Liberia: Who Sent NEC Staffer to Guinea for Elections Monitoring?

- For traveling on a ticket not bearing his name, Elections Commission distances itself from dubious arrangement

The Daily Observer has reliably gathered that staff working at the National Elections Commission (NEC) recently traveled through dubious means to Guinea to monitor the just ended Presidential and Parliamentarian elections.

It can be recalled that the people of Guinea recently went to the polls and elected President Alpha Conde for a third term, even though the election was marred by violence and deaths of a number of supporters of Cellou Diallo, Conde's main political rival for many years now.

Details in possession of the Daily Observer explain that Sekou Sackor, who works in the office of Commissioner Boakai Dukuly, used a plane ticket intended for Mohammed Kanneh, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to travel to Guinea.

"No airline will allow a passenger to fly internationally when the name on their passport and the name on the ticket are not the same," a travel agent who asked not to be named told the Daily Observer. Because of this, airlines are severely penalized for allowing such poor due diligence. "That the passenger was able to leave Liberia by air using a ticket bearing someone else's name suggests that bigger hands were there to make sure he passed through," the source said.

According to information gathered, Sackor was arrested in Togo when the Togolese immigration realized that the name in his passport and the one on the plane ticket he was using were completely different from each other. However, after a few calls and some political maneuvering, mainly from Monrovia, Sackor was allowed to continue his journey to Conakry, Guinea, as a member of the ECOWAS delegation from Liberia.

Sackor, the Daily Observer has been reliably informed, stayed at a hotel in Conakry but without money to pay his hotel bills due to the fact that he was an uninvited guest who was never recognized by the ECOWAS elections observer delegation to Guinea.

After being thrown out of his room, another member of the ECOWAS observer delegation who knew Sackor allowed Sackor to stay in [the delegate's] room in Conakry. The ECOWAS observer delegate later assisted Sackor with money to return to Liberia by road.

Sekou Sackor, according to sources, has traveled to Guinea for previous elections in that sisterly West African country but was not picked for the most recent elections.

How Sackor got the plane ticket bearing the name Mohammed Kanneh of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to be known, but a source informed the Daily Observer that Commissioner Boakai Dukuly, chairman for the steering committee on the upcoming December 8 Special Senatorial Election, influenced the process.

When contacted, Commissioner Dukuly, through a text message distanced himself from Sekou's dubious travel to Guinea.

"I or my office neither sent my Administrative Assistant, Sekou Sackor, nor anyone to observe the election in Guinea," Dukuly's text message said.

In response, the Executive Director of NEC, Mr. Anthony Sengbeh said the Commission is embarrassed by the information that a staff of the Commission traveled to Guinea under such criminal means, but it is no way a part of the act.

"I selected Mr. Emmanuel Hare to represent the Commission in Guinea because he fluently speaks French, the official language of Guinea. We selected no other person and, as such, we cannot account for that person who found his way to Guinea to represent us. We distance ourselves from it," Sengbeh said via a mobile phone call yesterday.

Emmanuel Hare, the Daily Observer is impeccably informed, is a half brother to Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC). He is her administrative assistant.

Sengbe, however, said that Emmanuel was selected not because he is related to the chairperson of the Commission or works directly with her but because of his maturity and fluency in speaking the French language.

"When my team of co-workers and I suggested Emmanuel, the chairperson had a problem with it. She didn't want him to go but many other persons within the senior staff ranks vouched for him and expressed confidence that he could ably represent the image of the Commission in Guinea," the NEC executive director said.

When asked as to what will the Commission do to Sekou Sackor, Sengbeh said the decision is in the purview of the Board of Commissioners (BoC) and he is confident that they will probe into Sackor's controversial departure for Guinea.

Efforts to reach out to Mohammed Kanneh, the man whose name was surreptitiously used and some officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a response proved futile.

With terrorism all around the world, including the sub-region, many pundits said Sekou Sackor should have been arrested and put in custody or processed and forwarded to court.

"It speaks nothing good about Liberia. That is extremely embarrassing and we hope the NEC will see reason and impress on Commissioner Dukuly to relieve Sackor of his post as an administrative assistant," an insider at the NEC told the Daily Observer.

Another NEC source said: "With the way there was violence and people getting wounded, what if Sekou could have died in Guinea in the process? Obviously, the news would have been that [he was there] as an official of the Liberian National Elections Commission, even though he went there on his own and through criminal means."

The Daily Observer, with all efforts, including attempts to get his phone number for a conversation on his involvement with the use of a ticket not bearing his name, did not get through to Sekou Sackor.


David S. Menjor

David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.


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