— As Williams maintains compelling lead
What appears to have been a lifeline given to embattled former Speaker Bhofal Chambers by the Supreme Court of Liberia appears to be dissipating into misery if reports coming out of Pleebo, Sodoken district, Maryland County, are anything to go by.
This is because a rerun ordered by the high court into two polling places in Old Sodoken is not going the way of Chambers, who represented the district in the national legislature for 18 years.
Unofficial results from Maryland County District No. 2, indicate that Anthony F. Williams from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) has secured a significant victory over former House Speaker Bhofal Chambers from the former ruling CDC.
Williams, according to the results, has emerged victorious with a margin of 549 votes. In the report from Old Sodoken, Pleebo, Maryland County, it was revealed that at Polling Place No. 1, Chambers received 75 votes, while Williams received 350 votes. Similarly, at Polling Place No. 2, Williams secured 321 votes, whereas Chambers received a total of 47 votes. These results bring the total number of votes counted to 763.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) officially announced Williams as the winner after the October 2023 presidential and legislative elections, but Chambers took exception to the result due to alleged fraud and intimidation in Old Sodoken, his rival’s stronghold.
Bhofal Chambers, the incumbent lawmaker and House Speaker who contested on the ticket of the outgoing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has since contested the results of the elections after he fell short of his reelection bid.
The NEC final results announced in November showed that Chambers obtained 7,919 votes (44.84%), while Anthony Williams (Independent Candidate) received 8,105 votes (45.29%), winning by a margin of 186 votes, defeating the speaker.
The dispute arose when Chambers’ complaint for a rerun was dismissed by the National Elections Commission’s hearing officer, leading him to appeal to the Board of Commissioners and, ultimately, the Supreme Court.
Chambers alleged ballot stuffing and interference by traditional leaders during the election, claiming that his observers were chased away by the presence of a country devil, a traditional mask dancer used by local leaders to exert power. The precinct in question allegedly recorded more votes than expected.
After losing two complaints with the NEC, the Supreme Court, on January 12, gave Chambers a glimmer of hope when it ordered a rerun in “the troublesome spots.”
By that decision, the court had invalidated the result of the October 10, 2023, contentious legislative election, ordering a new vote in the area.
The high court said the NEC should conduct a rerun in polling places #1 and #2 at the precinct with code #27020.
The results coming out of the rerun process could be a major political blow to Chambers and his supporters who have tried in vain to gain an upper hand in the process.
It should be noted that prior to this rerun, Bhofal Chambers faced challenges ahead of the vote recount in the controversial race against Anthony Williams in Old Sodoken, Pleebo District, Maryland County.
This arose following the arrest of Harper City Mayor Mechizedeck Toe, one of Chambers’ key campaigners, along with Reed H. Harmon and Hodo Bedell. The arrests occurred after a preliminary investigation revealed that Harmon and Bedell were allegedly involved in stealing voter cards, which were then passed on to Mayor Toe.