Position Statement Issued By Commissioner Weedor
|Jonathan K. Weedor
On 14 Ju.ne 2017 at a Press Conference, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya announced that individuals with Voter Cards who are not captured or listed on the final Registration Roll will be permitted to vote during the pending October 10, 2017 Elections. Chairman Korkoya’s statement was in response to the alarming problems associated with the current provisional Registration Roll as discovered during the ongoing exhibition exercise. It is important to emphasize that the essence of the exhibition exercise is to provide individuals who participated in the Voter Registration exercise the opportunity to vet the provisional Roll aimed at establishing a final Registration Roll that is reliable and credible. There are several problems associated with the current provisional Registration Roll ranging from the omission of hundreds, if not thousands of names to missing photos and profiles of registrants.
In addressing himself to these problems, Chairman Korkoya implied that in the absence of a reliable final Registration Roll, individuals with voter registration cards will be permitted to part- take in the pending Elections. The Chairman's statement is alarming, disturbing, and troubling because a reliable and credible FRR is a cardinal requirement of every free, fair and transparent election. In fact, the essence of every voters registration exercise. is to establish a voters' roll that can account for every eligible voter who participated in the registration exercise. And so, the relevance of a reliable voters roll in every electoral process cannot be overemphasized because the absence of said roll is an open gate to fraud. Hence, any action or pronouncement that has the potential to understate the relevance of a reliable voters roll must be discouraged because said endeavor is a recipe for chaos.
In this regard and as a matter of principle, I wish to disassociate myself from the pronouncement of Chairman Korkoya as it relates to the possibility of huge number of individuals with voter cards being permitted to vote when their names, photos, and other particulars are not on the Final Registration Roll (FRR).
As a Commissioner of the National Elections Commission, I do not remember participating in a regular or emergency Plenary of the Board of Commissioners at which such a major policy Decision was made as announced by Chairman Korkoya at the above mentioned Press Conference.
On my way to office on the morning of 14 June 2017, I called the Election Magistrates in my oversight Counties of Nimba and Bong. They confirmed the unprecedented alarming situation of omission of names from the roll and other associated problems. Upon my arrival at the office, I proceeded to the office of Chairman Korkoya and enquired as to what was the information available to him relating to the exhibition exercise. The Chairman responded that he has received information from around the country relation to the omission of some names from the roll. In the presence of Executive Director Lamin Lighe, the Chairman further indicated that there will be a press conference at 4:30 PM in order to inform the Liberian people of the magnitude of the problems, and to assure them that the Commission was working around the clock to address the problems.
Even though I was not a part of the decision to hold the Press Conference, I decided to attend the press conference because I am convinced that the right thing to do was to inform the Liberian people of the problems and assured them that the Commission was doing everything within its power to correct the situation. While at the
press conference, I was shocked when Chairman Korkoya announced the above mentioned policy decision that left me with no alternative but to clarify my position to the Liberian people.
Since my association with the National Elections Commission dating back to March 2004,I have endeavor to contribute my quota to the consolidation of our young democracy aimed at protecting our hard-won peace. I shall continue to do so. I wish to use this medium to assure my fellow Liberians that my commitment shall remain the maintenance of our country's peace and democracy. This commitment shall remain unshakable during these elections and the days beyond.
|Signed:||Jonathan K. Weedor|