The National Elections Commission (NEC) reveals, it still does not have the fund to conduct the midterm senatorial election which is slated for October this year. NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah alarms that the Commission is running out of time for the preparations of the election and the referendum.
He disclosed that the timelines and regulations for the election have been developed and approved including all of the technical works leading to the election are set but there is no money to start the process.
The NEC chairman said Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel Tweah proposed that the process be funded in phases, something Cllr. Kokoyah said was accepted but the Commission is yet to receive the first US$7 million to fund pre-electoral activities which include voters roll update, retrieving of lost cards, voters registration, among others. Cllr. Korkoyah clarified that the cutting down of the activities by the NEC will in no way affect the process.
NEC Chairman to reporters that the commission has cut down a number of activities but not at the detriment of the process to meet up with a new budget which is between US$14 or US$15 million. He said works that are supposed to be done by two persons have been cut down to one person, saying, “For example, if a poll worker was making US$300, it will be cut down to US$150 to meet up with the current budget”.
He stated, “The government wrote a commitment for US$7 million for the first phase to start the pre-election process but the latest information I have is that the Ministry of Finance is willing to process the first US$2 million out of the US$7 million and they are currently making efforts by being in talks with other stakeholders like the legislature to see how the rest of the US$5 million can be raised to complete the first phase.”
NEC Boss, however, appealed to Liberians and politicians to accept the inconveniences the adjustment may cause. Commenting on the upcoming referendum, the NEC boss Cllr. Korkoya disclosed that both the senatorial election and the referendum will be held the same day due to the lack of funding.
Meanwhile, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has emphatically said he would not contest the election if the NEC fails to conduct the election as the constitutional date. Sen. Dillon said he would not support the violation of the Constitution and noted that any election outside the constitutional date would be illegitimate which he would not be a part of.