Barely one month and three weeks to the October presidential and legislative elections, the chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC, Cllr. Jerome Kokorya, is expressing fear for his life and members of the commission, alarming alleged threat from Senator Sando Johnson of Bomi County.
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, 16 August at the NEC headquarters in Monrovia, Chairman Kokorya claims Senator Johnson threatens to deal with him and the NEC board of commissioners.
The NEC boss explains that the threat comes in the wake of recent ruling made by the board of commissioners in the domicile case involving Montserrado County Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe on one hand, and Cllr. Gayah Karmo and Senator Sando Johnson on the other.
The commission ruled in favor of Representative Snowe, but the ruling did not go down well with Senator Johnson, who has taken an appeal to the Supreme Court amid the latest report of alleged threat to deal with the NEC boss and his board of commissioners.
On August 9, the Board of Commissioners denied an appeal from Rep. Samuel Gayah Karmo of the ruling Unity Party, and Senator Sando Johnson of the National Patriotic Party against Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe of Montserrado County Electoral District #6.
Rep. Snowe is making an unprecedented bid to leave his current district of representation in Montserrado County to vie in Bomi County Electoral district# 1 currently occupied by Rep. Karmo.
Following the NEC recent ruling, lawyers representing Rep. Karmo and Senator Johnson took exception to the decision and immediately pledged to mount an appeal to the Supreme Court, which is currently embroiled in a major impeachment push against three of its justices.
Detailing the alleged threats to members of the press, Chairman Korkoya further explains that on last Monday, he received a called from Sen. Johnson with a threat that he (Johnson) will deal him and the board of commissioners for the ruling brought against him.
Senator Johnson is former member of jailed ex-Liberian president Charles Ghankay Taylor. He is also former chief spokesperson for the Taylor family in Liberia. Korkoya added that Johnson, who is a member of the Liberian Senate, started his threats with insults and has been doing that on a daily basis.
He says not being satisfied with the threat through voice call, the senator allegedly reduced the insults and threats into SMS (text) which is in the possession of the NEC commissioners.
Korkoya notes that Senator Johnson threatened in his text message to deal with the NEC commissioners legally and politically. He says this could mean political assassination or other cruel attacks against his life.
He promises to file a formal complaint to the plenary of the Liberian Senate and other key stakeholders to ask the senator to provide further explanation on his threat.When this paper contacted Senator Johnson via mobile phone, he confirms threatening to deal with the commissioners but legally and politically. He however, denies raining insults on the NEC commissioners and Chairman Korkoya.
Tension continues to mount here ahead of the October elections. Group of lawmakers in the Liberian Legislature recently threatened to impeach three Justices of the Supreme Court for an opinion rendered in the controversial Code of Conduct for public officials, when the Constitution of Liberia protects members of the Judiciary from prosecution for opinions expressed in the line of duty.
The row between the first branch of government and the Judiciary has claimed the attention of the Executive and the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General to Liberia, with both institutions trying to intervene to resolve the standoff amicably.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne