By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
Opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation (VOLT) Political Leader, Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe, has expressed strong opposition to the new election bill currently before the Liberian Senate seeking the immediate dismissal and retirement of every elections magistrate across the country.
He described the bill as unconstitutional, criminal in nature and breeding ground for violence and corruption.
“We want to caution the Senate, if they do not want the reversion of what we went through during the country dark days, the nightmare that we passed through over the years, let them recall that bill and that bill should die in the house of representative, because it is a breeding ground for corruption and violence.”
We are not here for violence because we want to maintain the peace’’ Dr. Whapoe told this platform via telephone interview over the weekend.
On Tuesday August 9, 2022, President George M. Weah in a proclamation called member of the 54th National legislature to discuss on critical national issues for the period of 30 days which began August 15, 2022 and will end Tuesday September 13, 2022 to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency.
Among the National emergency issues includes, the appointment of a new chief justice, setting up of a new census date, the passage of the amendment of the New Election law which calls for the immediate dismissal and retirement of all election magistrates across the country and ratification and passage of other significant instruments pending before the Legislature.
But cautioning the Liberian Senate, Dr. Whapoe called on the lawmakers to reject the bill and not to pass it into law alleging that it aims to allow President Weah Coalition for Democracy Change government rig the elections as it was done with previous historical elections in the country which led to conflict.
‘’The passage of this bill will clearly indicate that the Senate is working with the executive, headed by the President to rig this election. They want to work the election in the favor of President Weah. We see this as unconstitutional, unprovoked and criminal in nature. This action if taken will violate the human and constitutional right of Liberian therefore, that bill should be stop right now’’ Dr. Whapoe said.
He noted that if the bill is pass by the Senate, they will complain to the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), the United States government, and European Union (EU) and other international partners because at the end the result the 2023 elections will not be satisfactory to the Liberian people.
“The Senator had put themselves together with a mandate from the President so that they can pass a bill that will enable them dismiss and retire all election magistrate across the country and reappoint CDC magistrates which is very detrimental ahead of 2023 election. The bill is criminal in nature and intended to give the CDC space to appoint magistrates of their own which will empower them to steal the elections.
Whapoe further cautioned the Liberian Senate, noting that they are watching the process to make sure that it stops immediately because if there had been a case where the magistrates had committed any election fraudulent process they can be dismiss but not without cause.
He cited 2011 election when the late Cllr. Walker Brumskine, funder and ex-political leader of the Liberty Party took the NEC to court crying of mal practices and frauds it was confirmed that it happened, that is the time you can dismiss and retire them, he stated.