NEC Certificates Bong County Rep-Elect -After Supreme Court Ruled Against CDC Claims

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

After nearly 3 months of legal battles, the National Elections Commission (NEC), last Friday, February 4, 2022, finally certified Mr. James M. Kolleh, Representative –elect of District #2, Bong County who contested on the platform of the People’s Unification Party (PUP) as the winner of the November 16, 2021 representative bye-election conducted also in 3 other counties of Bomi, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties.

The certification of Mr. Kolleh comes in the aftermath of the ruling of the Supreme Court of Liberia of February 1, 2022 which denied and dismissed all counts brought before the apex court by Melvin Salvage, candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC). Kolleh was the last of other elected persons earlier certified by the electoral body.

During the certification program Friday, February 4, at the James M. Fromayan Conference Hall, at NEC Headquarters, on 9th Street, Monrovia, Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah stated that the 2021 by-elections were successfully conducted on November 16, 2021 in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties, in which she said the Commission has already certified winners of District #1 Bomi, District #1 Nimba and District #1 Grand Gedeh in the by-elections recently held.

However, according to her, the Commission was unable to certify the winner of Bong County District #2 by-election due to legal contestation against the election result. The matter, she noted, was heard by both the election Magistrate of Upper Bong County and the Board of Commissioners, and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of Liberia.

“I am pleased to inform you that the mandate was received by the Commission from the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia affirming the decision of the NEC that declared Honorable James M. Kolleh as winner of the Bong County District #2 by-election and the Commission should proceed with this certification”, the NEC Chairperson said.

“This certificate certifies that James M. Kolleh has been duly elected Representative for Electoral District #2, Bong County, Republic of Liberia in the Legislative by-election held on November 16, 2021”, Madam Browne Lansanah said while presenting the certificate.

“The NEC assured the public of its commitment to conduct free, fair and transparent elections throughout Liberia as prescribed by law. The Commission expressed its gratitude to the Government of Liberia for the funds provided to conduct the 2021 by-elections. We also thanked all the parties and candidates that participated in these elections”, Chairperson Browne Lansanah added.

In his response, Representative Kolleh applauded the staff of the NEC for work done, saying “I hope and pray that this team can continue to do excellent work as we go towards 2023 elections which he described as a critical time for the nation, Liberia”.

According to Representative Kolleh, he observed that during the by-election, some individuals had voter registration cards that were slightly different from the ones issued by the National Elections Commission. He expressed fear that if care is not taken in 2023, people will go ahead to duplicate more voter registration cards which he said does not augur well for the country’s democracy.

The Bong District #2 lawmaker therefore recommended to the National Election Commission to be vigilant during electoral processes across the country because the duplicate voter cards are almost similar to the ones issued by the Commission.

He continued, “I will also recommend to the National Legislature that in the event where people are caught in said dubious act we should not just let them go free but be prosecuted in order to save this country from further danger – electoral violence is not an attack to an individual but the country.”

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