Gbarpolu Senatorial Candiate Botoe Kanneh Kidnapped?

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Botoe Kanneh, Senatorial Candidate, Gbarpolu County

Emergence of country devil renews tension in Normor, Gbarpolu County, ahead of senatorial election

The Daily Observer has reliably learnt that the leading senatorial candidate in Gbarpolu, Madam Botoe Kanneh, has been kidnapped to an unknown location. The incident comes following reports on Monday, December 14, of the release of a ‘country devil’ in Normor Datando town, electoral district number three, Gbarpolu County, which has renewed electoral tensions ahead of the midterm senatorial election, scheduled for Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

As the result of electoral tension that started on December 8, when local authorities, of Normor seized ballot boxes, preventing people in the town from voting, the National Election (NEC) rescheduled the election in the town, while announcing results from other counties.   

It is not yet clear why a ‘country devil’, a common traditional character amongst some tribes in Liberia, is being introduced by locals of Normor, particularly during this electoral process in that county. However, a source told the Daily Observer that, because the residents observed an influx of aliens ahead of the elections, including individuals from Sierra Leone bearing Liberian voter registration cards, that was why certain youth of the town seized the ballot boxes and placed them in the care of the Paramount Chief, McGill Wleh. Since then, reports say, NEC polling staff assigned to the area have not had access to the ballot boxes or the polling stations where they are supposed to work. Now that the country devil has been released into the town, it remains to be seen whether the election will hold or be further postponed.

Despite the purported law-enforcement purpose for which the ‘country devil’ has emerged, neither the town authorities, including the Paramount Chief Wleh and the National Police and Liberian Immigration offiers posted there, have informed Madam Kanneh and other opposition candidates about the what is really going on in the town.

‘Country Devil’ practice also known as the Poro and Sande society exists among nine tribes of the 15 tribal groups in Liberia.

Speaking to the Daily Observer via mobile telephone interview Monday afternoon before she was kidnapped, senatorial candidate Botoe Kanneh, who is currently in the lead among the nine candidates contesting the election in the county, complained that she and her supporters were forcefully removed from the Normor Datando, due to Country Devil activity.

She said that though the election is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15, she might likely not participate.

“I was run out of the place by the country devil. They told me to leave the area. I was informed that the devil was out to come and kill me,” she said.

She said that the incident occurred when she was in Normor Datando yesterday, talking with the local magistrate about electoral fraud.

Madam Kanneh said the election might not be free and fair because the local authorities have decided to put the country devil out during the conduct of the election.

It can recalled that on Sunday, December 13, 2020, there was a renewed electoral tension in Normor when two Candidates attempted to enter the town ahead of the Tuesday schedule. The CPP Candidate Sam K. Zinnah and Madam Kanneh, an Independent Candidate and their supporters were stopped by Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) officers from entering the town.

Supporters of both Zinnah and Kanneh were seen or heard demanding access to the town on grounds that the CDC candidate, Hon. Alfred G. Koiwood, had his team in Normor holding secret meetings while at the same time denying other candidates access to the town. One of the aggrieved supporters of Candidate Botoe Kanneh named several persons from the Camp of Hon. Koiwood that were already in Normor.

Nomor Datando is believed to have more than 2,000 registered voters which, Zinnah says, is crucial enough to potentially steal the election from Madam Kanneh, who is currently the leading candidate in the election with 4,722 votes. Zinnah has already pledged his support to help Kanneh finish the race.

“It happened in Normor, where the polling center is located. We were denied entrance yesterday because the security claimed that we were candidates. But I noticed that the decision was not right because they were allowing the candidate of the Congress for Democratic (CDC) entrance in to the town,” she told the Daily Observer.

According to her, she left Normor to stay in a nearby town as the result of the restriction from the state security.

“But we later learnt that the ballot box at the polling center in Normor was tampered with. The name of CDC candidate, from information gathered, has been marked on the ballot box,” she alleged, adding that where the ballot boxes are where is where the CDC candidate slept.

“Somebody told me that the election that is going on is no use to me because the election has been marked with the CDC candidate’s name,” she added.

She said that that the local magistrate was engaged about the situation and, while sitting, people said that you are sititing here and said that my brother was harrassed by the people.

We learnt that people were given money to stuff bollots. The ampont was about L$60,000.

