The Chairman and Members
National Elections Commission, R.L.
N/N 9th Street at Tubman Boulevard
Ladies & Gentlemen of the Commission:
It is our honor to present sincere greetings and compliments in continuation of the “healthy dialogue” on the critical issues of our time, affecting our troubled nation.
Deeply concerned and troubled about the prevailing atmosphere of election campaign violence – “Weah Vs. Sirleaf”(FrontpagAfrica, New Democrat & New Dawn, November 27, 2014), the “Siege of Monrovia” (New Dawn, New Democrat & Heritage, December 1, 2014) and the possibility of more violence ahead, we pen this Letter with the hope that it will provoke you to respond with information for the Liberian voters, although you did not treat, in detail, the issues raised in many of our previous letters . . . “.
In our response (of July 31, 2014) to your letter dated June 18, 2014, “ . . . we emphasized that the problem or impact of dual citizenship on our small, poor nation may not be over-emphasized”; that “that impact is critical to the very survival (like the on-going Ebola Epidemic) of the nation with, particular, respect to foreign policy (national security) and economic development; and thatit will beunreasonable, indeed dangerous,to entrust the well-being and life of our Nation and people to an ‘Alien Liberian’ dual citizen, one who has renounced/denounced and mortgaged his/her loyalty, allegiance and patriotism, exclusively, to a foreign power”, during these days of violence – international, political/economic, religious and ethnic/tribal bigotry and hatred.
“Because of these, and several, other reasons”, we noted that “Liberian Law forbids dual citizenship in general and, in particular, forbids dual citizens from becoming members of our National Legislature (Article 30 of the Constitution)”.
By your letter dated June 18, 2014, you declared that “the Commission has, since 2005 . . . included in its guidelines, the requirement for . . . sworn statements/affidavits . . . of citizenship . . . This requirement has been . . . incorporated . . . to govern . . . nominations for the . . . 2014 Special Senatorial Elections”. We responded but you have not answered, “Honorable Chairman & Members of the Commission, that there are, at the present, known dual citizen-members of the Legislature as the direct result of the NEC-supervised, 2005 elections, in flagrant violation of your Guidelines and Article 30. Also, there are others holding sensitive, national positions in government, including (possibly) commissioners of your National Elections Commission . . . The NEC”, we continued, “is obligated, specifically, by law (Article 30 & the Guidelines) to verify sworn statements/affidavits and to enforce/penalize violations. There is no need for new law or laws, and that it is not necessary for the NEC to wait for private complaints to verify “sworn statements/affidavits”.
Now, comes Mr. Robert A. Sirleaf, Independent candidate for the Senate, approved by the NEC. However, Mr. Sirleaf has been accused of US citizenship. According to the Honorable, Mr. Melvin Snowe’s press statement: “Fellow Liberians . . . Mr. Robert A. Sirleaf, son of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Senior Advisor to the President of the Republic of Liberia . . . (is) a taxpaying citizen of the United States of America, with US Passport number 2181983813, issued June 7, 2006 . . .”. Additionally, a group of concerned Liberians submitted a complaint to the NEC, in which they challenged Mr. Robert Sirleaf’s Liberian citizenship, that he, Mr. Sirleaf, is a US citizen with a US passport, presented in evidence . . . But Mr.Robert Sirleaf is now, on the campaign trail with NEC approval.
The NEC Ruling on Allegations of 2005 Elections
These complaints/allegations . . . against several individuals, sought to bar the so-called “high-profiled, big shots”, some of Liberia’s “traditional untouchables”, from standing for office on the allegation that they are guilty of acts of political infidelity by allegedly denouncing and renouncing their Liberian citizenship and taking on foreign citizenships. Many of today’s “Honorable”,awardedthisearned title, fall into this class of “political infidelity” to the Republic.
The National Elections Commission, then headed by Counselor-at-Law, Madam Frances Johnson-Morris-Allison, treated these critical charges and counter-charges of national significance, apparently, . . . “with kid gloves”, by a ruling in favor of, almost, all of the most important and challenged defendants, based, primarily, on emotional arguments of “short-term peace”, seemingly not to “rock the boat” . . . but not on the critical issues of national security and the survival of the state. To this Ruling . . .we responded, datelined Philadelphia/Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, August, 2005, that:
“The rest is now left in the fragile hands of the Liberian Voters, an overwhelming majority of which is poor, hungry, relatively uninformed and lacks the ability to reflect, analyze and interpret the critical issues of this general elections, with particular respect to the requisite qualities desirable for political leadership – the social, economic and political impact of their votes in these crucial elections”.
“The Voters will now be, and are, asked to select/elect leader(s) fromamosaic of Liberian ‘politicians’: some come from the traditional, conservative school of Liberian politics who refuse to‘rock the boat, but stay the course’, whatever that may portend, while oppressive, dishonest and corrupt; others are ‘progressives’ who crossed carpet to become traditional, carpet-baggers, hypocritical to their principles; still some are utopian socialists, with activities a la Karl Marx and authoritarianism; while there are others who are purely democratic, political theorists, but with tyrannical tendencies; and others who are ethnic or tribal patriots, who refuse or reject the inclusion of other ethnic groups, particularly, the so-called Congo- and Americo-Liberians in national, political affairs”.
“The unfolding political circumstances create, will continue to create, a condition of anger, frustration, hopelessness, helplessness and the perception of betrayal, with what Liberians call“mango-mango, dee-dee-bah or cro-cro-gee”. This scenario is highly likely to explode with a devastating impact on the entire, socio-political landscape of our, Liberian society”. That prediction appears to be unfolding today!!
Honorable Commission, may we invite your attention to the much-talked about and reported notion of “consultations” that the NEC had with the Senate, political parties and other “stakeholders”on postponement or holding of the Mid-Term, Senatorial Elections now, during the on-going, Ebola Crisis.The decision – to postpone or to hold the elections now – should, will, is and must be basedonly, and only, on the Liberian Constitution, reason, ethics and morality, upon which law is based and from which Law draws its majesty, and the facts or falsity of the deadly impact of the Ebola Epidemic upon the Nation.
The Senate, political parties and the so-called “stakeholders” have and already declared interest in holding the elections. Therefore, “consultations” of the Senate, political parties and the “stakeholders” . . . is and will be to add formal, lawful support for holding the elections and constitutespatent violation ofthe Liberian Constitution, reason, ethics and morality. Either way, the Commission will be held responsible!!
The Liberian People, your employers, are entitled to a full, public disclosure on this issue of the citizenship of these prominent Liberians. Your credibility is on the line – at stake.
Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
Bai M. Gbala, Sr.