LIBERIA – The Plenary of the House of Representatives has voted to invite before the body the Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and authorities of the Public Procurement and Concession Commissions (PPCC) to explain the possibility of holding the 2023 General and Presidential elections using the Biometric System.
The Plenary’s decision followed a communication from Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative, Thomas A. Goshua.
In his communication to the plenary last Thursday, Rep. Goshua stated that the NEC has allegedly breached the public procurement and concessions Act by awarding the biometric contract to EKEMP.
This, he said, caught his attention, leading him to inform the honorable plenary of the House of Representatives.
Goshua further explained that the lack of cellular network access in most rural communities in Liberia, coupled with the short timeframe, the biometric voting system may not work to achieve the objectives of the country’s democracy, which are transparency and accountability.
The Grand Bassa County lawmaker added that it is necessary to emphasize that election workers are only trained in the OMR system and may experience difficulties upgrading to the biometric system, not because of lack of capacity, but due to insufficient timing.
Discussing the communication further, Rep. Goshua said: “There is no possibility as it relates to the biometric registration being feasible at this giving time when we are just a couple of months away from the voter’s registration process.”
He added that “there has been no training conducted for staff to carry out the process across the country,” something, he said, is worrisome.
Also speaking, Lofa County lawmaker Francis S. Nyumalin thanked Rep. Goshua for the communication and said it is timely and in the interest of the country.
Rep. Nyumalin further indicated that “the issue of election is a critical one that borders on the continued existence of our democracy, peace, and tranquility as a nation.”
He added that “there is no need to overemphasize that the NEC needs to act promptly and appropriately. The contractor for this biometric process has not been determined and, as such, NEC needs to come and explain to us.”
Following the discussion, Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seboe made a motion to invite on Tuesday, November 1, before full plenary, the NEC Commissioners, PPCC authorities, and the Director of the National Identification Registry, (LINA).