By Jerry Jeffery
The race for the chairmanship of the National Elections Commission has intensified since the LACC on 22 December announced an indictment of Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah on criminal charges. Scores of Cdicians on public radio and in various quarters and politicians in chat rooms have been calling for the resignation of Madam Browne -Lansanah. Inside the NEC, it is a known fact long running between Commissioner Floyd Sayor and the Cochair Cllr P. Teplah Reeves both of whom have been colluded by top Cdicians to have Madam Browne Lansanah removed as chairperson of the NEC.
While Commissioner Sayor is known to be providing information to his principals including promising them that he can rig the 2023 elections for CDC, the Co-chair Teplah Reeves has intensified her internal strategy to take control of NEC. A plan uncovered by some NEC staffers said a preliminary meeting she held with Commissioner Bassie Leo Kpangbai Finance and budget section – a place he longed to be for purposes best known to himself while many other staff are to be fired from their jobs and to be replaced by Cdicians.
In any case should Madam Reeves become Chairperson of NEC, it would be a smooth ride for top Cdicians including Minister Nathaniel McGill to control her since she lacks the knowledge of the workings of an election management body and capacity to run such an office she will be heavily reliant on Minister Mcgill who has taken charge of her and three other commissioners, will have a golden opportunity to not only run the commission but to also decide cases as we saw in the Gbarpolu case of the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections. Similarly, should Floyd Sayor become Chairperson of NEC, it may be certain that he will take charge of the Data Center to manipulate the Final Registration Roll and votes for the CDC as he was caught doing in the 2017 presidential and Legislative Elections.
What is more frustrating is the perpetual silence of the opposition in this entire ongoing political ploy against Commissioner Lansanah. CDC is positioning itself ahead of the 2023 elections by taking these violent steps, while the opposition seems not to be bothered. In 2017, the Liberian people witnessed what a compromised Election Commission nearly plunged this country into chaos based on influence and manipulation, this same menace is creeping its way back and this time it will be more devastating not only for the opposition but for Liberia at large. At the end of the 2020 senatorial election, for the first time we had almost all the counties election being contested by candidates who were dissatisfied by either the conduct of the election or they felt cheated. Taking into account that the current head of Commission has been independent, balanced and fair and yet we had several protests that were filed, think of 2023 when McGill, Tweah and their cronies take over the National Election Commission, this is a recipe for electoral conflict. The opposition will be heavily campaigning, while CDC will have less work to do because Commissioner Reeves and Sayor will be well positioned to rig the election for the ruling establishment. But the truth is that those multiple election protests were the making of McGill and Tweah intended to test the system to see whether Commissioner Lansanah could turn the results in their favor, she refused to be bent, so the next step which is currently ongoing is to connive with Commissioner Reeves and Sayor as well as the LACC to get rid of Commissioner Lansanah. Credible information has it that CDC is currently preparing to start removing electoral Magistrates that are assigned in the various counties to replace them with CDC loyalists. According to highly place source, the reason CDC is making this quick and early move is that Many of the magistrates top Cdicians claim are said not to be trustworthy, and their removal and replacement could work well for the CDC as we are hearing from out of their camp. As such they have embarked on removing all electoral magistrates to have them replaced.
Liberians should be on their guard. If for any reason Madam Lansanah is ousted from the chairmanship of NEC, whomever replaces her, it will be the responsibility of all well-meaning Liberians to raise the red flag on vices that may disrupt the 2023 General Elections and the Peace and stability of mama Liberia.
What has happened to NEC these few weeks is a bad reflection on a country going into election and the incumbent government opting for reelection and so far, there is no voice to stop the LACC nightmare. One wonders whether the silence is an acknowledgement of state of affairs created as a consequence of the LACC boss’s action which has the proclivity to disgrace the entire government which has poorly handled the matter because they are behind the removal of the current NEC chair or are they so passive thinking that the situation will handle itself to a logical conclusion? There is no logical conclusion here but to save the anguish hanging over the NEC which is being ridiculed by many Liberians who lack understanding of the politics moreover, the fact that NEC now holds the Vice President position in the Ecowas Network of Electoral Commissions, and with this negative characterization the country may lose said position which is crucial in Liberia being represented and to be able to influence the work of ECONEC to the benefits of both our country and those of the sub region. Mr. President please act now to avoid embarrassment among your colleagues in ECOWAS who must equally be concerned about tarnishing the reputation of the continental body by you allowing this LACC nightmare to reach this far. Act now and save the state.