The Kenyan Election Fiasco and Its Implications on Liberia

By Paul Jeebah Albert|

The delegitimization of the contentious presidential election by the Kenyan Supreme Court comes before the season of yet another hotly contested Liberian presidential election that is to be held in October of 2017. The earth-shaking event which has set a new precedent in the modern history of African elections and democracy, should serve as an admonition to the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia that fraudulent elections are indefensible and they do have dire consequences.

The re-ordered Kenyan election brings back a nostalgia of the heated 1985 election debacle in Liberia, when the late Election Chairman Emmett Harmon setup a panel of carefully selected individuals whom he called a “group of concerned citizens at the OAU village to tally the votes.” What was most cynical about the entire episode was that the vote counting procedure lasted for almost a month; moreover, no constitutional provisions stipulated such an activity.

All hell broke loose when the election results were finally announced declaring the late President Samuel K. Doe the winner instead of Jackson F. Doe who was considered as the most favored candidate.

However, Kenya’s judiciary unlike Liberia’s stood firmly this time against the naked aggression and exploitation of the constitutional rights of the Kenyan people by sending a message across the globe that the popular wishes, dreams and aspirations of the African people will not always be subsumed by the greed and personal aggrandizement of unconscionable politicians.

Some prominent individuals and political action groups have already filed several complaints and law suits in court against the NEC concerning various election procedure irregularities. Included amongst the lawsuits have been the one filed by Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh with the headline on the Perspective website that read, “Tipoteh takes Korkoya to court,” wherein he challenges the legality of the chairman of the NEC, Mr. Korkoya’s Liberian citizenship.

Other numerous headlines which foretell ominous signs of things to come are:

“Unfair practices of the NEC”: 2017 annual message delivered by Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh; “NEC Commissioner Jonathan Weedor decries Chairman Korkoya’s scam that will lead to rigged 2017 elections in Liberia”: position statement issued by Commissioner Weedor; “NEC chairman must stop casting blame and deceiving the Liberian people”: written by John H.T. Stewart; “Manipulation hurts, how could Liberia avoid manipulation of the 2017 election”: written by James Thomas Queh; and “NDC takes Jerome G. Korkoya to court”:

A press release issued by NDC Election fraud is not new to Liberia. Its history is replete with numerous instances of fraudulent elections and catastrophic ramifications that ensued. So, the concerns and complaints of the various opposition members should not be taken lightly.

Some universal indicators of troubled elections are: When national election committees are incapable of conducting a transparent election; when journalists are arrested and placed under a state of emergency for expressing themselves; when voters are misinformed on election procedures and how to make the proper choices; when foreign observers and observers at home are expressing some reservations about the illegality of the electoral process; when the margin of victory is so narrow that it clearly shows that the winner does not have a convincing mandate to lead the country; when a state of emergency is invoked and members of opposition parties are harassed, arrested, or incarcerated under a suspended writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum; when cameras and other electronic devices clearly produce evidence of instances of fraudulent voting practices; and when government is clamping down on civil society groups, and the citizens are fearing for their personal safety and wellbeing because they are exercising their constitutional rights and expressing their personal opinion.

Rigged elections often provoke war, social, political, and economic unrest in a country where the leader becomes insecure, unpopular and either despotic or totalitarian. This arises from the fact that since he is unable to rally popular support from the governed, he must derive his power from a henpecked judiciary, a corrupt legislative branch or various repressive military and paramilitary groups. Liberia has been on this path and it cannot afford to revisit it.

Therefore, Liberians in their various voting precincts should rise to the occasion in October and prove to the world that we are a people who are capable of recognizing the humanity of each other; capable of running functional democratic institutions; capable of conducting free and fair elections; and moreover, capable of self-government.

Paul Jeebah Albert resides in Spencer, North Carolina (704-636-7868)

Source: The Liberian Dialogue

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About Cholo Brooks 16147 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.