Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Liberia: Final Results of the National Referendum

Statement Delivered by Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson, Co-chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC)        
On the Occasion Marking the Declaration of the Final Results of the National Referendum, Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Source: National Elections Commission (NEC) Liberia 
The National Elections Commission (NEC) embarked on the monumental journey of organizing a national referendum about one year ago.
The 2011 referendum became evidently necessary following the passage of a Joint Resolution LEG-002 2010 by the National Legislature in August of 2010. The National Legislature put forward four articles of the 1986 Liberian Constitution to be amended; consequently placed upon the Commission the onerous responsibility to conduct a referendum.
The National Elections Commission congratulates all political parties, as well as all of the eligible voters who, despite all the odds actively participated in the process.
­­­­All 4,457polling places in the fifteen counties have now reported. 615,703 voters turned out to vote in the national referendum which amounts to34.2% of the 1,798,930 registered voters across the country.  Based on the reported voters’ turnout figure, thethreshold for any of the propositions to be ratified is 410, 469 voters. 
Fellow citizens, partners of the NEC, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the official results of the August 23, 2011 national referendum, as certified by the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission are as follows:
Proposition One (52c) which talks about the reduction from 10 to five years in the residency requirement for the presidency or vice presidency; the YES votes account for 292, 318, while the NO votes amount to 246, 473. Invalid votes stand at 76, 912.  Based upon these results, the required number of votes for ratification was not attained; therefore the proposed amendment was not ratified.
Proposition Two(72b) which proposed an increment from 70 to 75 years in the retirement age of Chief Justice, Justices and Judges of  subordinate courts of records, the YES votes account for 221,163, while the NO votes amount to 322,223.  Invalid votes stand at 72,317. Based upon these results, the required number was not obtained; which translates into a non–ratification of the proposed amendment.
Proposition Three (83a) which proposed a change in the elections from second Tuesday in October to the second Tuesday in November in the election year; the YES votes account for 307,647, while the NO votes total 234,517. Invalid votes stand at 73,539. Considering figures, the number of votes required for ratification was not obtained, which means the proposed change or amendment was not ratified.
Proposition Four (83b) which proposed that except for the presidency, all elections for public office shall be won by simple majority, YES votes account for 364,901, while the NO votes total 174,469. Invalid votes stand at 76,333.
Judging from these results, the required number of votes for ratification was not also obtained. This means that proposition Four was not ratified. This therefore means that all the four propositions were not ratified. The Liberian people have spoken and their decision and wishes must be respected. The NEC calls on all Liberians to close this chapter and forge ahead with the presidential and legislative elections in October.   
In closing, the National Elections Commission hails the people of Liberia for participating in the national referendum. The NEC wishes to register its profound appreciation to the Government and people of Liberia, local and international partners of the Commission, including UNDP, UNMIL, USAID, IFES, AU EU, ECOWAS, the LNP, UNPOL, the Media, Civil Society and Observation Organizations for their support.
A big word of appreciation goes to Headquarters and County staffs of the NEC for the pivotal role they played especially the exceptional skills and courage exhibited by the Referendum Coordinating Team and the organizational structure put in place.   I thank you.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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