MONROVIA: A former Finance Minister of Liberia who referred to himself as ‘A Servant-Leader, Patriot and Visionary’, Mr. M. Nathaniel Barnes, yesterday issued a statement which he says is his “candid Advice” towards a successfully peaceful conduct of the second round of the Presidential Election on November 14, 2023, and said no party will complain if the elections are handled in a very free, fair, TRANSPARENT and credible manner.
Mr. Barnes whose advice to his colleagues and other Liberians that are locked in an endorsement spree pledging support to either the opposition Unity Party of former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai or the incumbent Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah, by his statement of advice, expresses concern about what could be the outcome of November 14.
“My Fellow Liberians, permit me to share my honest advice to the National Elections Commission (NEC), the runoff contestants and the Liberian people, in general”, he said, stating that as Liberians are going to cast their final votes on November 14, 2023 to determine who will be the President and Vice President of Liberia for the next six (6) years, he firmly believes that, “if the elections are handled in a very free, fair, TRANSPARENT and credible manner, nobody will make noise,” Mr. Barnes said.
He advised that if the National Elections Commission closely adheres to the election laws, guidelines and regulations, as is expected, the outcome of the election will be free, fair, transparent and credible, noting, “Let us expect nothing less!”
The Liberian Statesman said after about twenty years of sustained peace, Liberia cannot afford to slip off track, and indicated that there is nothing that anyone of us can lose if the elections are conducted in keeping with the law.
“We admonish the two contending political parties contesting [the Opposition Unity Party (UP) Alliance and the incumbent Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)] in the runoff elections on November 14, 2023 to man the polls with the best poll watchers they can lay their hands on,” pointing out, “The crux of the elections credibility is in the effective handling of the polls.”
He said Liberians expect that the NEC workers including the voter verifiers, ballot issuers, etc., will stick to the rules as meticulously as possible. He reminded the election governing body that if there is an opportunity for either side to gain an unfair upper hand during the process – aided by NEC workers and/or officials – the situation will create serious chaos which would be very, very unfortunate.”
“Madam National Elections Chairman, if these elections are handled in a manner that resembles the 1926 or 1985 elections, you will seriously regret it,” he said further and indicated the two presidential elections of Liberia referred to were massively rigged. In the 1927 presidential election the result, Charles D. B. King of the incumbent True Whig Party’s Standard Bearer King was announced the winner for a third term after defeating Thomas J. R. Faulkner of The People’s Party, although elections were recorded as “the most rigged ever” by a one-time Chairperson of the NEC in modern Liberia, Cllr. Francis Johnson-Morris.
The result of the 1927 presidential election was also recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the most fraudulent election ever reported in history. Despite there being fewer than 15,000 registered voters, King received around 230,000 votes (according to the official falsified results), compared to around 9,000 for Faulkner, theoretically resulting in a voter turnout more than the actual registered voters that was in excess of 1,660%.
Similarly, the first general and presidential elections after the April 12, 1980 Military Coup the hoisted the True Whig Party were held in Liberia on 15 October 1985, bringing the Coup leader, Samuel Kanyon Doe to power as the first President of the Second Republic of Liberia.
Although four political parties, including Doe’s National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), the Liberia Action Party (LAP) of Jackson F Doe, the Unity Party (UP) of Edward Beyan Kesselly and the Liberia Unification Party (LUP) of a school teacher, William Gabriel William contested the elections; but polling was marred by allegations of widespread fraud and rigging.
Official results showed that Samuel Doe won the presidential election with 50.9% of the vote, just enough to avoid a runoff, although many independent observers believed that the Liberian Action’s Party’s Jackson Doe, who officially finished second, was the actual winner as it was later revealed that Samuel Doe had the ballots counted in a secret location by his handpicked staff.
However, former Finance Minister Barnes said, “We know that you are a credible and professional person; as such, we expect that you will fulfill your obligation to this nation.”
He intoned that the Liberian people look up to the National Elections Commission through its leadership to act, without fear or favor, to conduct these elections with the utmost credibility.
“Only one side can win in these elections; and, the Liberian people expect that the process will be free, fair, transparent and credible, if they are to accept the results,” he accentuated.
Accordingly, he implores the Liberian people to go to the polls peacefully, expressing belief that the results reflected on the tally sheets signed and stamped at the polling place will not be different from the results announced by the NEC Board of Commissioners.
He emphasized that the Liberian people will sleep in peace and accept a result that is consistent with the exact outcome of what transpired at each and every polling place throughout the country and furthered that the people cannot be more grateful to the international community and friends for their continued support for the strengthening of Liberia’s fledgling democracy.
On October 10, 2023, the Liberian people rejected fifty-one (51) Representatives and eleven (11) Senators. The result proved Article 1 of the 1985 Constitution of Liberia, which says: “All power is inherent in the people,” to be correct,” he said.
He restated a portion of that Constitutional Article when he quoted it saying, “All free governments are instituted by the authority and for the benefit of their people; and the people have the right to alter and reform their elected officials when their safety and happiness requires them to do so.”
He maintained that the law states that, “In order to ensure a democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period, and in such manner as provided for under this Constitution, to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments.”
He then concluded his advice, “adherence to the Liberian Constitution and the Elections Law and Guidelines is all we, the people of Liberia, require. And, that is not too much to ask. All Hail”.