25 March 2013

Liberia: 'I Don't Know How to Cheat' - New NEC Head Calms Ferry Critics

Photo: AllAfrica
Officers of the UN mission helping to control a riot.

Jerome George Karkoya, the man named to fill the top but hot seat of the National Elections Commission, began taking fire from virulent critics on suspicions bordering partisanship and biasness just as he was named by President Sirleaf. Though President Sirleaf and the Unity Party to whom the new NEC Chair is linked are yet to comment, the appointee, ahead of confirmation, is assuring critics as well as the general public that he's harmless and meek like the lamb, and there is no need for panic. The Analyst reports.

"My single response to the CDC or any group is that they should have no reason to worry about my independence. My independence is unwavering and uncompromising. And people that I have worked for, and people who have worked for me, can attest to that. I just want to take this opportunity to say that it's a good thing for people to talk, and it's a critical right that should be respected by everybody. And, in my life, I have learned to respect the rights of people because that's the whole essence of democracy."

President Sirleaf's new nominee for Chairman of the National Elections Commission said in an exclusive interview with The Analyst over the weekend. Much of the interview was centered on critics' alarms that as a senatorial contestant in Bong County in the 2011 elections on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party, NEC Chairman designate Jerome Korkoya would play a fair umpire of the country's already suspicion-troubled electoral management body.

But Korkoya, a legal luminary, said: "I don't know how to cheat, and I don't know how to take things that don't belong to me, and that's how I work throughout my life, and that's why I am what I am. People who are in the courts will tell you that. So, I don't know how to cheat, and I respect every Liberian, especially the right to strive for political power, which is a fundamental right for everybody."

"Besides, I want them to also know that if I am confirmed by the senate, the commission that I am going to head is not a one man show," he said, adding, "I will be dealing with a board of commissioners. It will not be my personal things. Jerome Korkoya alone will not be able to change things. I wouldn't be checking votes, and I would certainly not take over votes. Therefore, I encourage them to advocate more for the full implementation of those safeguards at the commission. I think that's one of the best ways through which they can ensure that their rights can be preserved."

Full text of the Analyst's Exclusive interview with Cllr.Korkoya will appear in the March 26th edition of The Analyst.

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