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Some NEC Nominees Fail To Impress Senate C’ttee …As Chairman-Designate Takes Stand Today

The public was glued to the Public hearings marking the confirmation of the National Elections Commission’s officials designate recently nominated by President George Weah to steer the affairs of the Commission for the next seven years.Interested Liberians attended the Hearing to really know who are those expected to conduct Liberia’s future elections being cognizant of the facts that many tales written informed that African countries with Liberia being of no exception went to war and killed compatriots, destroyed infrastructures because of disagreements arising from election results.
Having gone nearly 17 years of uninterrupted peace in Liberia since the cease of the civil uprising, Liberians have vowed not to revert to war, and as such, reminding their government to avoid vices that have the proclivity to plunge Liberia into crisis being aware that alleged election rigging precipitated such unprecedented incidents in Liberia.
Twelve opposition political parties have questioned the NEC

Chairperson designate nationality and called on the members of the Liberian Senate to reject his nomination.
The Civil Society Groups, including opposition political party leaders took this stance alluding to marred election history, and therefore implored President George Weah to nominate Liberians with high moral standings, independence with requisite credentials as well as having appreciable knowledge of the role of being a NEC Commissioner.
In contrast to the above mentioned, of the two public hearings conducted by Senate’s Committee on Autonomous Agencies and Commission (AAC), on Friday and Saturday, four National Elections Commission (NEC) nominees failed to impress the Senate’s Committee during their respective representations before the Committee.
With the exception of Commissioner

Barsee Kpangbai who took the stand first on Friday, the following NEC’s Board of Commissioners designates; Co-Chairperson,

