–As Pressure Mounts
A coalition of political parties has denounced a recent statement of support to the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Cllr. Jerome Korkoya by Mulbah Morlu following multiple claims that the election’s boss has dual citizenship.
Mr. Morlu is reported to have read a statement on radio on Tuesday in which he claimed that the statement of support for Cllr. Korkoya was taken on Monday, April 18, 2017 by ten political parties including the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Union of Liberian Democratic (ULD), Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), Change Democratic Action (CDA) New Liberian Party (NLP) and the Victory for Change Party (VCP) issued a statement of support for Cllr. Korkoya.
In the statement, the parties said, among other things, that the calls for the resignation of the current Elections Commission Chairman as “untimely, counterproductive, and ill-advised.”
However, Representative Moses Kollie, chairman of the CDC Governing Council,clarified the coalition is not part of any statement of support for the embattled NEC Chairman.
“We did not sanction that statement. We are a coalition and if there was any statement of such, it will be a decision of the governing council and as far as I know we have not met on the matter,” Rep. Kollie said.
According to him, for anyone in the coalition to claim that a position of support is from the CDC is false. Rep. Kollie explained that the governing council, which is the final decision-making body of the CDC, is made up of chairs from the three political parties in the coalition.
Sources in the coalition said Mr. Morlu may have received money for the statement of support to Cllr. Korkoya who has come under multiple allegations of dual citizenship.
In the statement issued on Monday by the parties and read by Mr. Mulbah Morlu of the CDC, it stated:
“The following signatories authorizing the release of this statement, being political parties sanctioned by their respective leaderships, herewith express an undaunted resolution to remaining viable partners in fostering the sustainable implementation of the 2017 General and Presidential elections timetable, which is being conducted under the Chairmanship of Cllr. Jerome Korkoya.”
“The following political parties, being seized of the obligation to continually support and advocate for a peaceful and credible conduct of the 2017 general and presidential elections, henceforth interpret calls for the resignation of the current Elections Commission Chairman as untimely, counterproductive, and ill-advised.”
Last week, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, a leading constitutional lawyer, claimed that the NEC Chairman may have committed perjury when he took the oath of office.
The purported statement of support to Chairman Korkoya read by Mr. Morlu followed claims by John Stewart, a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that Cllr. Korkoya has a dual citizenship.
Recently, a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), John Stewart, accused Cllr. Korkoya of being a U.S. citizen. He said laws of Liberia do not support dual citizenship or make no provision whatsoever for dual citizenship, neither does the law recognize dual citizenship.
Mr. Stewart posted his statement and the U.S. passport supposedly bearing the name of Chairman Korkoya on his facebook page.
In the statement, Stewart explained that Korkoya’s U.S. passport bears the name Jerome George Korkoya, born in Liberia on December 24, 1961. According to him, the passport number is 40707800 and it was issued on 16 March 2010 and its expiration date is 17 March 2020.
The former TRC commissioner said he’s using the medium to call on Mr. Korkoya to step down forthwith,because according to him, Chairman Korkoya is a U.S. national, a foreigner who is legally incompetent to superintend the 2017 elections.
Moreover, Stewart claimed that Chairman Korkoya lied under oath during confirmation hearing before the Liberian Senate about his citizenship status; thereby committing perjury, a criminal offence under Liberian law.
Mr. Stewart, a professional writer and journalist, urged members of the public not to misconstrue his argument, adding he supports dual citizenship and feels that eventually the National Legislature will pass laws to address the issue.
However, for now, Stewart argues that there is no such provision for dual citizenship and therefore, Liberians have the obligation to respect the laws as it stands.
He urged the election commission chair to resign or be compelled to do so through court action.
Mr. Stewart also claimed that by virtue of his foreign nationality, Mr. Korkoya has no interest nor stake in the pending elections and that his action so far demonstrates that his intention might create confusion and then flee to the safety and protection of the United States as a citizen of that country.
Barely a week following Stewart’s allegation, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, a prominent Liberian Politician and Economist, insisted that Mr. Korkoya is a citizen of the United States of America.
For more than two years now, Dr. Tipoteh said he has brought to the attention of the public the fact that NEC cannot perform free, fair and democratic elections because it does not operate according to the Constitution of Liberia.
According to Dr. Tipoteh, the Constitution calls for a citizen of Liberia to be a Commissioner of NEC. As Mr. Korkoya is alleged to be a United States citizen, Dr. Tipoteh maintains that he, Korkoya, cannot serve as a Commissioner of NEC, not to mention him serving as the Chairman of NEC.
Dr. Tipoteh claimed to have presented evidence of Mr. Korkoya’s U.S.Naturalization Number as follows: 30628201, alleging that he (Korkoya) was sworn on December 21, 2007 in the State of New Jersey, United States of America.
Notwithstanding, Chairman Korkoya has told his accusers to take him to court.
In a telephone interview on the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) Monday, Cllr. Korkoya said anyone doubting his Liberian citizenship should take him to court.
He said it is not enough for people to make allegation that he is an American, but should take him to court and prove their case.
Cllr. Korkoya said he will not give credence to allegation on social media, but maintained that he is a Liberian and does not possess U.S. passport.