Press Releases

Bloodbath Was Planned

Mrs. Sirleaf on trial: the election politics was marred by arrest and intimidation If Doe Were Announced Loser (Courtesy of The New Democrat Newspaper)

Diplomats and foreign guests would have been killed in a blood bath at the Unity Conference Center had the Special Election Commission (SEC) Chairman Emmett Harmon announced that Samuel Doe had lost the 1985 election," Rev. Emmanuel Bowier testified before the TRC Saturday.

"Soldiers were posted in the bushes around the Unity Conference, ready to killed everyone inside, if I had announced anything other than what I announced that night," Rev. Emmanuel Bowier recalled Mr. Harmon statement in 1985.

Testifying before the TRC, Rev. Bowier, then Information Minister, said Harmon told him all invited guests including diplomats and foreign guest and every one else gathered to hear the official results of the 1985 would had been killed if he, Harmon, had announced that the Liberian Action Party (LAP) was the winner.

The 1985 presidential elections was widely believed and reported to have been overwhelmingly won by the LAP's candidate, Jackson F. Doe.
On October 21, 1985, a local daily newspaper photographed and published thousands of burning ballots on the Monrovia-Kakata Highway.

When asked to explain the burning ballots at a hastily called press conference, Harmon replied in that the newspaper which published the mounds of burning ballots must have been the very newspaper which burnt the ballots.

Blain Harden, reporting for the Washington Post Foreign Service wrote of the incident: "The charred ballots, which were photographed by local reporters and dispatched by opposition parties to the U.S. Embassy here, are the most dramatic evidence of what appears to be a wide-ranging effort by Samuel Doe's supporters to alter the results of the election. Based on reports from major polling centers across Liberia, authoritative independent observers have confirmed claims by the opposition Liberian Action Party that its candidate, Jackson Doe, won last week's election. No official results have been released yet by the government. Irregularities began one week ago when record numbers of Liberians turned out for an election that, in theory, afforded them a greater voice in choosing a leader than ever before in the 138-year history of this nation that was founded by freed American slaves.

On election day, opposition observers were prevented from monitoring voting at military barracks, where some voters were free to vote as many times as they wished.

Questioned two days later about this, Emmett Harmon, chairman of Liberia's Special Election Commission, said he saw no reason to question the voting. Harmon, a 72-year-old lawyer, was appointed by Samuel Doe, as were all the members of the election commission.

The Washington Post: "The Action Party claimed that all ballots from Nimba County, the nation's second-largest county, were taken from election headquarters in Monrovia and burned in the smoldering pile found north of here yesterday.

A senior member of Doe's government said last weekend that 95 percent of Nimba County voted against the head of state. Documents here show that the Liberian government ordered 1 million presidential ballots from a printer in Britain, 250,000 more than the number of registered voters in the country.

An observer said Doe's party has decided to announce that the head of state officially won 45 percent of the vote, while Action Party candidate Jackson Doe won 40 percent and other two candidates split the remainder of the vote.

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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
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