Liberia: Avoid Another Vicious Cycle of Potential Violence and Bloodletting - Call the NEC Chairperson to Order, Mr. President

Since news broke of Joe Biden winning the Presidency of the United States of America, pundits here in Liberia have gone into overdrive, trying to explain developments in the US vis-à-vis ongoing development in Liberia's electoral process.

What is however being ignored, disregarded or lost in the discussions is the centrality and integrity of the Voters' Registry to the conduct of successful, free, fair, unfettered and transparent elections.

Not surprisingly, there have been no disputations over the integrity of the Voters' Registry unlike Liberia where its Voter's Registry is compromised and flawed according to a 2017 Supreme Court ruling.

Unlike the United States of America whose Supreme Court is independent, the same cannot be said of the Supreme Court of Liberia, known for its obeisance to presidential diktat.

In a very unusual case, for example, the Supreme Court of Liberia has adamantly refused to stand by its previous 2017 decision and mandate to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to have the Voters' Roll cleaned-up.

This is indeed very strange because according to legal experts, Justice Sie-Nyene Yuoh's action contradicts the legal principle of "Stare Decisis" which is one hoary with age in Liberian jurisprudence.

According to Legal Dictionary, Stare Decisis is the policy of courts to abide by or adhere to principles established by decisions in earlier cases.

Further according to Legal Dictionary, under "Stare Decisis", once a Court has answered a question the same question in other cases must elicit the same response from the same Court or lower Courts in that jurisdiction.

In the case at bar, Justice Yuoh's blatant refusal, without any legal justification, to refuse to hear the CPP's petition for a Writ of Mandamus seeking to have the NEC clean-up the Voters' Roll (VR) constitutes a travesty of justice according to legal experts (names withheld).

That leaves the opposition with little options legally to address concerns which, if left unaddressed, could succeed in turning this democratic experiment head over heels and unleash a vicious cycle of violence that may prove difficult to contain.

And the implications for regional and sub-regional security and stability are deep and very unsettling. Thus, it is by no means surprising that the opposition is mulling prospects of taking their case to the ECOWAS Court since Liberia's Supreme Court appears incapable of or is finding great difficulty standing behind its own decision.

As things stand, NEC Chairperson Davidetta Lansanah appears hellbent on holding the elections at all costs, even if it means doing so in violation of the law.

For example, expressed reservations by the PPCC against the awarding (illegal) of a procurement contract to the Unique Enterprises that did not participate in the competitive bidding process were cogent but, the NEC Chairperson simply ignored the PPCC and proceeded to violate the law with impunity.

Quite clearly, the NEC Chairperson by her actions is nudging the country into an orbit of cyclical violence of the kind witnessed here during one and a-half decades of brutal civil war.

The time span between now and the December 8 senatorial elections, representative by-elections and national referendum is very short.

It remains doubtful, very highly doubtful that the clean-up of the VR currently being undertaken by a team from ECOWAS will be completed before the scheduled elections.

As this newspaper has warned on several occasions, trouble is brewing and President Weah must see it fit to bring things under control and ensure the creation of a level playing field for the elections in order to defuse a potentially volatile and explosive situation.

His functionaries have, for all intent and purpose, failed him. They have pursued wrong policies all for personal interest, told multiple lies in multiple layers, and have led him down a labyrinth. He must now use all his wits to get out and God help him if he does.

Take for instance the current artificial shortage of Liberian dollars on the market which has occasioned a false appreciation of the Liberian dollar as prices still remain the same or are going higher.

Those Liberians who depend on remittances from abroad for survival find it very difficult obtaining value for their money given the false appreciation of the Liberian dollar. This is sheer wickedness according to some petit traders who say they are losing money due to what they call the "false rate".

And as if to add insult to injury, while local banks are reporting shortage of Liberian dollar banknotes which they say is compelling them to issue mutilated notes to customers. And this not going down well with the consuming public.

Yet at the same time CDC stalwart and contender in the up-coming senatorial elections has been seen on several occasions with wads of newly printed Liberian dollar banknotes paying cash (LD$500) each to potential and prospective voters.

Although they appear not to realize it, officials of the CDC government need to awaken to growing signs of potential unrest and take appropriate steps to mitigate the situation and avoid a rude awakening.

Also. officials of this government, especially President Weah, should know or should be aware that families are grieving and hurting over the sudden and unexplained loss of their loved ones. Up to present and several weeks later no arrests have been made. It is as if it is just another routine matter.

All the above, put together, constitute a potentially explosive mix which should be handled with the greatest care and caution. President Weah is thus urged to distance himself from those advocating the use of unbridled violence as a tool of political control. This is because a sure as the sun rises and sets, it will more likely than not engender an equally violent response that may spiral off into another vicious cycle of violence and bloodletting. President Weah must call NEC Chairperson Davidetta Brown Lansanah to order now before it is too late.

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