James M. Fromayan, former Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), has declared that it is very sad that history is about to repeat itself within the NEC.
“Again, the National Elections Commission (NEC), this time around, under the leadership of Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, has been conducting itself in a questionable and non-credible manner that glaringly undermines its independence,” he said.
As far as former Chairman Fromayan is concerned, the unilateral decision by the NEC to conduct a mobile voter update exercise prior to the conduct of the 2020 Special Senatorial Election, a situation that he believes could culminate in fraudulent election results if the ECOWAS Data Management Team had not intervened to salvage the Final Registration Roll (FRR) is a case in point.
He indicated that at an alarming rate, Liberia is moving dangerously downward into an abyss. Former Chairman Fromayan has detected that it is a very troubling and foresees a discouraging situation considering the recent past history of the country.
“The fratricidal civil conflict that commenced on 24 December 1989 claimed the lives of more than two hundred thousand Liberians. It was a conflict deeply rooted in the rigged Presidential and Legislative Elections of October 1985. Those Elections were conducted by the then Special Elections Commission (SECOM) under the Chairmanship of the late Emmett Harmon, a veteran of traditional True Whig Party Politics, who was recruited by Samuel Doe to do for his National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) what Harmon and his likes did over many years for the Grand Old TWP.”
The former NEC Chairman stated that
those elections were conducted in the most unpatriotic and selfish manner with no regard for the general good of Liberia.
“As a consequence, the 12 November 1985 attempted coup led by the late General Thomas Q. Quiwonkpa occurred. The Quiwonkpa’s rebellion resulted in the death of more than four hundred Liberians and was the prelude to Charles Taylor’s rebellion of 24 December 1989 from which Liberia is yet to fully recover. With the help of the International community led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the prevailing fragile peace in Liberia was established following the death of numerous West African Peace Keepers who paid the ultimate price in the cause of saving Liberians from themselves. Moreover, more than six billion United States Dollars was reportedly expended by the International Community to extinguish a fire that Liberians, to a large degree, ignited themselves.”
He went on to say that the NEC’s acquiescence in the non-certification of former Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukaiwho decisively won the 2020 Senatorial Election in Lofa County is another case worthy of emphasis.
He said: “Having filed an application at the National Elections Commission as a Senatorial Aspirant for Lofa County consistent with Section 4.5(2) of the 29 September 1986 New Elections Law, the NEC scrutinized and qualified Hon. Samukai as a candidate in accordance with Section 2.9(n) of the 29 September 1986 New Elections Law. Moreover, the Commission proceeded to conduct the Special Senatorial Election across Liberia, an election, as announced by the NEC, that Hon. Samukai undisputedly won in Lofa County. For the NEC to abandon Hon. Samukai, and subsequently failed to certify his election because of a legal challenge that should have been prior to and not after the election, seriously eroded the credibility, transparency, and independence of the National Elections Commission.”
According to him, such colossal failure by the NEC made a large segment of Liberia’s population to perceive it as an extension of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Rather than embarking on serious efforts to rebuild its credibility, Fromayan noted that NEC has by its recent actions created more doubts relating to its resolve, impartiality, and competence to conduct in a free, fair, and credible manner, the very crucial Presidential and Legislative Elections of 2023.