Elections Boss not Happy

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 10, 2004

National Election Commission Chairman Cllr. Frances Johnson Morris says she sees no reason why the current Commission should be maintained when the CPA has mandated some international groups such as the ICGL to supervise and monitor the 2005 General and Presidential Elections; as Patrick K. Wrokpoh reports.

Cllr. Morris said if these groups like the ICGL, AU, among others, are to supervise the coming elections as it is stated in the peace agreement, then in her view, there is no reason why the National Elections Commission which she heads should exist or be maintained to conduct the elections.

The NECs Chairman was reacting to recent pronouncement by NTGL Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant that he intends to put forward an act to the NTLA requesting for the expansion of the commission to include representatives from the ICGL.

Addressing herself to a number of concerns raised by 12 out of the country’s 18 registered political parties that attended a recent meeting with the NEC at its Sinkor 16th Street offices, Cllr. Morris vented out her displeasure on the CPA.

She said the Accra Peace Agreement is ambiguous and needs clarifications on some issues. “I did not say the accord is fraudulent, as I was quoted as saying, but it is ambiguous and certain issues must be clarified”, Cllr. Morris asserted.

Speaking further when a representative of one of the parties quizzed her on what the role of the ICGL will be if the proposed act was to be approved by the NTLA, Cllr. Morris in a serious mood wondered, “If they (ICGL and other groups) will supervise, monitor and conduct the elections, then why maintain this commission.”

In a related development, Cllr. Morris said results of a field visit conducted by the Commission has not found any party putting the portrait of proposed candidates at public places.

She said those sent in the field by the commission has not found anything but warned that any party found violating by engaging in premature campaigning or placing the photos of their candidates at public places, the commission will institute the necessary action. “Remember there are rules to every game and they must be applied. Remember too, this commission also has contempt power”, Cllr. Morris averred.

She threatened that the Commission will evoke the necessary powers against any party that causes any violation, emphasizing that some parties risk losing their accreditation if they disobey the commission.

On conflicts in political parties, Cllr. Morris said these kinds of issues were being handled by specific commissioners on the commission but stressed that those interested in taking up leadership role in political parties, should go to convention to be elected rather than be calling themselves Chairman or Secretary among others.

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