2 November 2017

Liberia: 'We Have Evidence' - Cllr. Brumskine Vows to Prove Election Fraud Case in High Court

Photo: FrontPageAfrica
Supporters of presidential candidate Charles Walker Brumskine gather outside Paynesville Town Hall for the first in a series of presidential debates organized by the Deepening Democracy Coalition (file photo).

Monrovia — Less than 24 hours before his appearance before the Supreme Court, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, the leader of the opposition Liberty Party in Liberia is insisting that the first round of the presidential elections was marred by massive rigging.

"George Weah received 1,109 votes at a polling place that should not have had more than 500 registered voters"

Speaking to the BBC Focus on Africa today, the LP leader his party has now realized that the rigging of the elections took place long before Election Day.

Said Cllr. Brumskine: "Going back to the printing of ballots. We now realize that a company was awarded the contract to print ballots against the decision of the commission that is responsible for approving public contracts and the ballots that were printed by this company carried no serial number at all, negating any possibility of accountability, creating a space for massive fraud."

Cllr. Brumskine finished third place after the first round of voting behind Senator George Manneh Weah who obtained a total of 596, 037 votes, constituting 38.4 percent and Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakia who obtained a total of 446, 716 votes, amounting to 28.8 percent.

According to the final results by the NEC, Brumskine was followed in the fourth place by Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, MDR who got a total of 127, 666 votes, constituting 8.2 percent and Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress, ANC obtained a total of 112, 067 votes amounting to 7.2 percent of the total votes cast on October 10, 2017.

On Wednesday, the Justice presiding in Chambers of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, Justice Kabineh M. Ja'neh, commanded the Marshall of this Court to notify NEC and Members of the Board of Commissioners and Cllr. Brumskine, his vice presidential candidate, Harrison S. Karnwea, to appear before the full bench of the Honorable Supreme Court on Friday at 2 pm.

The Chambers Justice has also instructed the Respondents, NEC and its Board of Commissioners to stay any and all actions in respect of the pending Run-OFF elections scheduled for November 7, 2017, pending the disposition by the Supreme Court of the Petitioners' Petition.

"Giving the constitutional issues raised in the petition, coupled with the fact that elections matters are to be expeditiously heard and determined, upon service of the Writ and Filing of Returns to the Writ, the case shall immediately be transferred and docketed on the Supreme Court's docket for the urgent disposition by the full bench," the court ruled.

Attorney Darryl Ambrose Nmah, Director, Judicial Public Information in a statement Thursday said it is important to note that the Alternative Writ issued to stay any and all actions in respect of the pending runoff Elections is not a final stay order by the Supreme Court but rather is only in place until the full bench can hear and dispose of the matter from which a final decision will be made by the bench.

"It is also important to note that this Alternative Writ is also not an Annulment of the Presidential and Representatives Elections held on October 10, 2017, as no such election matter has come before the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia for determination," Attorney Nmah said.

Cllr. Brumskine, during his appearance on the BBC today said he and his party have evidence showing massive irregularities.

"We have evidence that the cover top of ballot boxes that were removed after polling had been closed and ballots had been counted, boxes had been sealed and the covers of the cover of the boxes were removed in order for presiding officers to open the box and put in ballots that they wanted to put in."

"We have some of those covers in our possession, we have submitted into evidence, photos of those covers to the elections commission. We discovered hundreds of ballots in Grand Gedeh County that had been taken out of the ballot box and thrown away."

The LP standard bearer also noted that poll officers in Nimba were arrested because they had pre-marked ballots that they were using the stuff the ballot boxes with.

"George Weah received 1,109 votes at a polling place that should not have had more than 500 registered voters."

Asked whether his claims of irregularities were not due to sour grapes after his disappointing third-place finish, Cllr. Brumskine averred that whoever would say that does not understand the legal system and how it works.

More importantly he added, they certainly will not be aware of the fact that he lost lost twice, 2005 and 2011, but not once did he complain about the process or about the results.

"I am in this complaining and trying to negate the rights not just of Charles Walker Brumskine but of the people of Liberia. The future of our country is at stake. This is a crossroads."

Looking ahead to Friday's hearing Cllr. Brumskine says his fate is now in the hands of the high court.

"The Supreme Court after hearing our argument on tomorrow (Friday) will decide whether or not we have made a sufficient case based on the principle of due process of law to have the elections start the second round and give us a chance to present our case before the commission and the supreme court or the Supreme Court might decide (a) I don't have a case and will therefore order the commission to proceed with the second round."

The LP leader says he has committed to the leaders of the African Union, President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Faure Gnassingbe, Chair of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) that he will abide by the outcome of the high court ruling.

"I committed to the chairman of the African Union and the Chairman of ECOWAS unlike 1985 in Liberia when President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf then ran to be Senator of Montserrado County when her party lost the elections and she and others fell that they were cheated, they brought a war on our country that cost the loss of lives.

"Our country was completely destroyed. I committed, this time around under my leadership, not a single Liberian will be killed, a single drop of blood of any Liberian will be shed."

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