In a chat with this paper on Monday, September 14, 2020, Journalist Omaska J. Jallah reported that the incident occurred in the Tombey Chiefdom, a stone throw away from the county’s capital, Robertsport, where he had gone to see relatives, and while performing some reportorial duties. Omaska, a Legislative Correspondent of the News Newspaper, who is also a citizen of Grand Cape Mount County, asserted that some group of voters had gone to the chiefdom to get registered for the purpose of the VRU, but were resisted by citizens on grounds that they were strange. According to him, the citizens some of whom are prominent members of the chiefdom, who resisted the registration of the “strange voters,” ordered the ‘temporary employees’ of the NEC not to have them registered.
“The [citizens] came and asked them (voters) and they said they are from here. And the [citizens] said if you are from here, please be identified by someone so that you can register. But no one could be identified among them. All of them seemed to come from town; no one could even speak any of the local dialects [Vai or Mande} or even the Gola that is closest. So the people prevented them, telling that if they are from different part of Cape Mount they should go and get registered there. So I went to the guys and reechoed the messages of the chiefs. While in that conversation, they attacked me. They took cutlasses, knives and other deadly weapons and attacked me. And in fear, every other person fled the line,” Omaska explained. The Liberian journalist furthered that aside from the injury sustained, they also made away with several valuable items, including phones, recorder and physical cash. The VRU process is conducted during every special election for three reasons, namely: to include eligible voters on the voters’ roll who have reached the voting age to vote (first-time-voters), to register voters who have changed location or for some reasons did not register in previous elections to vote; and to replace damaged voter registration cards.
Notwithstanding, while Liberians under the law are clothed with the freedom of movement, “voters trucking” is unlawful because one cannot vote in a place unless he/she is a resident of that area/district or county. It undermines the fundamental purpose of free and fair elections and frustrates democratic growth as it robs the electorate of their constitutional right and duty to choose their leaders and contravenes Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution, which states: “The people shall have the right…to cause their public servants to leave office and fill vacancies by regular election[s].”