President Charles King of Liberia won the 1927 presidential elections with a landslide victory that earned him a place in history – but different from what he might have imagined.
The Guinness Book of Records (1982) qualified the elections as the most fraudulent ever reported in world history.
Suffrage was constitutionally limited to some 15,000 citizens, all Americo-Liberians, but according to the official election results, some 240,000 votes were cast in favour of Charles D.B.King.
The following year, the defeated Presidential candidate, Faulkner, accused the King Administration of permitting slavery, slave trade and forced labour within the borders of the Republic. Eventually, this led to President King’s resignation in 1930.
To this day, the former Liberian President still retains the spot in the Guinness World Book of Records for one of the most bizarre reasons ever – the worst ever case of electoral malpractice was witnessed in Liberia.
The elections were referred to as ‘the most rigged ever’ by Francis Johnson-Morris, a modern head of the country’s National Elections Commission.
King ruled Liberia for 10 years, starting his tenure in 1920 to 1930 when resigned in order to avoid impeachment. This happened following the publication of an international report on the existence of forced labour practices in the country.
American President Herbert Hoover briefly suspended relations to press Monrovia into compliance. In 1930 the committee’s report was published, and although it could not substantiate charges of slavery and forced labour, it implicated government officials, including both King and vice president Allen Yancy of profiting from forced labour, which it equated to slavery.
There were also suggestions about putting Liberia into trusteeship. As a result, the House of Representatives began impeachment procedures against King, who quickly resigned. He was succeeded by Edwin Barclay. Faulkner contested the 1931 elections but lost again.
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