Liberia: Opposition Senators Warned...

President George M. Weah (file photo).

With information surfacing that some of the nominees of the National Elections Commission have been confirmed, a member of the opposition bloc has told this paper that they will not take "Lightly" their Senators who will go against the decision of their parties not to see most of those nominees confirmed.

The ascension of President George Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led four opposition political parties to establish a collaboration basically aimed at sharing party ideologies and amalgamating political forces to democratically dethrone the Weah Administration in elections to come. This effort brought about the establishment of the four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) whose membership includes the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC), the former ruling Unity Party (UP).

As they await the record of how the Senators voted in the confirmation process, Mo Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Press, Publicity and Outreach of Unity Party, says the party will take seriously any action by the party's Senators to vote people with questionable characters to go to the National Elections Commission.

Mr. Ali did not clearly state how many opposition Senators are in the Senate for the CPP, but in a random count, he noted that Montserrado, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and other counties have Senators who are members of the UP, ANC, LP and ALP, and they expect nothing less than voting against all nominees of President George Weah who have credibility and integrity problems.

Making specific reference to a nominee, Mr. Ali said Floyd Sayor is such a nominee who has integrity problems stemming from the very NEC where he has been presiding over Electoral Data Processing. Sayor, who was nominated as one of the Commissioners, has come under sharp criticisms for his alleged manipulation of data during the 2017 presidential election and the by-election of 2019 in Montserrado County District #15.

Ali said such a person does not deserve being a commissioner, and if opposition lawmakers can see him and confirm him for such a sensitive position that needs people with integrity, it sets the pace for confusion, violence and other lawless activities that are associated with election in Liberia.

"Election Commissioners have to be neutral, and let me say this. You know that in this country we have record of election violence that resulted from vote rigging and people have been indicted for electoral fraud. We don't expect people without neutrality and have poor integrity record to be confirmed by our Senators, and if they do, the parties will not take it lightly," Ali said.

Mr. Ali did not state exactly what action will be taken against opposition Senators who voted to confirm those deemed unfit but in most, if not all instances, lawmakers and members of political parties who go against the decisions and ideologies of the parties are usually expelled or suspended.

It can be recalled that opposition political parties warned their partisans not to vote in favor of the impeachment of former Associate Justice Kabineh J'aneh in 2019, but some opposition Senators including Thomas Grupee of Nimba County voted in favor of the impeachment; something that led the party to suspend his membership indefinitely.

When President Weah nominated Ndubusi Nwabudike and others a few weeks ago as Chairman and Commissioners at the NEC, CPP Chairman and political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey said all the nominees should be rejected by the Senate because they are almost all partisans of the CDC and in such a case they will not credibly conduct elections in the country.

Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has received confirmed reports that President Weah has reportedly withdrawn the nominations Nwabudike. Also withdrawn is Edward Martin, who was nominated to chair the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. Presidential press secretary Isaac Solo Kelgbeh, noted that the President has the prerogative to withdraw nominations before confirmation.

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