The January 7 schedule for re-run of the senatorial election in Gbarpolu County may likely not take place due to a request for a stay order filed before Justice-in-Chamber of the Supreme Court, Sie-A- Nyene Yuoh, by the Senatorial Candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Alfred Koiwood, who is the current representative of electrical Distinct#1 in that county.
Koiwood’s complaint to halt the re-run is against the backdrop that the electoral body has failed to investigate allegations of voter fraud, election violence and irregularities that marred the conduct of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election in the county.
His legal representative, Cllr. Arthur Johnson, has asked Justice Yuoh to “Grant the petition for the Writ of Prohibition; issue a pre-emptor Writ to stay all orders proceeding and subsequently issue an alternative Writ against the NEC.”
It can be recalled that on December 8, the Paramount Chief of Ndomo Town, McGill Wleh, with support from his fellow residents, seized ballot boxes and prevented the election from going on due to what he then called “Illegal attempts” by aliens to vote in that part of the country.
Before the complaint, the NEC’s preliminary results from the county as of December 14, put female independent candidate Botoe Kanneh in the lead with 4,722 votes, ahead of her closet rival, Rep. Koiwood, who by then had 4,273 votes from the 139 polling places of the 144 total number of polling places.
However, in his ‘Petition for the Writ of Prohibition’, Cllr. Johnson argued that his action to go to the Supreme Court was based on numerous complaints he filed on behalf of his client, Rep. Koiwood, pointing out the motion for change of venue for the hearing of his case before the NEC’s Assistant Magistrate in the county, Willie Sumo, as one of the issues.
Another alleged complaint that was ignored was the petition for summary proceeding filed before the board of commissioners of the NEC.
In that petition, Koiwood had informed the board of commissioners to prohibit and correct the alleged illegal conduct of Magistrate Sumo, which the board accordingly refused to address.
Further to the complaint Cllr. Johnson argued that they filed a motion for stay order before the board of commissioners against the conduct of the election in the county, but the board refused to conduct the hearing.
Unfortunately, Cllr. Johnson claimed that while his motions for change of venue, summary proceeding and stay order were pending before the electoral body, the NEC had ordered for a re-run to conduct the election on Thursday, January 7, “and is presently engaged in the mobilization of its officials for the election in the county.”
On the issue of Madam Kanneh, the independent candidate who is leading the vote in the county, Cllr. Johnson argued that she had initially filed a complaint before the NEC, alleging the election violence and fraud against the electoral body of violence and fraud, of which Cllr. Johnson is claiming, had affected the conduct of the election in the county.
They added that, “until the complaint is finally determined, the commission cannot proceed with the conduct of the election in the face of the allegations as well as assigning the hearing of the previous motions, stay order and summary proceeding.”