14 November 2017

Liberia: Election Fraud Was Due to Disorderliness

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Queuing up to Vote in Liberia. Elections 2017

Ruling Unity Party (UP's) second witness Mr. Josiah Joekai says disorderliness by authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) necessitated fraud and irregularities in the 10 October presidential and representatives elections. Mr. Joekai who resigned as NEC's Director for Civic Voters Education to contest a representative seat in October told a hearing at the Commission on Monday, 13 November that his particulars were found on the NEC provisional registration roll, but were missing on the final registration roll.

He testifies as second witness for the ruling UP in the fraud and irregularities case filed by opposition Liberty Party (LP) in challenge to the outcome of the 10 October polls that designates the UP and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for a runoff election stalled by the ongoing case.

"We are all aware of the disorderliness of the Elections Commission of the Voters Registration exercise that caused delay from March 14 to March 17," Mr. Joekai says, adding that the Voters Registration (VR) exercise was characterized by omission.

He claims that there were several registered voters who could not find their particulars on the provisional registration roll. Given the situation at the time, Mr. Joekai says he wrote an article entitled "Do not compromise the Registration Roll," citing many instances about the ability of the Commission to adequately handle the election.

He says he challenged NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoyah when he made a public statement that if any registrant who had a voter's registration card would be allowed to vote on Election Day whether or not their particulars were captured by the final roll. The UP witness says such decision was anti-democratic because the voters roll is one that is used to give the credibility of an election.

He recalls how he went from one room to another in search of his voting area, saying he was told that his name was not on the final roll. Mr. Joekai says the Presiding Officer at the Precinct in which he voted used an SMS system to search for his particulars, describing it as illegal voting.

Mr. Joekai says he is "a Liberian that voted but not with the legal voters roll" because his name was not on the final roll, adding "and I believe there were many Liberians that did the same."

Testifying earlier on the witness stand, UP's Vice Chair for Inter-party Relation for NEC Affairs Atty. Cole Bangulu said there was a huge discrepancy between the Provisional Roll and the Final Voters Registration Roll Exhibition. He said names of individuals were not matching their pictures, something he says created problems for voters who went to search for their names.

Atty. Bangulu testifies further that the final voter registration roll was never published, saying the NEC had refused to publish the final voters roll until September 23.

The UP witness who went to testify with a prepared speech was prevented by lawyers representing the Commission Cllr. Musa F. Dean and Cllr. Alexander Zoe on grounds that it is prohibited for a witness to read from a prepared speech.


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