Ahead of the upcoming voter registration (VR), the Daily Observer has reliably learnt that unscrupulous individuals have started importing some of their distant relatives into the country to register to vote.
Under the new Election Law, anyone engaged in the trucking of voters from one district to another to register and vote in their favor faces serious punishment, including being denied the opportunity to contest in the ensuing elections.
The law also provides the opportunity for residents to challenge the registration of people whom they believe have not resided in the district prior to the voter registration process.
Based on that, this newspaper recently obtained information that about 100 persons of foreign origin who have arrived in Montserrado County and are reportedly being housed in Electoral District #2 waiting to register to vote in this year’s presidential and representative elections.
Three of the alleged aliens are being identified by our investigation as Fatumatta Jabateh, Mariamu Konneh, and Seku Daliwar. They were reportedly brought into the country recently from Guinea to honor a call by one of their kinsmen, who is said to be seeking election to the Legislature.
While authorities of the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) are yet to speak on the allegation, a few of the aliens have confirmed to the Daily Observer that they are in the country to take part in the voter registration.
“We came from Guinea about two weeks ago, but stopped few weeks in Lofa County before reaching Monrovia. Our uncle Kanneh paid our car pay, and he is feeding us every day since we arrived in Monrovia,” Ms. Jabateh, who struggled to speak Liberian English, told our reporter through an interpreter.
Also speaking, Seku Daliwar, who said he came from Macenta, Guinea, claimed he does not know Monrovia and as such, he and most of the others who travelled for the VR process have to stay in one place in the Zota Community, Jacob Town for now as they are learning how to respond to questions such as,
“What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from? Who can tell people that you are a Liberian citizen?”
Journalists who visited a nearby kiosk discovered that the place was frequented by people whose names are reportedly written on a sheet of paper and submitted to the owner to be served breakfast whenever they show up.
“Some strange looking people come here nowadays to have tea, and also come in the evening to do likewise with the bill submitted to unknown individuals in the district; but we don’t know many of them,” a female resident remarked in apparent anger.
Sources in the district name Representative Sekou Kanneh as the person behind the reported trucking of voters.
One of the residents, identified as Mohammed Dauda Keita, identified Rep. Kanneh as the one who has trucked about 50 persons into the country to register during the upcoming voter registration.
According to Mr. Keita, a few days ago, Rep. Kanneh reportedly sent one “Bagayoko” with money to purchase five bags of rice and ingredients for making soup for Kanneh’s “visitors,” many of whom now reside adjacent to the Otis Drug Store in Jacob Town.
Authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) have warned against trucking of potential voters, an act NEC says is in violation of its revised law.
Meanwhile, Rep. Kanneh in an interview has denied trucking anybody into the country.
He then challenged anyone making such a claim to take him to court to prove their case “or else keep quiet.”
“Let those making such claims take me to court if they think I have trucked people into the country for any reason whatsoever. In fact, as we speak, I am bereaved,” said Rep. Kanneh before hanging up the phone.