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NEC must keep its independence

Recent war of words between the National Elections Commission and some institutions in the Executive clearly indicates that the government is not speaking with one voice on the holding of the impending senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties, respectively.

It appears that some blind loyalists are bent on presenting the NEC, particularly its Chair Cllr. Jerome Korkoya as an adversary of the government that it presided over its election in 2017. Chairman Korkoya is being lambasted from all sides for being man enough to inform the nation that the senatorial by-elections could not be held on 14 May as had been scheduled because of lack of money.

Immediately after that pronouncement by the NEC boss thru a news conference, some loyalists of the Coalition government took the airwave, describing Korkoya as irresponsible and an embarrassment.

In their wisdom and calculation, Chairman Korkoya should have kept silent in spite of failure to meet dateline he had set for the securing of electoral materials and subsequent holding of elections. In short, they want the Liberian people kept in darkness.

As if such attempt to misinform or mislead the public was not sufficient, the government’s official arm responsible for public information dismissed Chairman Korkoya’s pronouncement of lack of money as untrue.

Authorities from the Ministry of Information maintain that money is not the problem. But then why wasn’t the NEC provided the US$2.7 Million reportedly approved by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning that could have enabled the Commission to hold elections within the statutory period of 90 days? Rather, Korkoya announced that the NEC only received US$500,000.

Whose explanation shall the public believe? If money for the by-elections had never been the issue as claimed by the people from MICAT, why are we not holding the elections?

The rigmarole and fiasco perhaps became even more visible when the Executive reportedly invited Chairman Korkoya to attend the weekend’s Cabinet retreat in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. But how could that be? How could the body established by law to operate independently and conduct all electoral matters be invited by the ruling establishment which is a major player in the pending polls, to a meeting outside the capital at the disadvantage of opposition political parties?

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We call on authorities at the NEC not to be deterred by the glaring insults being spewed at the Commission for trying to do the right thing. NEC should keep its independence in conducting credible elections as much as it tries to be flexible amidst the prevailing reality.

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