A lecturer at Cuttington University (CU), Victor Varney Watson, is set to win the just held senatorial by-election in Grand Cape Mount County ahead of the final official results that authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) would announce in two weeks’ time.
Mr. Watson who ran on the ticket of the People’s Unification Party (PUP), one of parties to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), is so far in the lead with 4,417 votes.
The unofficial preliminary result was gathered from 103 of the 171 polling places across the county.
Watson’s nearest contender, Simeone Taylor of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), has also obtained 3,013 votes, while Sando Wayne of the United People’s Party (UPP), Daba Varpilah of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), which is a member of the four collaborating political parties, obtained 1,802 and 1433 votes, respectively.
The three collaborating political parties in addition to the UP are the ANC, the All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Liberty Party (LP). They supported Mrs. Dabah Varpilah, even though Simeone Taylor of the ANC had already been registered and considered on the single ticket of the ANC.
His attempt to withdraw from the race was denied by the NEC due to late application after the four collaborating political parties had agreed to support candidate Mrs. Varpilah.
Meanwhile, Matthew Dablo of the Victory for Liberia Transformation (VOLT), obtained 1048 of the unofficial votes counted.
Mr. Watson is said to have contested in three previous Legislative elections held in the county, but did not succeed. Now is his fourth time, the moment he is about to realize his dream of serving in a Legislative seat for his county.
Even though the results so far posted at the 103 polling places will be part of the overall votes count by the NEC, they remained unofficial for now.
Victor Watson hails from Cape Mount Electoral District #3, the home of the fallen Senator, Edward B. Dagoseh.
Other contenders in the Senatorial By-Election were Kula Fofana, a former UP stalwart, who ran on the ticket of the Coalition for Liberia’s Transformation (CLTP), and is a lecturer at the Senje campus of the University of Liberia (UL), and Daoda V. Metzger, the lone independent candidate.
Senator Edward Dagoseh died at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (JFK) on June 1, 2019 after a period of illness, so the October 5 By-Election was held to fill in the vacancy created by his demise.
The late Dagoseh was among eight senators of UP, who were suspended for the role they played in the impeachment proceedings of former Associate Justice, Kabinah Ja’neh. He remained suspended until his death, though during his funeral, some of the UP executive committee members reinstated his membership to the party posthumously.
He became a member of the Liberian Senate on January 16, 2012 and remained until his death on June 1, 2019.
Meanwhile, Grand Cape Mount County Election Magistrate, David Armah, has informed the public that the tallying will continue in Robertsport today, October 8 for all of the polling places.
High Voter Apathy
As experienced in the recent by-elections held in Montserrado County and elsewhere, majority of the eligible voters in Grand Cape Mount County deliberately refused to show up in their huge numbers to cast their ballots.
The Daily Observer observed that there were no queues formed simply because voters trickled in ones and twos to vote.
Polling staffs, including party agents, and independent candidate observers, could be seen chatting, virtually idling away the time as turn out was reported to have remained low throughout. the entire county.
People not voting due to identity problem, others
A few cases of people not voting due to identity problems surfaced during the exercise.
One of the cases was with a 28-year old woman, who showed up at the Islamic Model School down town Robertsport to vote, but was earlier denied on grounds that her Voter Registration Card was replaced during the replacement of VR cards period, though she said she never participated in such process.
Musu Passawe said that she presiding officer earlier denied her at the Islamic Model School while her photo was identified and recognized on the Final Registration Roll (FRR).
When engaged, the PO at the school, said he saw Musu VR card, and the photo on it matched with the photo on the FRR, but he could not allow her to vote, because he was told by his bosses not to do so.
“She came here and we referred her to Robertsport High School. If she cannot vote there, then she should go to Latia,” the PO said.
From the 2017 statistics of the NEC, Grand Cape Mount County has a total number of 65,800 registered voters, but it is doubted by many, who have followed the recent senatorial by-election in the county that half of the number will be accounted for in the official results to be announced by the Commission any time soon.