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Brown Brings NEC To Spotlight

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By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah

MONROVIA: Liberia’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and one of the many critical voices in the opposition community, specifically the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Ambassador Lewis Garseedah Brown, has rebuked the National Elections Commission (NEC) under the supervision of its Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, for “dereliction” of its constitutional duty in the activities leading to the conduct of the much-heralded October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

In an article released on Sunday, April 9, 2023 tilted: “Freedom Weeps, Wrong Rules The Land, And Waiting Justice Sleeps” Subtitled: “God Give Us Men and Women” Ambassador Brown chided NEC for allegedly ignoring Article 80 (c, d, & e) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia by the Commission’s alleged willful failure to reapportion electoral constituencies after the conduct of the 2022 National Housing and Population Census.
Since NEC released the date for the commencement of the Bio-metric Voters Registration (BVR) exercise, which first phase started in six counties on March 20, 2023, CPP contends that in the absence of reapportioning electoral constituencies while the census results are on hand is a constitutional violation on the part of NEC.
Ambassador Brown: “The National Housing and Population Census mandated by Article 39 of the Liberian Constitution (1986) are both a critical electoral tool and an important socio-developmental gauge for the country. It provides figures and statistics for development planning and the conduct of constitutional-prescribed fair elections so that constituencies are reapportioned, the votes of citizens are equal in meeting both constitutional and international standards of universal suffrage, and the representation of the people in the government is not arbitrary but consistent with the growth and movements of population.”
According to Ambassador Brown, a man widely recognized for being one of the key negotiators of the August 16, 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) that brought final cessation to Liberia’s brutal armed conflict, NEC has no option than to obey the Constitution of Liberia as the Supreme Court of Liberia has continuously opined.
Ambassador Brown has observed as captured in his write-up that Madam Davidetta-Lansanah’s NEC has greeted the Supreme Court of Liberia’s mandate with no seriousness, deliberately refusing to revise the October 2023 elections schedule for the purpose of reapportioning electoral districts in obedience to Article 80 (c, d, & e) of the Constitution.

“As the Supreme Court has consistently decided, the NEC has no option but to strictly obey the Constitution. Strangely, however, the governing electoral body has not allotted a period in its variously published and revised electoral schedules for the reapportionment of constituencies, a constitutional mandate assigned to it,” the tough-talking opposition man said.
Ambassador Brown further stated that NEC from the onset has had no intention of using the recent results of the 2022 National Housing Population Census which he (Brown) says is a pivotal component of conducting a free, fair and constitutional elections in the country.
According to Ambassador Brown, NEC’s failure to heed to a very critical Constitutional mandate that calls for the reapportioning of electoral districts after a census is being conducted is responsible for the barrage of reports of illegal and massive trucking of voters from one constituency to another.
“Since the commencement of the voter registration without the reapportionment of the constituencies, there have been various public reports of illegal and massive trucking of voters and the dangerous invasion into our democracy by non-Liberians from neighboring countries.

This, too, is a consequence of the failure to obey the Constitution. Compounding a violation does not cure a wrong; it worsens the wrong to the detriment of the nation, and there are always consequences for breaking the law, “he indicated.
Ambassador Brown quoted Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Jamesetta Wolokollie delivering the Court’s opinion during the October 2020 Term of Court as saying, “Constitutional mandates are absolute rules of actions and decision for those required to exercise same, and the failure of agency of state or an officer of the state to perform, or negligence in a timely performance of a duty mandated by the Constitution is repugnant to that supreme and paramount law and is in total disregard to the sovereign will of the citizenry which may expose the nation to lawlessness and pose risk of undermining the democratic and law-abiding culture for which the Constitution was promulgated.”
It may be recalled that the CPP of which Amb. Browne is a top Executive has already taken the matter to the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The High Court, which has also heard arguments from both CPP and NEC is yet to release its findings on the matter.

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