12 October 2017

Liberia: Liberty Party Alarms Fraud in October 10 Polls - Threatens Lawsuit On National Elections Commission

Photo: Liberian Observer
Based on the progressive tally by the NEC, the above chart shows the distribution of valid votes in the presidential race between CDC (blue), UP (green) and other parties collectively (grey)

Monrovia — The fate of the just ended elections is hanging in the balance; flaws, irregularities and suspected fraud have given reasons for political parties to protest the results.

Report By Lennart Dodoo, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Liberty Party has already announced its readiness to lead the campaign in this regard, disclosing that they are compiling an investigative evidence-back report of their discovery of fraud and irregularities observed during the election.

The party's chairman, Benjamin Sanvee, said they have called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) not to announce any results from the elections until they (LP) have presented their findings to the NEC.

The NEC announced Wednesday that they will release the first preliminary results today at its headquarters.

But the Liberty Party says should NEC go ahead to announce the results, they will take legal action against the NEC.

"There is absolutely no excuse for hindering Liberians from exercising their democratic rights.

"We call on all LP partisans and all Liberians to remain calm and peaceful as we work to resolve these issues," Chairman Sanvee said.

The Liberty Party isn't the only party crying wolf on the electoral process; the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have both expressed similar concerns as the Liberty Party.

The ANC led by Alexander B. Cummings on the election day called on the NEC to address issues surrounding missing and incomplete presidential ballot books in Montserrado County; receiving presidential voting ballots after 3pm, Sinoe County and Grand Gedeh and Voters with valid voter registration cards being turned away because of numerous reasons including name not being on the voters' roll, Montserrado, Bong, Grand Gedeh, Margibi, Sinoe, Grand Bassa Counties.

The CDC National Chairman, Nathaniel McGill, told reporters right after the closure of polls on Tuesday evening that it is the CDC's belief that poll workers were either not properly trained to handle the election or their failure to handle the elections was a deliberate attempt on their part to sabotage the process.

The CDC lamented that several voters who had been waiting in queues from morning are denied their voting rights when it was 6:00 PM.

Several voters across the country complained of being denied their rights to vote despite having valid voter ID cards because their names could not be found in the voters roll.

Voters at the David Faijue School Polling Station in Bong County who were in line since 5:00 am Tuesday were unable to vote because their names are not on the roll - an incident that earlier led to a standoff when angry voters blocked the main roads and burned tires.

In Gbartala, Yellequelleh District in the county, voting came at a standstill after several persons, were denied the chance to exercise their franchise though they had valid voter's ID cards simply because their names and ID numbers could not be found in the voters roll.

Following their denial, the youths set up tires in the middle of the Gbartala-Monrovia Highway, which caused serious traffic snarl.

The angry voters say they want the National Elections Commission (NEC) allow them vote because they have legitimate voter cards.

Alleged Electoral Fraud in Nimba

A presiding officer at Voting Precinct 33246, polling place #1, Josephus Cooper, is alleged to have engaged in ballot paper fraud.

He was caught by poll observer Alphonso Gongbay allegedly putting ballot paper that was marked in favor of the ruling Unity Party District #3 candidate in person of Neker E. Gaye.

The incident happened at Dulay Town near the Liberia-Ivory Coast border. Reports from the county say he has been arrested and is currently in police custody pending further investigation.

ECOWAS Initial Observation

Head of the ECOWAS Observer Mission, former Ghanaian President Dr. John Dramani Mahama initially told reporters on the election day that he observed some irregularities with the process, which the NEC could have averted had they sufficiently trained polling staffs.

He, however, told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday that the counting and tallying process was done in a transparent manner.

"Thus far, given the environment before, during the polls and sorting process, Liberia is on track to achieving a credible poll," he said.

Mahama also commended the security forces for curbing pockets of violence during the polls, he read to journalists in Monrovia as part of the mission's preliminary report.

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