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Should Mistakes Be Repeated? The Case Of The Confirmation Hearing Of NEC Chair Nominee

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

The ongoing confirmation hearing of Cllr.Ndubusi Nwabudike as Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has generated much interest with many groups, including political parties rejecting his confirmation. Principally, they argued that the individual holds dual citizenship as a Liberian and also as a Nigerian as they say that the position is so strategic for an individual with such dual nationalities to occupy. In my nearly four decades of practice in this profession, this is one of the confirmation hearings that have permeated every fabrics of the Liberian society.

I am aware that the crucial issue in this exercise relates to dual citizenship. Interestingly, one of the issues being raised by some, including Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson, is that this very Senate confirmed the nominee one or two times to occupy other positions. Therefore, it would be wrong to raise the issue of dual citizenship. Hence, it is from this angle that I have decided to join the debate on this particular matter.

With this ongoing confirmation, I try to avoid partaking in the debate. But I am constrained to reverse my earlier position or stance by joining because with such argument there were mistakes made in the past and such cannot be given reconsideration. It is possible that during the previous confirmation hearings for some posts, the issue of citizenship was not a matter of concern or was not lionized. Notwithstanding, this does not mean that it cannot be raised.

Also, it is likely that because of the kind of position he has now been appointed to head, much due diligence has been done. When one speaks of due diligence, it is an exercise to ferret the truth by meticulously and scrupulously cross check information and documents presented or made available in carrying out certain activities and functions; it is all about facts finding; making sure the information and documents presented or obtained are factual.

But in this present case, where this Counsellor has been appointed by President George Manneh Weah to head the NEC, this is quite different because of the nature of the job. Therefore, there is nothing wrong, should the lawmakers, political parties, civil society and others discovered something new to use in this exercise by bringing to light those things that were not considered previously.

Legally, this is also known as “DISCOVERY.” It is defined as “the act or process of finding or learning something that was previously unknown. There have been instances in which some individuals perhaps presented fake documents and later discovered that those documents were false or falsified, action can be taken against such individual or individuals.

Even, if a person lied under oath, and it is discovered later such persons cannot be disqualified. Sometimes the person is charged which perjury, which means “the act or instance of a person’s deliberately making material false or misleading statement while under oath.”

As I conclude this, let me not be misconstrued that I am taking side, NO! This is not the case. I am not against the nominee, but to emphatically state that there is nothing wrong acting on new information. In fact, I have no voting right, as I am not as Senator.

As it is said, “experience is the best teacher.” Since perhaps due diligence was not done previously, nothing is wrong doing it now because of the nature of the position and being fully aware of the country’s experience about elections

We cannot keep repeating the same mistakes, even though to err is human.

In Rest My Case.

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