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Alex Cummings’ Electoral Fraud Public Posture Too Little, Too Late

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh  

 

 

Joseph N. Boakai and George Manneh Weah are heading for a November 8 runoff.

This is not coming from me but from a watchful public, a public that is so tuned in to these Liberian elections that if it had been a paid pugilistic encounter, either one of the guys; or both would be cashing in and laughing all the way to the bank for a lucrative payday.

The centralized National Elections Commission (NEC) have yet to officially sanction the two fellas as going at each other.

From all indications, however, and according to numbers from the National Elections Commission, Boakai and Weah are indeed the two highest vote getters, who will face the Liberian voters in the runoff come November 8. 

Unless there is a court challenge, or an NEC challenge about alleged voting irregularities that occurred during the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, Liberians will be heading to the polls once again to elect a president.

So far, there are murmurs from the Brumskine and Cummings camps – the latter spoke out publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the last election and what he or his party will do about an electoral process that most people believed was not fair. 

“After much consultation and initial review of substantive evidence, I find it my duty and responsibility as a Liberian that is dedicated to creating change and reform, to explore challenging the purported outcome of the recent election.”
“To this end, we have engaged expert assistance to conduct detailed review of our findings with a view to verify and pursue every available avenue, legal and otherwise to ensure a fair, transparent and valid election result,” Cummings said. 

This is bogus. Period. 

Bogus because Cummings’ activism is too little, too late.

As a Liberian who had his biblical Saul moment for his homeland, (instead of running for president), Mr. Cummings should have engaged himself earlier in this cause to rebuild and strengthen institutions – including the electoral systems, and change how things are done in Liberia; and not after he ran and was defeated in a presidential election. 

I have written over and over on this page about an urgent need to rebuild Liberia’s broken political institutions. In order for Liberia to be a great and respectable country, Liberia needs functioning institutions.

It is good governance and good public policy for elections to be free and fair, and be a local/county affair.

Also, I have written numerous times that elections in Liberia be turned over to the counties, for the local officials to conduct their own elections. The national government can coordinate with local officials by dispatching officials from the Ministry of Justice to play a watchful role.

However, did Alexander Cummings, Charles Brumskine and the other presidential candidates not aware of the nation’s unfortunate history of electoral fraud and backward electoral systems?

Is Cummings serious as he did publicly on Tuesday when he challenged the ‘purported outcome of the recent election,’ as having serious problems?

Anyway, when is it considered okay or too late for anyone or an Alex Cummings to come out swinging, or be quiet after the fact about an electoral system that proved from the onset to be problematic?

Again, Mr. Cummings’ public posture is bogus.

What if Alexander Cummings, Charles Brumskine or another candidate had won? Is it possible for any of them, or for Cummings to come forward after a presidential defeat to discuss voting irregularities?

This is like since Cummings lost the election, he is making voting irregularities and voter fraud an issue to either give him a national platform to vent his frustration, or present him to the public as a person who is concerned about this issue.

Seriously, this is not an attempt to minimize voting irregularities and voter fraud in the Liberian electoral system.

This is not a new problem, either.

I have written about this problem over and over.

Remember the notorious True Whig Party and its one-party “elections?”
The True Whig Party’s one-party electoral system came to an abrupt end only after that rotten system was fatally overthrown in 1980 by Samuel Kanyon Doe’s People’s Redemption Council.

Remember Emmett Harmon and ECOM during the unfortunate and despotic regime of Samuel Kanyon Doe, during the 1985 presidential election?

It was reported then that Samuel Kanyon Doe allegedly burned the ballots to become president, as Emmett Harmon, his elections’ chairman looked on.

How about the 2005 presidential election between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Manneh Weah; when James Fromoyan of the National Elections Commission reportedly switched the votes from Weah to Madame Sirleaf, for Sirleaf to become President of Liberia. 

The name James Fromoyan and his unscrupulous actions during the 2005 presidential elections are still etched into our collective memories.
So, electoral fraud is not a new phenomenon in the history of the Liberian nation.

Like the misdirected education systems and healthcare systems, etc., Liberia does not need a nationalized/centralized National Elections Commission. Give the counties and the local regions and authorities the opportunity to conduct their own elections.

The counties and the districts know their politicians and their issues. They also know their areas. Empower them to be politically, economically and socially viable and productive.

Alexander Cummings, Charles Brumskine and the other politicians can join this worthy cause to make our institutions functional.

Unless politicians, policymakers, civic leaders, business leaders, religious leaders and the Liberian people get together to seriously discuss these issues and find practical means to addressing them, Liberia will continue to have these nagging problems.

 

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