National Elections Commission Taken to Task


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted January 20, 2005

A prominent Liberian anthropologist, Jutee Dupah, has taken the National Elections Commission (NEC) to task for its failure to publish the election laws to educate the Liberian voters; writes Josiah S. Hallie

Speaking in an exclusive interview at the offices of The FORUM newspaper recently, Mr. Dupah said it is unfortunate to see people who are in charge of elections to be unable to have the elections laws published by now for the benefit of Liberian electorates.

According to him, before the Reform Election Bill could be sent to the House or after its passage into law, these election laws were supposed to be published for the input of Liberians “because we are going to stand on line to choose our leaders.” “We are the players and if NEC which is the referee holds the rules to its chest, how are we going to play the game?” Mr. Dupah questioned.

He observed that the backwardness in the Liberian political system has been the cause of bad governance in which county superintendents are appointed instead of being elected. He said that like those vying for the senate, superintendents have their people whom they can represent.

According to Mr. Dupah, these were some of the recommendations to be made to NEC to have submitted same to the House for possible consideration but all these rules were held to the chest of the Commission, thus creating problems for the Liberian voters.

On the controversial Reform Bill regarding the issue of the 64 legislative seats, Mr. Dupah stressed that the 64 constituencies be fully represented because those who fled due to war will surely go back.

He recommended to NEC to adequately educate voters so that they cannot be fooled like in the past where people used to go to polling booths and mislead them, noting NEC should identify the seals of individual candidates vying for positions.

He emphasized that the would-be candidates should also be identified according to dress code of their photos to show a clear line of demarcation.

Mr. Dupah said election is a process and it takes time for the voters to be familiar with all rules. According to him, while in Sierra Leone, he advanced proposal to those who were attending the Accra Peace Conference through the American Embassy in Sierra Leone to allow the interim period last for three to four years to adequately prepare Liberians for elections, adding, “hurry, hurry burst trousers.”

On what should be done if elections are held as scheduled, Mr. Dupah said UNMIL should burgle up to reach to those areas still infested with guns to get rid of them, noting, “We don’t want people during the elections to be intimidating us again.”

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.