News of the nomination of a new Board of Directors at the National Elections Commission, (NEC) has been received with joy by a large section of the commission’s workforce, many of who believe the decision by president George Manneh Weah of replacing Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah will restore professionalism and not cleavages, ethnic and partisan driven appointments in the echelon of the commission’s administrative circle.
Last week, President Weah effected changes at the nation’s electoral body, affecting nearly all previously appointed members of the Board of Commissioners. Those affected include the Commission’s former chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya whose tenure expired this month. Days following the president’s appointment, our roaming reporter who visited the headquarters of the commission reported seeing joy on the faces of employees, many of whom he said were in splinter groups expressing hope of relief. “ Some of them I managed to talk to did not hesitate to point out lots of discrepancies orchestrated by Cllr. Korkoya during his last days at the commission,” he noted. Quoting employees of NEC, our reporter noted that nearly all of those Korkoya lately named to key positions are either from his kpelle ethnic background or confidants who share his Unity Party loyalty. Citing example of what they consider Korkoyah’s cruel and devilish machinations, the NEC employees named the current Executive Director, Anthony Saingbeh and his two deputies: the deputy director for operations and the deputy for administration, all of whom they said are from the kpelle ethnic group and Unity Party loyalists. “They replaced long serving and well trained NEC workers without cause,” the employees told our reporter. More on the Korkoyah sinister deals at NEC, the NEC workers as well spoke of the Director of Procurement as another party loyalist and a newly hired lawyer for whose interest Cllr. Korkoya also transferred NEC’s experienced and long serving lawyer, Cllr. Joseph Blidi to different department. The NEC sources noted another lawyer, Nathan Garbie, the only deputy executive director unaffected by Korkoya’s orchestration got save because a kpelle guy tipped to have replaced him delay to arrive from abroad before Korkoya’s replacement took place. Korkoya, described by NEC workers as an entrenched dictator, late last week dismissed without cause, Mr. Peter K. Doe, then an employee at the commission’s communication department. The department of communication at NEC is headed by Henry Flomo, also from the kpelle ethnic lineage of Cllr. Korkoyah. Quizzed if those preferred by Korkoyah are not qualified, our reporter quoted the employees as stating that those they replaced are qualified as well and that most of them were trained and have been replaced without logical justification. It can be recalled Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah took over the mantle of leadership at the National Elections Commission, NEC following the resignation of James Fromoyan, whose resignation was triggered by an error in the release of elections results. Following Korkoya’s appointment to the electoral body, mountain of serious contentions were raised, ranging from his American citizenship to his partisan role with the former ruling Unity Party, (UP). At the time, both media reports and civil society advocacy against his nomination were ignored and the known Unity Party member was confirmed to the dismay of ordinary Liberians. Worst of Korkoya’s unity party connection is the incontestable fact that Cllr. Korkoyah contested in the 2011 elections on the Unity Party ticket as a Representative candidate in Bong County. Meanwhile, some critical minds at NEC have hinted that those identified and lately placed in strategic positions at NEC by Korkoyah are on special mission for Korkoyah and his benefactors, something they warned the in-coming members of the commission’s board should not take lightly.