22 March 2013

Liberia: CDC Vex - Over Ellen's NEC Choices

Photo: Helen Andreasson/UNDP
Voters line up at a polling station in Monrovia.

Storm is slowly but surely taking a steady rage over President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's choices for the position of commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC), which by extension is a restructuring of the entire commission.

Apart from several Liberians who have already expressed opposition to the president's new preferment of the composition of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC, the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is whooping with anger, expressing utter disappointment, saying that the appointments are not, in anyway, in line with the UP-led government's swore pledge to make the government inclusive, brining on board characters who are not from the ranks and files of UP. CDC's Chairman George Solo said the CDC will not sleep nor slumber on the issue of the domination of UP characters of the governance structure, especially when it comes to the names put forth for the NEC post.

CDC chair argued that some of the names put forth by the president as Commissioners of the NEC contested the 2011 general and presidential elections on the ticket of the Unity Party, claiming also that the appointees are also relatives of President Sirleaf.

His contesting the president's new NEC choices also led him to saying that the country's political room was clouded and filled with what he calls "unfair practices".

At a press briefing at the party's Congo Town headquarters, Chairman Solo disclosed that the party has already spoken to its Caucus and lawyers on the issue, stressing also that the CDC will enter into a legal, legislative and political battles with the ruling UP.

The CDC is noted for staging demonstrations as expression of rejection of actions taken by the government which it in its view are counter-productive to the norms of democracy and the laws of the land.

As it is, the party is likely to trek the course of staging demonstration, if Chairman Solo's assortment suffices, to make known it intrinsic disapproval of the president's appointees to the NEC Board of Commissioners.

According to him, the CDC will stage demonstration and will do whatever it has to do because "the entire membership of the CDC has life in the room of patience and said patience has been overlooked by Madam Sirleaf and her government."

More besides, he said the CDC will go further in expressing its opposition to the appointments at the NEC by not participating in the pending Bye-elections in Grand Bassa County made possible by the death of Senator John Whitfield early this year.

"Since Madam Sirleaf is a joker, the CDC and its members will not relent on fairness, accountability and justice in the county," Mr. Solo said.

The CDC has been the leading uneasy party when it comes to the composition of the NEC since the 2005 presidential elections it lost to the UP.

The party claimed, in spite of international approval of the fairness and freeness of the elections, the processed was marred with flaws and called for the dissolution of the commission then headed James Fromoyan.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted, for confirmation consideration by the Liberian Senate, persons nominated to serve on the National Elections Commission (NEC) and a new Superintendent-designate for Montserrado County.

It may be recalled that President Sirleaf to the NEC Wednesday reconstituted the Board of Commissioners of NEC, appointing Cllr. Jerome Kokoya, as Chair and Cllr. Sarah Toe as Co-Chair.

Cllr. Elizabeth Nelson, former Acting Chair of the NEC was dropped to the position of member as well as her deputy Mr. Jonathan Weedor.

Mr. Ansumana Kromah was maintained as member of the Board of Commissioner while two new faces are brought on board. They include Ms. Henrietta Madia Peters and Mr. Samuel Joe.

In a statement announcing the nominations, the President said the outgoing NEC, as constituted, had served Liberia over the past several years with great commitment and dedication, contributing to the conclusion of two successful democratic elections and several by-elections.

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