Gbarpolu Senate Election in Limbo

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Davidetta Browne Lansanah, NEC Chairperson (third from left), announced the preliminary results.

— As Immigration Service arrest arrest several with multiple Voter cards, others

The National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday fell short of conducting the Special Senatorial Election (SSE) in Normor Datando Town, Gbarpolu County District #3 on ground that the safety of its staff is yet to be guaranteed.

It can be recalled that on December 8 the paramount chief of Nomodatonau District, McGill Wleh, with support from his fellow residents, seized ballot boxes and prevented the election from going due to what he called ‘illegal attempts by aliens to vote’ in that part of the country.

NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah, said up to the time of her Commission’s press conference yesterday, the whereabouts of one of the 15 temporary election staffs was not known, being a sign of insecurity in the area for the holding of elections.

“More security personnel have been dispatched to Gbarpolu by government, but the situation is yet to be conducive for us to hold the election at the remaining polling places.

“We regret the experience, but there is nowhere in the world where voters ever voted in the midst of insecurity,” Lansanah said.

The situation escalated more when independent candidate, Madam Botoe Kanneh, who is leading the race so far across the county, was denied entry into Normor Datadno Town and assaulted.

Kanneh, speaking from her hiding place in Gbarpolu to her supporters, said the townspeople of Normor Datando brought out a masquerade (country deveil) and threatened that she may lose her life should she continue to resist the town leadership’s order to stay away from the remaining four polling places.

Some youth of Normor Datando town seized the ballot boxes on December 8, 2020 and took them to the home of Clan Chief McGill

Madam Kanneh arrived at Nomodatonau District on Sunday, December 13, ahead of the rescheduled election day (Tuesday, December 15) as one of the candidates in order to access the polling centres where the votes would be cast by the electorates. But as political fate had it, she was denied entry into the town.

From NEC’s preliminary results from Gbarpolu, as of December 14, 2020, Madam Kanneh remains in the lead with 4,722 votes, well ahead of her closest rival, Rep. Alfred Koiwood, who has 4,273 votes from the 139 polling places of the 144 total number of polling places.

Koiwood Represents Gbarpolu County Electoral District #1 at the House of Representatives and is a candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Fraudulent voters

Meanwhile, the NEC chairperson reported that a team of state security, mainly from the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), has arrested over thirty persons bearing multiple voter cards, as well as national identification cards of Liberia and Sierra Leone and they are undergoing investigation.

LIS Communication head, Abraham Dolley, confirmed Madam Lansanah’s statement about the arrest of the persons with multiple ID cards and assured that they will be properly investigated and forwarded to court where necessary, according to law.

NEC has meanwhile said the special Senatorial Election will be held in Gbarpolu before the stipulated fifteen days as provided for by the Elections Law for NEC to produce all results from the polls as of the day said election (s) take place.

The Commission also said that there was no definite answer as to whether an election was held at the remaining polling places in Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties but assured that updates would be given to the public today (December 16, 2020).

NEC said recently that 430 Voters who should have cast their votes at Gbarblor Public School in electoral District #3, Precinct code 15001, did not vote because the ballot box taken to that part of the country had a different county’s name on it and, as such, they protested that it was not intended for them. Also in Nimba County District #2, Tiapa Public School, Precinct code 33100 comprising two polling places with 706 registered voters and another public school, precinct code 33052 with 290 registered voters, did not get polling staff on December 8 to conduct the election

Fubbi Henries reject results as NEC declared winners

Meanwhile, Fubbi Henries, representative candidate on the ticket of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), has rejected the results in Montserrado Electoral District #9 by-elections, in which his closest rival emerged as winner.

Madam Davidetta Brown Lansanah and her fellow Commissioners announced that of the 25,501 total valid votes processed, Frank Saah Fokoe, candidate on the ticket of the ruling CDC, obtained 8,650 votes while his closest rival, Heneries of the CPP, obtained 8,542 votes, thereby bring the difference between the two candidates to 108 votes.

While Fokoe has welcomed the results, Henries, supported by his political institution, the CPP, has officially written the NEC calling on the Commission to recount the votes, as there seems to be foul play.

Although no particular fraudulent act was reported by the CPP candidate, he is concerned that votes may have been improperly counted.

