Friday, August 26, 2011

Liberia: Liberia: 2011 Elections Face Legal Bottleneck

Liberians intended the August 23 National Constitutional Referendum to address some of the legal hurdles that face the smooth conduct of the 2011 presidential and legislative elections. It is too early to tell, but if by any chance the early results are any forecast, then Liberians undoubtedly stand to go through a series of legal battles before they go to the polls. The Analyst has been looking at the preliminary results of the referendum released by the National Elections Commission (NEC).


 Early poll results of the August 23 National Constitutional Referendum have forecasted the failure of propositions 1, 2, and 3, to say nothing about what appears to be a turnout that is short of the constitutional passage requirement.

The results also show that Proposition 4 has taken an early lead with 120,596 votes tallied nationwide.
The constitution requires the amendment of the constitution to obtain the affirmative vote of two-third majority voters of the total registered voters for the voting period – in the case of the 2011 presidential and legislative elections, the total registered voters is 1.8 million.

The results, which reflect the decisions of 120,596 voters, come from 935 of 4,457 polling places spread across the 1780 voting precincts in the country, representing nearly 21% of total vote cast.
According to NEC, all 72 polling stations in River Gee County have submitted their ballots while 97.3% or 76 polling stations in River Cess also submitted their ballots with two outstanding.

In Grand Kru County, 39 stations, or 51.3% of polling centers submitted their ballots while no station has reported any ballot as of yesterday from Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties.

In Lofa County, 135 of the 243 polling stations, or 37.7%, have reported while only 69 of 1,408 polling stations in Montserrado County have reported.

Of the 120,596 early votes tallied, 55,137 voters want to change the residency clause from ten to five years while 50,128 voters want the clause remains as provided for under Article 52(c). Of that number also, 43,825 want to increase the retirement age for the chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court by five years; but 61,851 refused, preferring it to remains as provided for under Article 72(b).

Of the 120,596 early votes tallied, 57,646 want to move the Election Day from the thunderstorm October month to November, which is the onset of the Dry Season; but 47,612 preferred to have it unchanged as provided for under Article 83(a).

Those who want to maintain the absolute majority rule as provided for under Article 83(b) are 38,191 while nearly twice as much, 66,170, wants to change the rule for legislative elections.

The good news, observers say, is that the results are provisional, but they say that NEC has revealed very vital little information about total voters tallied, polling centers, precincts, and electoral districts, has heightened anxiety about the referendum's success.

Notwithstanding the fact that the preliminary results have raised more questions than provided answers, NEC says nationwide reports indicate that the referendum went smoothly with an isolated police incident in the provincial capital of Barclayville City in Grand Kru County in Southeastern Liberian.

"There have been no reports of serious electoral violence during the referendum. However, an isolated case was reported where two persons are undergoing investigation by the Liberia National Police in Barclayville for allegedly inciting elections violence at the Sasstown High School Voting Precincts Number 18017," a NEC statement said yesterday.

The Commission congratulated the voters, noting that the peaceful conduct of the referendum was indication of the citizens' desire to see the nation's emerging democratic experiment flourish. It also praised representatives of political parties, international and national observers and the media for observing what it called the "important process in the democratization of Liberia".

According to the commission, it has accredited 371 international and 1,578 domestic observers to monitor the referendum and presidential and legislative elections.
"Apart from local journalists there was an additional team of foreign journalists who also covered the referendum poll," NEC said.

The commission said it has posted 19 election magistrates across the country to handle possible complaints of poll and counting irregularities within 24 to 72 hours as of the end of voting on August 23, 2011.
NEC said it would announce the final results of the referendum on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, by which time the commission would have tallied and certified all results

News Headline

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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