-CPP tells NEC Commissioners
The opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) along with the Rainbow Coalition and the Liberia National Union (LINU) have called on the board of commissioners of National Elections Commission to resign unconditionally, accusing it of playing a partisan roll by allegedly working in the interest of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change.
ANC standard bearer and CPP national chairman, Alexander Benedict Cummings said in view of all of the illegality pertaining to the upcoming referendum, the CPP, the Rainbow Coalition; UP and other opposition political parties and civil society organizations request a postponement of the referendum and demand a resignation of the current NEC Board of Commissioners, given their partisan nature, inexperience and ineptitude.
Speaking at a joint press conference Wednesday, December 02, in Monrovia, Mr. Cummings said, “Fellow Liberians, we would like to inform you that even at the point where ECOWAS stepped in to help us clean the Voter Roll, the National Elections Commission still did not find it prudent to involve political parties in the clean-up process or at least observe the exercise; in utter disrespect of our role as prime elections stakeholders and the fact that it is our complaint that gave rise to the ordering of the clean-up exercise by the court.”
Mr. Cummings said, despite a recent Supreme Court’s ruling that the official Gazette, with three condensed propositions, is inconsistent with the Constitution and cannot be used to print ballots and hold the referendum, the NEC again and in collusion with the CDC administration, is forcing and rushing the national referendum.
The NEC has accordingly, printed new ballots for the referendum, separating the various propositions into eight categories, ranging from tenures for the presidency, the senate, the House, the Senate President Pro-tempore, the Speaker, dual citizenship, and date of election, to timeframe for the Commission to hear complaints. This means that voters are expected to carry ten ballots into polling booths in Montserrado District#9 and Sinoe County District#2, respectively.
He said beyond the marginalization of political parties here, the NEC has also in some instances proceeded in violating the electoral laws, citing for instance, Chapter 3.6 of the elections law that requires the Final Voter Roll to be made public through election magistrates across the country.
He noted that unfortunately, all efforts by the technical team of the CPP and other political parties to have copies of the FVR have yielded no results, and that with less than a week to elections, the NEC is yet to do so or post it on its (NEC’s) website, leaving members of the opposition with no time and opportunity to have their technical team do a scrutiny of the Voter Roll.
“Should the government insist on proceeding with the referendum, we urge all of our supporters and well-meaning Liberians to boycott the referendum on December 8, 2020 and only go to the polls to vote Senatorial Candidates and Representative Candidates for the by-elections. We do not rule out possible legal actions if NEC insists on holding the planned illegal referendum. We cannot and will not participate in an unconstitutional process. We reserve the right to peacefully assemble and will be doing so over the coming days to call attention to our legitimate demands.” He said.
He warned the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the National Elections Commission that the CPP and other opposition political parties are aware of alleged plans to rig the senatorial election, and that they [opposition] have put in place all measures to protect their votes and would resist vehemently any attempt to thwart the will of the people.
He added that in less than six (6) days, on December 8, 2020, Liberians will go to the ballot box to elect fifteen (15) new senators, but these Special Senatorial Elections, though required by the Constitution of Liberia, have not been handled in a fair and transparent manner.
The CPP chair pointed out that the processes leading to the conduct of these elections have been manipulated by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the ruling CDC to produce a rigged process.
He reflected the NEC, in May 2020, requested the Liberian government, led by the CDC, to postpone the election outside the constitutional timeframe of October 13, 2020, without any input whatsoever from, nor reference to other political parties that key stakeholders/players in the process, except the ruling CDC.
He continued the unilateral act of collusion between the NEC and the CDC-led administration was followed by a Joint Resolution of the Liberian Legislature to postpone the elections to December 8, 2020.
He further narrated that the NEC unilaterally, again in collusion with the CDC-led administration, launched the Voters Roll Update exercise and decided that the VRU would be carried out through a previously failed mobile process, instead of the time-tested standard stationary process, without any reference to the other parties who are equal competitors in the democratic process.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne