- As Consortium of Civil Society Network of Liberia
In the midst of controversies surrounding the citizenship of the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah, a Consortium of Civil Society Network of Liberia has quickly come in his defense.
Cllr. Korkoyah has come under serious criticism of late for allegedly being an American citizen, something he Korkoyah has vehemently rejected. However, some members of the public continue to call on him to resign his post stating that it is against the alien and nationality law of the country.
But in a press statement Wednesday, the Consortium of Civil Society Network of Liberia said it is compelled to give a definite position on the ongoing rigmarole of Chairman Jerome Korkoya’s saga involving allegation of his American citizenship.
“Our duty as watchdogs of society is to promote democratic coherence through a mode of peace and tranquility. Indicative of this pledge and obligation bestowed upon us, it is important to cite few issues from an informed perspective,” the group said.
According to members of the group, it is not who they are or where they are, but they have supreme duty to put Liberia’s interest first and not their parochial agenda. The consortium of Civil Society Network said after a preliminary investigation into the situation surrounding the NEC’s chairman, they have realized that those accusing Cllr. Jerome Korkoya of being a citizen of the USA are yet to prove their claim more genuinely.
“In our mind and from a rational context, this is a broad-day scheme to distract the progress of our democracy and freeze our upcoming and historic election. We have ascertained verifiable facts that those pursuing such a fruitless agenda to undermine the workings of the National Elections Commission under chairman Korkoya are nothing more than anti-democratic agents and detractors,” the group further indicated.
They further alleged that those individuals would do anything to oppose chairman Korkoya simply because he and his team of commissioners are resolute and uncompromising about enforcing every provision of the electoral and statutory laws.
The Consortium of Civil Society Network of Liberia also said it is disappointing and detrimental to the democracy for anyone to pursue chairman Korkoya simply because he is doing what is right and legally prudent.
“Though we may have different political interest, but our individual interest must never obstruct the smooth operation of our democratic process. This is unacceptable and must be condemned,” the group noted.
The group was quick to point out that they are aware that dual citizenship contravenes the Alien and Naturalization Law and as civil society organizations, they will do everything to ensure the law is protected, but what theyare against is witch-hunting, smear campaign and mere propaganda intended to undermine the statutory responsibility of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
They recounted the works of NEC under the chairmanship of Cllr. Korkoya and as such, he and his team must be appreciated for the level of improvement and hard work demonstrated through patriotism in the midst of limited resources.
“Under chairman Korkoya’s leadership, our country has had four successful elections now, which includes 3 bye-elections and 1 senatorial midterm election. And all through these elections, the citizenship, independence and ability of chairman Korkoya has never been challenged by those accusing him today,” they recounted.
“Is it meant to protect our law or is it mean to plunge our democracy into chaos? The latter would suffice in our opinion. If there issues of violation, the most appropriate place to run to for redress is the court,” the said.
The Consortium of Civil Society Network of Liberia is meanwhile cautioning those accusing chairman Korkoya to pursue legal recourse at the Supreme Court of Liberia, saying the spreading of speculation is an unfit approach to the situation.
The resolution was signed by over eight civil society organizations. They Societal Reform Initiative for Peace-building Network, Forum for Democratic Initiative, National Alliance for Transparency and Accountability ,Conscious Voices for Democracy and Peace, Center for Electoral Promotion among others.