, Nimba electoral district #4, will be held on Friday, 20 October 2023.
“The NEC urges all stakeholders including political parties, alliances, candidates, and agents, of two polling places in the district. We urge that they play their respective roles in these elections. The process will start from 8-6 PM,” she noted.
Regarding the delayed payment of temporary staff, the NEC boss said the delay is based on little adjustment in the payroll process to accommodate new payroll staff entering into the Human Resource System.
According to her, these staff were placed at the last minute to time.
Madam Brown-Lansanah stated that currently, the payroll has been completed so far for Lofa, Upper Bong, Lower Montserrado, Sinoe, and River Gee. She said those completed have sent their payrolls and temporary staff will begin to receive their payment via mobile money immediately.
“At the same time, payroll of the eleven counties [is] expected soon and will be immediately transferred,” she said.