Liberia: Ruling CDC Accuses Election Coordinating Committee Head of Being in Opposition Unity Party ‘War Room’ but ECC Denies, Describes Circulating Video As Fake

By J. H. Webster Clayeh

Monrovia — It is just a few days before the run-off Presidential election, and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is accusing the head of the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC), Oscar Bloh, of being in a videotape with staunch members of the opposition Unity Party (UP) in what seems like a ‘war room.’

Despite the ECC denying the allegation, CDC Secretary General Jefferson Koijee, during a late Wednesday evening press conference held at his party headquarters in Congo Town, displayed a video and alleged that the ECC head and Senator-elect Amara Konneh, along with other senior members, were seen strategizing plans for the upcoming run-off Presidential Election. Whether it was the ECC head in the video remains unclear. The map of Liberia is displayed in the video with green and blue colors indicating the stronghold of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and the opposition Unity Party.

CDC Secretary General said his party has written to foreign missions and development partners in Liberia, along with a copy of the video, to make the world aware that the head of the ECC has taken a side in the upcoming run-off election. “We have written to the international community, the US embassy, and particularly to USAID about an individual who is masquerading as a civil society practitioner and is receiving money under cover from the Unity Party. He is a card-carrying partisan of the Unity Party and is receiving money from the US government while deceiving the US government under the guise of a civil society practitioner,” Koijee said.

CDC Secretary General added, “You cannot sit in this city and begin to bring instability; we will hold you accountable. Oscar Bloh, who is supposed to be a neutral man, is in the Unity Party war room. He is now coordinating the Unity Party election, and the way he is doing it is to get people from the National Election Commission to steal the election. What is he doing in the Unity Party war room?”

A letter signed by its chairman, Mulbah Morlu, dated November 8, 2023, to Ms. Catherine Rodriguez, Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy, Benson Street, Monrovia, Liberia, and USAID Assistance, requests that the USAID Assistance to the Electoral Coordinating Committee be cut off based on “evidence that its director, Bloh, is working in close connection with the Unity Party.

“Dear Ms. Rodriguez, the National Executive Committee of the Coalition for Democratic (CDC) writes to formally inform you of the compromised actions of Mr. Oscar Bloh, the Executive Director of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), who was caught engaging in partisan activities in pursuit of the election of Joseph N. Boakai,” the letter stated.

It continues: “By his partisan actions, which include the abuse of access to privileged information pertinent to the transparent conduct of the 2023 general and presidential elections, Mr. Bloh has severely compromised the neutrality of the ECC.”

Also, in a release dated on November 9, 2023, the ECC denied the allegation that links its boss to having close connections with the Unity Party. The release stated: “ECC denies having any link with the Unity Party (UP) ‘war room’ as alleged in a video circulating on social media.”

It continues: “The attention of the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has been drawn to a video circulating on Facebook and other social media platforms in which the producer claimed that the Chairperson of the ECC, Cllr. Oscar Bloh, was in the ‘war room’ of the Unity Party (UP).” The ECC did not mention the ruling CDC, which firstly released the video. However, the group says the caption in the video and social media posts of a poster, Manual Fle Chea, claiming that its head, Bloh, was in conversation with Gbarpolu County Senator-elect Amara Konneh, intending to conspire with some workers of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to steal the pending run-off election, is far from the truth.

“The ECC wishes to make it clear that the video is fake and malicious, and that the person in the video is not Cllr. Oscar Bloh. Cllr. Bloh has never visited the data center or ‘war room’ of any political party, including the UP, and he has never had any conversation or meeting with Mr. Konneh,” the group said.

According to the ECC, it will never compromise its independence and will remain a non-partisan national domestic observation group. “The ECC will continue to conduct its observations in a neutral and professional manner and update the Liberian public accordingly. We are committed to providing an independent assessment of the credibility of the conduct of elections in Liberia,” the ECC stated.