>Liberia: ‘NEC Must Extend VR Exercise’


>Source: allAfrica.com
A representative aspirant of District #11 Montserrado County Henry D. Johnson is calling on the National Elections Commission to extend the ongoing voters’ registration exercise two additional weeks in order to ensure free, fair, credible and democratic elections.

Mr. Johnson made the comment over the weekend when he declared his intention to contest the District#11 representative seat in Montserrado County.

In his declaration speech, the youthful District# representative candidate outlined a number of issues he thinks NEC should handle with urgency if the 2011 general and presidential elections are to be truly credible.

During Mr. Johnson’s observation, he pointed out that there are currently insufficient voter registration centers in the South Eastern region of the country and as such, he noted, he is calling on the country’s electoral body to create more registration centers in order to afford every citizen the opportunity to exercise their rights. Another concern the young aspirant in his argument raised is the issue about people walking far distances in order to register. He claimed, for example, that people in Grand Kru and other neighboring Counties often walked more than five hours distance, a factor he alleged is causing many people to abandon the voters’ registration exercise in the South-Eastern region of the country.

“Members of the press, my people of District #11, community leaders, elders, ladies and gentlemen. There are certain grave issues that I think the NEC should immediately address if the 2011 elections are to be free, fair and credible. As I speak to you now, the reports we are getting from the South-Eastern part of the country speak of low voters’ turnout. There are currently insufficient voter registration centers in places like Grand Kru, Rivercess, Sinoe and other areas and that people will have to walk far distances before reaching to registration sites which is not healthy for our democracy. I therefore suggest that the NEC create additional registration centers for those people in the South- East of the country. Any attempt to overlook these points means that you are disenfranchising and tempering with the rights of our citizens. We need additional two weeks to complete the voter registration process comprehensively. We want for NEC to consider these issues we are raising as very cardinal to electoral process and immediately address them,” he opined.

Quizzed as to why he decided to contest the representative seat in his District, Mr. Johnson replied with a sobering voice and reflected activities of past officials who he squarely ended his anger on for not doing much in terms of development of their community.

Though he did not call any name of the quote-unquote –past officials who he alleged have failed the people of District#11,he however claimed that youths have been marginalized in the past by the older folks, and that it was now time for the youthful population of the district to spearhead leadership of their constituency to illustrate that they too are capable of leading the people. Mr. Johnson then vowed to undertake a major drainage cleaning up campaign at the end of the year, noting that the district is a slump community and therefore he cannot afford to see his people language in such destitute condition.

Mr. Johnson also accused national government of doing little or nothing to develop his community. He said the UP Led administration since taking power in 2006, cannot point to a single development project in the district.

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