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Time to Replace NEC’s Ban of Commissioners

The National Elections Commission (Liberia), NEC for short, is the official embodiment responsible to superintendence all local and national elections in the Republic of Liberia. The commission developed its official characterization in mid-1986 following an Accra Peace Accord. NEC also drew its strength from the nation’s constitution, which serves as its ultimate “living Bible.”

But NEC political enterprise in recent past, since it presided over the first, second, and third elections that brought former president Sirleaf to prominence and subsequently President Weah, as well, NEC had been marked with election frauds, manipulation, vote rigging, illegal interference with the process of that past and present ensued elections catastrophic.

A case in point was widely confirmed that the current president Weah was denied the first and second elections in 2006/2018 that brought the then President Sirleaf to power, which was due primarily to NEC’s clever maneuvering political manipulation strategies that almost put Liberia at a brink of another civil war because of NEC political aggrandizement and dubious undertakings.

For instance, in the just ended 2017, general and presidential elections, the Supreme Court of Liberia had to launch a fraud investigation that was championed by Cllr. Charles Brumskine, of Liberty Party because of NEC’s ban of commissioners’ manipulating strategies based on the instructions of the then outgoing president Sirleaf. Another case in focus happened on October 10, 2017, where some political parties complained that the polls were fraught with fraud and irregularities. In defense, as usual, the NEC’s chairman remarked: “there were “inconsequential misbehavior” from some NEC’s staff that does not amount to fraud or rigging.” Chairman Korkoya and his ban of commissioners almost created a civil war in Liberia from his unconstitutional remarks.

Korkoya: “You know that the elections were not rigged. People may have allegations about irregularities, other misbehavior from some of our staff. We don’t deny that. Those are things that go with elections everywhere around the world.” No! Chairman Korkoya, you are dead wrong, these are not a normal situation for generalization. It was simply a moral corruption on the part of NEC chairman. Aside from this, the entire NEC ban of commissioners (Chairman: Jerome G. Korkoya, Co-Chairman: Sarah J. Toe Commissioners: Jonathan K. Weedor, Samuel Z. Joe, Jeanette A. Ebba-Davidson and Davidetta Browne Lansanah) are behaving like members of the Supreme Court’s Justices who are appointed for life. NEC’s’ ban of commissioners is not lifetime appointees, where they portrayed themselves to be untouchable and unapproachable forgetting to know that: “absolute power, corrupts absolutely.” Furthermore, NEC has become more of a liability to the government of Liberia than an asset.

NEC is not above the laws of Liberia in the sense of transparency, accountability, and audit. They have been direct benefactors of huge international and governmental donations without any form of accountability or audit. For example, The Japanese government once gave NEC $1.14m simply for election security. Such fund was not accounted for in a transparent manner. In 2009, a $17.5 million contract was offered to the NEC by USAID, NEC wasn’t audited. In 2009, NEC received $17.5m for pool work from Jean-Matthew Nation, Tamba NEC wasn’t audited.

The U.S. Government gave $17.5 for NEC work but as usual, it wasn’t accounted for. The Liberian government has also been making huge funds available to NEC, a recent donation of $1.5 million for a by-election, NEC hasn’t been audited for a said amount as yet. NEC has no transparent and accountable system, neither does it yield to auditing pattern and practice.

To show how NEC is exploitative and highly unpatriotic to the people of Liberia they presented a budget of US$3.9 million dollars to the Minister of Finance (Samuel Tweah) for the purpose of conducting a senatorial bye-election, when Minister Tweah sliced the budget from $3.9 to $1.5 the NEC’s Chairman Korkoya and his ban of money eating commissioners got furious and aggravated over the cuts. NEC has become nothing but a money eating dinosaur rather than an entity that should serve the people of Liberia with economic honesty.

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Liberia is a very poor country, yet others like NEC see their place in Liberian society as a means to exploit government and take away huge cash fortune at the expense of a very poor nation like Liberia in the name of democracy. It was based on similar super corrupt tendencies that the late Doe destroyed the corrupt Americo-Liberian dynasty in the late 80s. NEC’s ban of commissioners has outlived their usefulness and it is about time for them to take their exit and be replaced by another set of commissioners. It will be prudent if the entire NEC’s ban-of commissioners are audited thoroughly to pay back huge money used during their tenure.

This ban of NEC commissioners is notoriously known for elections regularities, elections manipulations, fraud, and cheating. if President wants to survive the next election, he has to hold his nose and audit and replaced every member of the NEC’s commissioners, by starting fresh with a new ban of NEC’s commissioners. They should not only be allowed to go, they should be audited rigorously so that they can pay back some of the money they used to conduct a lot of unwarranted activities, program, and project. If they are found liable, those with many houses should be confiscated, bank account seized and all their properties devalued and they are sent to a long-term at Belleyallah if found guilty in courts of law.

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