‘Academy Voters’ -The Appalling Death Bed Of Liberia’s Democracy

With deeply frozen conscience and trembling nerves characterizing the impending Special Senatorial election slated for December 8, 2020 thus serving as a chilly pointer for 2023 general and presidential elections; a new terminology infused in the process dubbed; academy voters, meaning first time voters, has immensely and disturbingly muddy the Voter Roll Update (VRU) scheme trust and confidence in the entire election process can no longer be at ease.

The massive abuse of the VRU from the onset acquiesced by some political movers and shakers with stone-determination to do anything far beyond right, to ensure victory are lubricating the joints and bolts of the academy voters, while inducing them with questionable money to reflect the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Their demented stage-managed objective to pulling in tons of chilly votes for their criminally-minded political paymasters is not only poised to replay the result of the indelible scar engraved on the soul of Liberia based on the Charles Dunbar Burgess King’s (C.D.B.K.) 1925 elections result mostly referred to in disgruntle circle as Can Dog Be King; but will perpetuate an appalling death bed of Liberia’s trapped  election credibility in December 8, 2020; whereas democracy, and by extension, and trekking on a very slippery ambushed route in 2023, when democracy will be nailed on the altar of greed for power at all cause; solely being unconcerned about honor and political moral.

The so-called academy voters roughly being nurtured to execute a   vicious and unpatriotic duty to quench the dreadful vote-dehydration of their respective paymasters; see clearly what they are doing to this poor country for the political appeasement of those now calling the political shots in arena; as they further allowed themselves to be trucked from place to place to swell up votes for the already flunked dollars-for-votes-political deviants.

While the National Elections Commission (NEC) sits on a wrecked fence like a toothless bulldog, unable to be robust, rough, mean and tough in policing the mishaps and gross violations of the election’s laws and hiding solely behind the NEC is not clothed with authority to impose criminal penalties rather the Commission frowns on the trucking of citizens for political purpose, and calls on all involved in this practice to immediately desist.

However, NEC boss, Davidetta Brown-Lassanah has been quick to note that trucking people from place to place where they are not domiciled for them to vote for an individual is criminal and prohibited under the New Elections Law of Liberia Chapter 10.1(a), which is punishable under the law by a fine or imprisonment of up to six months. Therefore the bus stopped right there as the political Nicodemuses determinedly continued to truck people on a massive scale like business as usual.

What does this show, the current batch of NEC’s officials tasked with the responsibility to conduct the senatorial by-election are saddled with grave hiccup to perform up to expectations as the process has already taken a nose-dive before take-off; and as glaring as it looks, it is too scaring to say the least; and then what more is expected when the big one comes in 2023; as someone feeling very frightened stated, don’t be surprised if you are told that snow fell in hell during the political season of 2023.

Being carefully mindful of the moral trials and political temptations that grimly overwhelmed the election period, and being also tested by the very process years ago, and now former NEC’s boss James M. Fromayan is calling spade a spade

Accordingly.“an election is not an event but a process and, as such, an election can only be considered credible if the processes leading to the conduct of the polls are transparent. But regrettably, the preparations leading to the conduct of the pending Special Senatorial Election are not transparent,” an NGO of elections experts operating under the name, Center for Development and Elections Management (CEDEM), have said.

The experts, all of whom are Liberians, some of them former officials of the National Elections Commission (NEC), led by former NEC chairman James M. Fromayan, said they have observed to a greater extent that activities as they relate to the conduct of the pending Senatorial Election are symbolic devoid of any genuine effort to conduct the polls in a manner that would contribute to the consolidation of Liberia’s democratic experiment and thus enhance the chances for genuine peace and development.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, CEDEM noted that some of the procedures that are being fraudulently done include the recruitments of registration staffers such as Electoral Supervisors, Registrars, Data Entry Clerks — “all of which were and are being conducted in secrecy.”

“The facts are glaring.  Recruitment of registration staffers such as Electoral Supervisors, Registrars, Data Entry Clerks, etc. were conducted in secrecy with no announcement to the public as per the criteria or qualification required of the individuals who are hired by the Commission,” the statement noted.

“As was the case with their recruitment, so was the training of these individuals,” the CEDEM release stated. “It was a matter of secrecy detached from the Public domain. Civic education activities necessary for the creation of awareness for the current Voter Update Exercise are non-existing.  No banners, no billboards, no adequate jingles and songs in the media across the Country to create the necessary awareness that is needed for such a crucial Process,” it said.

The group also said the lack of seriousness that is being accorded the conduct of the pending referendum by the NEC evidenced by the absence of vigorous Civic education activities in a Country of  high illiteracy rate clearly indicates the incapability of the NEC to concomitantly conduct the Senatorial Election along with the Referendum on 8 December 2020.  “As a consequence, the NEC should abandon the plan to conduct the Pending Referendum to avoid a political crisis such as the situation in neighboring Guinea,” it said.

CECEM also observes that there has been no launch of Civic education activity in a manner and form that would raise public awareness for the ongoing process—contributing to the lack of momentum of the entire preparatory process. “It is important to note, that the current Voter Update Process is crucial and as such, a necessary precondition for the conduct of the Pending Election,” the statement added.

-Writes GDJ

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