Home Governance BVR Huddles!…As Property Owners Throw NEC Out of Private Buildings

BVR Huddles!…As Property Owners Throw NEC Out of Private Buildings

by News Manager

By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah

MONROVIA: Aside technical and operational glitches that greeted the initial commencement of the Bio-metric Voter’s Registration exercise, the barefaced refusal of some private property owners to allow temporary staff of the National Elections Commission (NEC) use their facilities might pose hurdles in the way of the smooth conduct of the Presidential and Legislative elections slated for Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

Providing update on the status on phase one of the BVR exercises which commenced on Monday, March 20, 2023, NEC’s Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, disclosed that owners of some properties that were usually used for election purposes are now refusing to allow NEC’s staff access to their properties.

“The Commission is still grabbling with the refusal of some community centers owners and caretakers to grant BVR staffs access to their facilities. In some areas where the NEC initially setup, ultimatums were issued by owners for the NEC to vacate premises within days following the start of the BVR process,” Chairperson Browne-Lansanah disclosed.

Speaking to a cross section of the Liberian Media on Friday, March 24, 2023, in the edifice of the James Flomoyah Conference Hall at NEC, the NEC boss revealed that the situation is posing serious hurdles to the smooth pace of the BVR exercise wherein the Commission is being coerced by the property owners’ action to erect misshapes structures to accommodate its staffs.

“This has led the NEC to improvise by constructing mishit structures nearby where the voters’ registration process continues,” she stated.

According to her, in time past, property owners were magnanimous to an extent that they most often offered their facilities to be used for elections related purposes with no financial cost attached.

“In time past, Liberians were so magnanimous that most often they just offered, but we took advantage of their goodwill and it has been running like that for a number years to use especially private institutions as our voters’ registration centers as well as election centers. We have also introduced along the way some small pocket change to help with janitorial situations after we shall have used the facilities, and that has been going on well, “she stated.

However, the NEC Boss is now claiming that while some owners and caretakers of properties have blatantly refused to allow the Commission use their properties, others are requesting money before their properties can be used for the BVR exercise.

“In several instances, property owners are requesting US$1,000 and US$600 before we use their properties. Some of them have said completely this is not going to work. Get out and this is why we are on the street more or less in these mishits,” Madam Browne- Lansanah revealed.

Chairperson Browne-Lansanah hinted that the action of prosperity owners who are now requesting money for the usage of their properties is apparently due to the gossips making rounds in the general public that the Commission received US$91 million dollars for the elections.

“And some of them we hear say that the Commission received Ninety-one Million United States Dollars (US$91m.), so why some of that money can rub on them too,” she said.

Madam Browne-Lansanah also hinted that the refusal of property owners to allow NEC’s staff access to their properties might apparently be precautionary measures to prevent the destruction and vandalizing of the properties owing to election violence tied to the trucking of voters.

Meanwhile, the NEC Boss has disclosed that despite the initial technical and operational glitches phase-one of the BVR exercise encountered on day one, the process is now on course with the maximum of 100 Liberian citizens 18 years and above been registered daily at each of its 1,065 registration centers across the first six counties.
“At the start of the exercise on Monday, all 1,065 registration centers were scheduled to open at 8 in the morning. The Commission however note that there were technical glitches at the beginning of the exercise which delayed the commencement of the registration process at some registration centers,” she said.

According to the NEC Boss, the delay of the BVR process on day one was caused due to the lack of in-depth knowledge of the operating system by some short-term election workers staffs.

She said: “These delays were basically due to the lack of meaningful in-depth understanding by some of our temporary registration staffs on how to setup, how to activate, and how to troubleshoot the new system.”

The NEC Boss has assured the public that despite initial challenges which characterized the commencement of the BVR exercise, the Commission has deployed technical mobile team to provide support aimed at resolving these issues whenever they arise, while adding that these problems are not unique to Liberia electoral process.

“These challenges are not peculiar to Liberia. Indeed, similarly cases have been reported in other countries, which despite the initial glitches ended up having a very successful registration drive, and we are hopeful for his this,” she added.

The National Elections Commission has at the same time expressed disappointment over several incidences of violence tied to voters trucking at some registration centers. However, the Commission has appreciated members of Liberia’s joint security apparatus for efforts applied in responding to some of these incidents of violence.

Madam Browne-Lansanah while entreating Liberians to exercise patient and remain orderly as the BVR process takes shape applauded Liberians from all walks of life for the high level of eagerness to partake in the process.

“Meanwhile, the Commission has observed with pleasure the enthusiasm from Liberians 18 years and above including first-time voters in long queues at various registration centers,” the NEC Boss concluded.

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