The National Elections Commission (NEC) on Monday, March 8, 2021 officially certificated Frank Saah Foko of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as winner of the Montserrado County Electoral District Nine By-election.
He has now ably succeeded his late boss, Munah Pelham-Youngblood. Paying tribute to the fallen lawmaker, Foko said he accepted the challenge because of the training instilled in him by the deceased Representative for the tax ahead.
The NEC Board of Commissioners recently reaffirmed its declaration of Foko as the winner of the December 8, 2020, Montserrado County District Nine Representative By-election.
The unanimous ruling of the Board of NEC was reached on February 9, 2021.
Lawyers representing the complainant, Fubbi Henries of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) accepted the ruling but announced an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne-Lansanah said: “Complainant Henries has failed to establish that irregularity and fraud occurred during the Representative By-Election.”
However, the Supreme Court released its rulings as an affirmation of the ruling of the NEC Board of Commissioners, which earlier ruled that the election fraud and irregularities claims by Henries had no magnitude and lacked the warrant for a recount or a rerun of the election.
Moments after the Supreme Court ruled in his favor on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Foko posted on his Facebook page, glorifying God and thanking his supporters for all of their efforts that got him to the post.
“Not by my might nor my power but by the Special Grace of God who has called me to serve my people.
“Today, after two months, 29 days of hearing and decisions from the hearing officers, the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia, it’s with a grateful heart of service to my people that I announce to you that the final decision of the Supreme Court was an affirmation to the will of the people of District #9 decision in the December 8, 2020 polls, thereby; upholding the National Election Commission decision that I won the election,” he said in his post.
“I appreciate everyone (organizations and individuals) who stood by me throughout this process, I can assure you that your trust and confidence reposed in me will never be regretted. Like I have always said, let’s put aside political parties and unite to not just keep the Munah’s legacy but to develop our district where we will all live in love and oneness. Congratulations to us, it’s time to get the real job done. #Munah’sLegacy.”
For his part, the defeated Henries said the issues he raised with the NEC are constitutional issues but seeing the Supreme Court neglecting the relevance of the issues raised by him had him dumfounded and completely out of words to describe the weakness and failure of the justice system in Liberia.
He has contested three different Representative elections, including the December 8, 2020 by-election, but lost all. The first two were against the late Yongblood who died in July 2020, after a period of protracted illness.
According to him, voters who had valid voter cards were denied voting simply because their names were either misspelled or not found in the final register roll (FRR).
“That was a violation of Article 77 (b) of the 1986 Revised Constitution, which talks about the eligibility of persons to vote in a national election. They disenfranchised Liberians who reached eighteen years or more to vote because of faults created by the NEC,” he alleged.
Henries said Article 83(C), which gave the NEC the right to declare winners of elections and at the same time hear complaints, even if those complaints are against it (NEC) is completely wrong and, so he will launch a campaign seeking ten thousand signatures as provided for by law to petition the Legislature to amend that provision of the Constitution.
“The right to hear complaint should be given to Magisterial courts if the government does not have the money to establish a separate court to look into post-election complaints,” he noted, adding that he will do all he can to get the ten thousand signatures and petition the Legislature.
About reconciling with Foko and working with him for the sake of their District, Henries said he will not accept to have any deal with Foko because he got the win “fraudulently, supported by even the Supreme Court.”
He said he is still optimistic about Liberia and will not relent in continuously making efforts to win a Legislative seat in order to contribute to the change he thinks the country deserves.
During the campaign, Foko said he could not promise solving all problems for the district, but rather came with truthfulness to the discourse of national politics.
According to Foko, he will make sure that discussions surrounding bills left behind by the late lawmaker would be reignited in an attempt to have them passed for the good of the people.
“My strength is oversight and my oversight responsibility would be actually used for the advantage of his district.
Foko at the same time promised to go to state corporations that are providing services to the people to provide basic social services to the public.
“We will empower you with the necessary empowering equipment to help you make better life”.
Foko at the same time promised to pave the road leading to Barrolle practice ground and provide transformers through what he calls leadership and advocacy.
“If transformers come to Liberia, I can assure you, transformers will come to this community.
According to him, he will make strides to restore the hopes and aspirations of the people.