For the Senatorial contest in Montserrado County, incumbent Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the CPP was announced winner following the completion of the tallying of votes from 1,983 polling centers.

NEC chairperson Lansanah announced that Dillon obtained 206,368 votes as compared to his closest rival, CDC candidate Representative Thomas Fallah, who obtained 120,405 votes and, as such, Dillon has won the race. 

According to NEC’s report, a total of 336,678 votes were valid, while 10,327 votes were invalid, out of the total number of 347,005 total votes cast in Montserrado.

In Lofa, former Defense Minister, J. Brownie Samukai, was announced winner after obtaining 20,431 votes from the total of 64,252 valid votes counted.

Samukai contested on the ticket of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). His closest rival, independent candidate Joseph Kpator Fofana, obtained 13,968. Samukai will be replacing incumbent Senator George Tamba Tamba, who contested on the ruling CDC ticket.

In Sinoe County, incumbent Senator, Cllr. Augustine Chea, won upon obtaining 7,459 votes or 43.62 percent. His closest rival, independent candidate Romeo Thomas Quiah, obtained 5,028 or 29.41 percent.

There were 152 polling places, which reported with 17,098 votes being valid while 1,302 votes were invalid of the total votes of 18,400 votes.

Cllr. Senator Chea won the 2019 Senatorial by-election on the ticket of the CDC and has been retained by his people.

For the House of Representatives by-election in Sinoe County District #2, Samson Q. Wiah was announced winner. Wiah contested on the ticket of the CDC and obtained 1,789 votes of the 7,517 valid votes.

NEC’s report has it that 517 votes were invalid, while the total number of votes cast was 8,034.

Wiah will be replacing Nagbe Sloh, who passed away a few months ago following a brief period of protracted illness.

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David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Liberian Immigration Service (LIS) should immediately release the individuals in their custody due to inconsistencies in the Liberian nationality (in some cases nationalities) act. There are a good number of past and current GoL officials with foreign nationality operating with Liberian passport on a “don’t ask, don’t tell basis” or what I personally would term as ” we don’t care as long as it suits our purposes” basis. Why bother the common people ? Why not arrest these government officials first ?

    The Liberian nationality law on the other hand is plagued with inconsistencies. It states for example that individuals of non negroid origin cannot become Liberian citizens. Liberia went ahead and signed the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness of 1961. That convention binds Liberia to its commitment to grant citizenship to stateless refugees residing within it’s territorial limits. By token of that, Liberia is obliged to grant citizenship to for example a non negroid Palestinian found within its territory upon application. The same applies for non negroid children without parents found within the borders of the Republic of Liberia. As a State party to the Convention, Liberia is expected to be compliant. Compliance entails inconsistency with the current nationality act.

    The subject of the definition of negroid is a complex issue not clearly defined by this law. Are Southeast Asians negritos qualified to apply for Liberian citizenship ? A Papua new Guinean could as well apply for Liberia nationality if sh/e meets other requirements not based on race. What say the law on this ?

    I say if and only if these arrested individuals were Liberians at birth, or acquired a foreign nationality in addition to their Liberian nationality, they should be released and compensated for unlawful arrest. The LIS should initiate arrests starting with government officials having dual nationalities instead of going after a weaker group. This is the elitism I preach about on here. Different rules for different individuals. They have a right to vote on an equal footing as any government officials possessing dual or multiple nationalities not provided for by the current act. By the way, it is common knowledge that non negroid folks are known to possess Liberian diplomatic passports legally. What better honor can be bestow upon an individual by possessing a passport shielding them from arrest whatever the crime or situation? Why not adress that first ?

    Finally, I could cite tons of areas where this law falls short, but that is not the purpose of this opinion piece, the point is nailed. The law should not discriminate against any single group of individuals, it should apply for everyone whether “elite” or not. I say release them if the are indeed Liberian given they meet the requirement in paragraph 4 line 1 of my opinion. Keep them no longer for a law that is racist and outdated.

  2. No joke! Senate election in Gbarpolu is teetering on the brink of disaster.

    In addition to Nimba, Gbarpolu is one of my adopted counties. I had considered Bassa as an ideal county to adopt (it still is), but because of Cllr Jayweh, I am having second thoughts. I hope the situation in Gbarpolu will be quickly taken care of. The good people of my newly adopted county deserve a respectful representation in the Liberian National Assembly.

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