Tomorrow Liberian elections officials are to announce the results of the November 8th presidential run-off poll. But first they will have to decide if allegations of fraud brought by candidate George Weah’s party, the Congress for Democratic Change, are valid.
One of the first-round candidates, Togba-Nah Tipoteh of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, supports Mr. Weah in the run-off. Dr. Tipoteh told English to Africa reporter James Butty that Mr. Weah’s allegations fall into two categories: the first is fraud and the second is the statement by National Elections Commission Chair Frances Johnson-Morris on November 8th castigating Mr. Weah, a comment Dr. Tipoteh said was tantamount to campaigning for Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf. Dr. Tipoteh says the allegations of fraud relate to pre-marked ballots and election officials changing ballot boxes at the CDB King polling station in Monrovia. He acknowledges that he doesn’t know how widespread and significant the alleged fraud was and what its impact on the overall results may have been, but Dr. Tipoteh says the Weah team believes the allegations must be investigated.
Citing what he calls concrete evidence from recent Liberian history, Dr. Tipoteh says violence tends to follow failed elections. He says for that reason Mr. Weah wants to make sure the 2005 elections were free and fair before the results are accepted. Dr. Tipoteh says he will accept any government that comes out of a fair election process. He rejects the suggestion that Mr. Weah lost the run-off election because he and his supporters were busy celebrating their first round victory and failed to regroup for the run-off.
Dr. Tipoteh says Liberians should not make the same mistakes they made in 1985 and 1997, when elections were declared free and fair only to be followed by violence. Dr. Tipoteh says the complaints must go through due process and that the way to bringing about peace in Liberia is for all responsible Liberians to call on the people to be calm. He says the Weah team asked the Supreme Court to stop the counting process, but the court told them to first take their complaints to the National Election Commission.