Citizens of Zoe-Geh Statutory District, Nimba County, have taken the National Elections commission (NEC) to task over the manner in which the body is handling the ongoing voters’ registration exercise in their district.
The citizens of the District through their Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah, have written the chairman of NEC James Fromoyan informing the NEC boss that the people of his district, including himself , were unhappy and expressed concern on the very serious impediment to the exercise of what they termed as their democratic and constitutional rights allegedly violated by NEC. The Nimba also accused the commission of taking into account the allocation of voting centers which supposed to be done in line with the population of their constituency.
In the communication, the Nimba County Lawmaker said, on the issue of allocation of Voters Registration Centers, he claimed, NEC also used Nimba county as the basis for allocation of centers and not population, a policy, he alleged, will substantively undercut the total participation of the people of Zoe-Geh District and other parts of Nimba in the national decision making process in the 2011 elections. As a consequence of NEC’s action, he said, there are many towns in Nimba with over 2000 population, each lacking sufficient voters’ registration center, thus compelling citizens to walk for hours.
The 2008 Census, according to Rep. Dunah, NEC recorded a total population of 80,000
In Zoe-Geh Statutory District, a figure which compresses three administrative districts. He said Zoe-Geh District is in the population bracket, naming other counties such as Bomi- 84,119, Gbarpolu-83,388, Rivercess-71,509 and Grand Kru-57,913.
Also, the Nimba lawmaker, these figures show that for a mere difference of 4,000 people of Bomi to receive double the number of voters registration as Zoe-Geh and for Gbarpolu 21 additional centers as well; whist Grand Kru and Rivercess with lesser population have more voters registration centers than Zoe-Geh.
“As you are aware, the NEC is the substantive agency crafted and granted in our constitution to ensure the equal, free and fair exercise of citizens’ inalienable rights, the exercise of power to elect” he stressed.
Additionally, the Secretary General of the Nimba Legislative Caucus averred that NEC is under constitutional obligation to ensure that all parts of Liberia and Liberian regardless of ethnicity and geography have equal access to the process.
Such hindrance, he said, is not shared in areas of approximate population as reflected above and therefore constitutes a real constrain to the exercise of the citizens’ constitutional rights and as such, he continued, the citizens of the Zoe Geh District are interested in understanding the theoretical framework, the policy pillars and the operational imperatives underpinning the NEC’s allocation.
In order to solve the problems identified, the Representative proposed that NEC should open additional voter registration centers in Zoe-Geh District to bring it up to 72, in order to allow all parts of Nimba have equal and easy access to registration. He further recommended that NEC sets up mobile teams to register people in those towns; that the NEC requests additional funding for such new centers; and that the Commission extends the registration period for another month; and most importantly, he concluded, the Elections Commission should ensure the full participation of the people, particularly under equal access and opportunity which are cardinal benchmarks of a free, fair and transparent democratic process.