Liberia: Citizens in Bomi County Are Setting the Pace, Now Residents in Other Counties Need to Follow Their Lead

editorial

RESIDENTS IN BOMI COUNTY sent a clear message to politicians and their pocketbooks importing voters into their space Wednesday, a phenomenon sweeping across Liberia whenever elections season comes around.

THE TERM "Commercial Voters" is rapidly redefining elections cheat at a rate faster than the speed of light.

IN BOMI, the northwestern portion of Liberia, covering 746 square miles and one of 15 counties, bordering on the northwest by Grand Gedeh, northeast by Gbarpolu and Bong Counties and on the southeast by Montserrado, has a population of of 84,119, making it the nation's eleventh most populous county.

SADLY, OVER THE PAST few days, since the National Elections Commission(NEC) launched its Voter Registration process, more and more counties have been seeing countless number of people trucking into their towns, villages and counties to register to vote.

IN BOMI COUNTY, a man claiming to be 18 years of age, allegedly registered three times using different first names but the same surname and was issued three voter ID cards. On one hand, he registered as Cooper Alex then he also registered again as Cooper Edward and again as Cooper Mambu. Interestingly, all his cards were issued at the same registration center marked 03016.

IN MARGIBI, Police have in their custody 27-year-old Abednego Garlawolo for alleged double voter registration. He was in possession of two voter ID cards - one bearing the name Garlawolo Abednego, V., 21, male. This issued at registration center 24127. The other bears the name Garlawolo V. Abednego, 27, female and was issued at 24122. But he blames the variances on the National Elections Commission (NEC) staff carrying out the exercise.

EVEN AMID WHAT are obvious signs of violations, the National Elections Commission through its Communications Director, Henry Flomo insists: "No one has brought any complaint to the Commission. There is a procedure and the forms are there. If anyone detect any fraud during the process, they have the right to file a complaint with the Commission and the Commission will look into it. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no complaint before the NEC. Those wishing to challenge the process have from now p to the exhibition to do so."

WHAT IS UNFOLDING in these registration process does not bode well for Liberia's post-war democratic sojourn.

ALREADY, SEVERAL candidates are raising red flags and calling for the process to be nullified.

MONTSERRADO COUNTY SENATORIAL aspirant, Mr. Bernard Benson, popularly known as DJ Blue described the process as fraudulent and has threatened to file an injunction on the entire voter roll update process. Venting his fury, DJ Bue, a second-time contestant for Montserrado senatorial seat wrote on Facebook, "I'm filing an INJUNCTION on this FRAUDULENT process... Wha happen Naa. I can only Imagine the FRAUD here in Montserrado."

THE INCUMBENT, SENATOR Abraham Darius Dillon told journalists on Monday that he stands with DJ Blue in filing an injunction on the process. He described the process which began on Friday as fraudulent and nothing good would come out of it. "I'm calling on the Elections Commission to put an immediate halt to the ongoing voter roll update process. From what we are seeing, evidence in our possession, on social media, all in the public, in the media already, it is sufficient reason for the Elections to immediately halt the ongoing voter update process because it is a flawed start, it is fraudulent and no credible outcome can come out of what is already being done," Sen. Dillon said.

THE DECISION by residents in Bomi County to reject the practice of importing voters to their county is something residents in other counties should emulate.

IT IS UNFAIR to have strangers elected in counties they have no business being in and given the power to make decisions for people they have no connection to.

NEC ITSELF is not helping the situation. Insisting that it can do nothing because no one has filed a complaint when the writings are clearly written all over the wall.

ITS OWN MAGISTRATE, Mr. Luther Dean, assigned in Bomi has confirmed reports of ongoing voter trucking in the county but says the NEC has not been able to establish those behind the trucking of voters. "There is serious trucking in Bomi County but we haven't been able to establish who is doing it. People are bringing truck filled with people."

MR. DEAN SAID the "trucking of commercial voters" is now becoming a recurring phenomenon in the political dispensation of Liberia due to the failure of the NEC to take concrete actions, or give a definite position on the issue of "voters' trucking"

WE APPLAUD the residents of Bomi County for the stance taken and encourage residents in other counties across the country to do the same. It is only when residents in these counties make their voices heard and resist strangers invading their political space, can Liberia progress and mature as a serious modern democracy.

TOO MANY CROOKS are finding innovative ways to enter the leadership of the national legislature. This is why many counties are lacking serious representation. Strangers are beating the system, using money and political muscle to make their way in the lower and upper Houses. Once there, it becomes all about themselves and not those who really matter - the once languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder, whose space is being repeatedly invaded by strangers with very little knowledge about their needs and wants and how their lives can be changed for the better.

Top Headlines: Liberia

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