2 July 2013

Liberia: 'Possible Boycott' - CDC Threatens If Electoral Laws Not Amended Before Midterm Election

Liberia's main opposition political party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has once again threatened the nation's democracy if the National Elections Commission fails to address the issue of electoral law reform as was previously mandated by the party before the run-off of the 2011 general and presidential elections.

Speaking at a press conference that was held at the party's headquarters on Tuesday, the National Secretary General of the party-Nathaniel McGill says the mid-term election is very crucial, and to have the full participation of the CDC, the NEC must address the issues of access ballots and to have a new voters registration among others.

According to McGill, they have earlier stated that the party will not cooperate or work with current NEC chairman Jerome Kokoya, but for the betterment of the state, the party has decided to give him the opportunity to prove himself to the world: "We are willing to move the country forward and willing to give Kokoya the chance to prove himself to the world that he is not an impartial person. And that he will do the job to the best of his ability; he will not get involved in any kind of conspiracy to cheat-for most former chairman of the commission are always involved in some kind of conspiracy."

Naming the Prince Johnson scenario in which the Senator alleged that he and Former NEC Chairman James Fromayan conspired to cheat the people in Nimba, as an instance which give the CDC sufficient evidence that the 2011 election was not free and fair.

McGill said since the 2014 midterm election is very close, the NEC should try to change the law of access ballots and there should be new voter registrations because currently, the voter row has been tempered with: "We believe that the legislature should now think of amending those laws; and also the way election results are announced, the party believes that the NEC should announce results per constituency basis-not do it arbitrarily."

The CDC fears that up to present NEC has not established election rules for the party to be aware of and that NEC should do so within the remaining six months so that every party can be clear, or else the party will not go into anything it is not aware of.

"We raised this issue in 2011, it was not done, so again we are raising (it); we will not proceed into an election when these mistakes are not corrected. Let the law be changed now so that we can proceed as quickly as possible. We need to know six months ahead of time, we are not going to go into elections that we know not what the rules are," McGill said

He added that "If they (the NEC) refused to amend, we will continue with our advocacy; if the rules do not change it will be dangerous, it will not be good for our democracy."

Among other issues McGill mentioned was that people appointed by the President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf should not use their position to achieve their political interests, citing the Liberia Anti Corruption commission, the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) as examples.

According to him, the LACC boss lacks the technical know-how to fight corruption and has turned the Anti corruption commission into an activist institution; instead of focusing on corruption matters, it has loses credibility and cannot prove its cases.

"Before you come out with allegations against people it should have sufficient proof; but if you cannot, then you become a toothless bulldog," he said.

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