Dividatta Browne-Lannsah,

Cllr. Ernestine Morgan-Awar,

Floyd Sayor,

Josephine Kou-Gaye, all miserably failed to articulate their respective suitability for their nomination and keenly; to assert their appreciable understanding for the function of the National Elections Commission.
Beginning with Commissioner Josephine Kou-Gaye designate demonstrated the highest level of that she is clueless for the role of the Commission.
Madam Gaye, a graduate of the AMEU and earned her Master Degree in Management from Cuttington University, has no professional working experience before her preferment to serve as Commissioner of the NEC. She worked as SALE ANALYST at the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC) and was a business woman.
Since then, Madam Josephine Kou-Gaye who is reported to have been recommended for the position by a high ranking official at the Liberian Senate, said besides the job, her second working experience; she provided consultancy for number of firms but failed to mention any.
Key in Madame Kou-Gaye’s Curriculum Vitae, was her experience in elections but paradoxically, she was asked by the Committee to list her experience in electioneering process, but the nominee responded saying, “ My Experience; I am a registered Voter. I lived in Liberia as a Liberian.”
When asked further by the Committee as to her knowledge about election, Nominee Gaye simply said; “I have no idea in electioneering”.
When asked why she had to mention Election experience in her CV, she said,” During the 2019 election, I was on a campaign team for a representative candidate but after the election my candidate felt cheated and went to NEC. We were not satisfied with NEC’s judgment and we later went to the Supreme Court- and that process gave me experience for election.”
“To admit, I never worked at NEC before. I am under oath- I don’t have to say anything that will go against me,” Madame Gaye told the Committee.
“Don’t you think with this kind of CV you have, it would be prudent that you inform the appointing power to appoint you to the LPRC- where you have experience as a Sale Analyst to help since we have some problems with Gasoline issue?” the Committee asked Madame Kou-Gaye. In response, she said, “I was nominated because I have been nurtured.”
Disturbingly, the committee again asked her to list top challenge or challenges if confirmed by the Committee, and nominee Gaye responded, “My Major challenge is, Coronavirus”.
“What do you bring to the table?” the Committee asked again. Responding, Gaye said, “Like I said earlier, I have Master Degree and I am a woman; we women always get things done. If we say, we stand by this; it is not easy to be persuaded. I also bring integrity.”
Also taking the stand was Floyd Sayor, former NEC’s data analyst now Commissioner designate, even though the nominee told the committee that his nomination brought integrity to the commission, but failed to explain how amidst allegations that he holds Master degree in editing numbers.
Mr. Sayor who has spent 16 years at the NEC beginning 2005 was speechless to convince the committee-to the extent that the Committee’s J. Milton Teahjay had to blast at him while on the stand.
“Sayor; you are not telling us anything as an expert who spent 16 years at NEC who had traveled to several countries on elections trainings. We are interested in policies such as leaving from manual voter registration to biometric system or digital system,” Teahjay frowned at Floyd Sayor.
Jim Tornlarh, “You are an expert; compose yourself, what I am seeing here, I think you are nervous. I would prefer were you to get prepared next time,” the Committee stated.
The Committee Co-Chairman, Henry Yallah could not hold back his emotion due to Floyd Sayor’s failure to impress the Committee following questions especially with huge expectations from him.
Senator Yallah in a rather frenzy mood told the nominee that there are lots of allegations levied against him from the public especially from politicians of being the cause for re-run bi-election in District #15 and in other elections.
He said the Committee expected the nominee to have used the platform to respond to some of the allegations levied against him but disgustingly, Sayor failed to explain himself to said allegation of manipulating data results as Data Director at the NEC.
As part of the nominee’s dismal performance, Senate’s Committee on Saturday dismissed the public confirmation hearing of nominee, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan-awar.
The nominee started her conversation with a vow to revamp the Elections Commission- while recounting her experience during the war mentioning 1985 in which she said her father went out and never returned to date, coupled with her long working experience within the judicial sector.
The counselor who could not convince the committee attempted to mesmerize the Committee on judicial theory, but was immediately aborted by Senator Teahjay.
With all the dilly-dally, she was called to order by Senator Yallah to mention just a portion of the Constitution that talks about the elections Commission, reform of the Commission, which perhaps could give leverage to her broader knowledge to serve as Commissioner which failed.
What was shocking, the nominee could not explain the function of the National Elections Commission as a Liberian lawyer.
The Committee, which felt infuriated by Morgan-Awar’s confirmation, chose to reschedule her hearing to enable her compose herself while Senator Saah Joseph pleaded for her for the Committee to only dismiss her for a while and allow the next nominee to stand which was granted by the Committee.
Upon the completion of the next nominee hearing, the Committee felt reluctant to ask her further questions and allowed her to read more about the function as a Commissioner if she could be confirmed by the Committee.
Interestingly; NEC’s Co-Chairman, Dividatta Browne-Lannsah who was re-nominated after spending seven years as Commissioner of NEC, also failed to impress the Committee as well.
The NEC Co-Chair designate often time of her hearing asked for time to do more research to respond to some of the key questions especially questions relative to the 2017 Elections.
She was asked to explain her knowledge about the 2017 Elections of which the Liberty Party delayed the elections’ results until Supreme Court ruled, but the Co-Chairperson designate failed further being mute for roughly an a minute and asked for time to research before responding.
River Cess County Senator, Dallas Gueh, also asked commissioner designate to comment on the domicile clauses in which the NEC ruled before the 2017 Elections, but also remained tightlipped and asked for more time.
Political pundits believe that despite the discouraging performance of the nominees, the Senate will still confirm them. The Committee said that this was not the first time President George Weah appointed public officials that performed dismally at the Liberian Legislature and was still confirmed.
According the political observers, the first to be noticed was Minister Nathaniel F. McGill’s sister, Rebecca McGill, now Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Finance, was one Minister who poorly performed when she appeared before the Committee’s on Ways, Means and Finance.
The Minister disappointed the Committee to the extent that the late Senator Edward Dagoseh asked her to define fiscal policy in which she sadly responded,” Jesus!!. yet, she was confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Committee has invited the presence of all political party leaders to the confirmation hearing of the NEC Boss today at the Legislature.
The Committee Chairman said, his confirmation hearing will be held by 12 noon at the joint Chambers of the Legislature.

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