Voters’ Registration Problems Worsen

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
May 11, 2005


The problems associated with voters’ registrations across the country have worsened with residents of Mamba chiefdom and other areas raising alarm while the UN Mission admits that it has yet to start registrations in 40 centers.

Based on the statistics of voters’ registration provided last week, a total of 280,950 persons has registered since the commencement of the registration exercise across the country.

According to the document provided by the National Elections Commission (NEC), Region One - the region that includes Montserrado, Margi and Grand Bassa registered 171,224 persons, while Region Two, which consists of Lofa, Gbarpolu, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties registered a total of 26,766.

Region Three (Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh counties) has registered 58,082, while River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe and River Cess registered 24,878 voters.

Sounding the alarm is the paramount chief of Mamba, Rueben Duo. According to him, the areas that were identified in the chiefdom for the establishment of centers were later relocated to the main road by the Commission without making it known to them or requesting their input.

Paramount Chief Duo maintained that, that the Commission’s decision has created serious problems for the elderly and disabled population who cannot afford to walk the distance (over five hours walk) to register.

According to him, if noting is done to ensure that the registration is conducted in centers previous agreed upon (in the Mamba area), the majority of the eligible voters from this area will be disenfranchised.

In response to the numerous complains made the people, Mr. David Singh, the UNMIL Electoral Media Division Advisor acknowledged the problems with the process.

According to him, there are over 40 centers across the countries which have not begun work. He stated further that presently, there are ten centers in Grand Bassa County, 12 in Lofa County and 4 in Margibi County that have not begun work. The UNMIL official made the statement during the regular press briefing.

In a related development, an aspirant for the House of Representative from Constituency Number 8, which consists of Logan Town, Bushrod Island, Mr. Benjamin Darpoh expressed serious concern about the slow pace in the on going national voters’ registration exercise.

Aspirant Darpoh, a senior student at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, said the voters’ registration exercise is not encouraging and as such, he is appealing to the NTGL to declare a voter's registration day to enable more Liberians to register to vote.

He said some of the citizens wishing to register are finding it difficult if not impossible to register because of their very busy schedules.