“No Census For 2005 Elections” ...Says Elections Commission, But

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 7, 2004

The National Elections Commission(NEC) through its Chairman Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris, says there will be no census in the country before the conduct of the 2005 General and Presidential elections; as Patrick K. Wrokpoh reports.

Commissioner Morris told leaders of the country’s 18 registered political parties yesterday at the NEC’s 16th Street offices that the result of an assessment conducted by the United Nations team working in collaboration with the commission and the Ministry of Planning, has concluded that the conduct of a census before the pending elections are not possible.

She said what she has proposed to be done since there will be no census before the elections, is that a national citizen identification card be issued to all Liberians.

The NEC boss said if this was done, it would determine as to who is a Liberian or not. Commissioner Morris who was flanked by her six colleagues, said another United Nations survey conducted in recent times suggest that a total of some 2.9 million people are in Liberia, stressing that since there will be no census for the elections, the Ministry of Planning and the United Nations will work along from village to village in helping the commission with its job when it comes to the number of people that will participate in the process.

On the issue of drawing up the boundaries of constituencies in the country, Cllr. Morris said, “this a technical issue”, but assured the party leaders that the commission will work with them and the relevant institutions in taking care of the issue.

Addressing other issues such as the creation of new electoral reforms among others raised with the commission by the parties, Cllr. Morris said the commission will include political parties in the drafting of the new rules by holding series of consultations with them adding, ‘you can now begin to look at those issues or laws which need to be changed for example the 10-year Residential Clause.”

On the issue that some two million plus ballots were printed by the immediate past Elections Commission, Cllr. Morris in a serious mood said, “we will not use those ballots for the 2005 elections.”

Asked to comment on the issue that a member of the commission is still an active chairman of a political party, Cllr. Morris said this was not to her knowledge. She said as far as she is concerned, the only commissioner who was a member of a political party is Mr. Jonathan Weedor, adding, but he resigned and came to me with the news paper. But you do not have to worry, any member of this commission who has resigned from a political party and still want to be on the commission politicking, just let me know.”

She said she will not sit on the commission and allow any of its members to engage in acts of politics or favoritism for a particular individual or political party.

Responding on behalf of the political parties, Mr. Cletus Wortorson of the Liberia Action Party(LAP), urged political parties not to wash their dirty clothes outside when it comes to settling minor issues.

He said issues such as to who is the head of a political party or who is the chairman are all administrative issues that can easily be handled by the political parties themselves rather than running to the NEC for intervention. Also speaking for political parties, National Patriotic Party(NPP) Chairman Edwin Holder assured the parties that they will do their best in working with the commission.

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