Kanneh also said that her brother has been accused of stuffing bollots. “The first time the paramount chief seized the ballot boxes,” she said. “It is not possible for me, because that they are putting the devil to come out and the police are doing nothing about the situation.”

According to her brother is been held hostage by the police that he been holding on to election boxes.

She said that people will be putting the deveil out tomorrow while the election is being conducted.

When contacted, internal Affaitrs Minister, Varney Sirleaf confirmed that, indeed, traditional people were using the devil to intimidate the citizens, but it is something that is being put under control.

“It is unfortunate that local authorities can use Country Devil in an election but this is something that is been put under control.

He said that his office has spoken with the local authorities not to use the country devil to intimidate peaceful citizens during elections. The Internal Affairs Ministry, he noted, has condermed the action of the local authorities and called on them not to use the devil to keep people away from the election.

“We have even speken with the NEC that the devil activities will no longer be heard and that there is going to be a free and fair election conducted,” the Minister said.  

11 COMMENTS

  1. Is Mr. George Manneh Weah, who is a certainly a KPULAH or traditional sinner, and non-member of the PORO SOCIETY of Liberia now using the COUNTRY DEVIL of Gbarpolu County as a National Election tool to STEAL the Senatorial Election now in Garbpolu County? Absolutely, this is a violation of the Customary and Traditional Laws of Liberia to return to the Traditional ZOE BUSH and bring out the “COUNTRY DEVIL” have him involve and participate in matters that are NON-PORO. Traditionally under Liberia’s Customary Law, this act, is a First degree Felony which penalty is DEATH or a Fine of US$100,000, the payment of FIVE COWS and 100 Bags of Rice and 10 TINS of OIL to the Traditional Chiefs and Grand Zoe of Liberia.

    Traditionally, no KPULAH or Traditional Sinner or nonmember of the PORO SOCIETY is permitted to see the COUNTRY DEVI OR ANY OF HIS ACTICITIES WHICH ARE PORO-LED AND PERMITTED.

  2. May I add, if a KPULAH or Traditional Sinner should prematurely see the COUNTRY DEVIL, being a non-member of the PORO Society, traditionally he could be compelled to join the PORO Society after paying the necessary FINEs listed herein or virtually FACE THE DEATH PENALITY for knowingly and interntionally violating Liberia’s Customary Law as it relates to knowingly and purposely invoking and using the COUNTRY DEVIL in matters unrelated to the PORO OR SANDI SOCIETY. Mr. George Manneh Weah, for knowingly violating Liberia’s Customary Law, he, Mr.Weah, by and and Through the Ministry of International Affairs, by and Through the Minister, could be cited to show why as a KPULAH or Traditional Sinner, he, Mr. Weah, chose to invite the COUNTRY DEVIL in town in Garbpolu County to participate in NON-PORO related matter, i.e., the December 8, 2020 Senatorial Election that remains unrelated to PORO or SANDI’s matters.

    Since Liberia has and operates under a DUAL Legal System, i.e., Common and Customary Laws, I strongly advise and encourage the Grand Zoe and Deputy Grand Zoe of the Republic of Liberia to cite Mr. Weah, by and thru the Ministry of International Affairs, by and thru the Minister to appear and show cause, why Mr. George Weah, a KPULAH, Tradition Sinner, and a non-member of the PORO SOCIETY, chose to violate Liberia’s Traditional and Customary Law by knowingly and recklessly inviting the Country Devil into Town.

    Under Liberia’s Traditional and Customary Law, only the Grand Zoe or the Deputy Grand Zoe, has the right and power to invite the COUNTRY DEVIL in town to settle EMERGENCY matters that are PORO OR SANDI related. Should the Minister of International Affairs refuse and fail to appear, the 15 Heads of the COUNTRY DEVILS, should travel from the 15 counties to Montrovia and demand that the Minister appear before them and show cause why he is not gulty of violating the traditional and Custromary Law of Liberia.

    The Traditional Fines could be double to US$200,000, 200 Bags of Rice, 10 Cows and 20 Tins of OIL for his failue to appear and honor the Traditional Writ of Summons issues by the office of the Grand Zoe.

  3. My God! The word “kidnap” is kind of foreign to the Liberian society. Maybe, kidnapping has been going on in Liberia for a very long time.

    I’m sort of perplexed. Usually, when I hear the word “kidnap”, my mind runs to the countries of the Middle East, South America or somewhere in Asia. Marylanders, the Kru and Gee county citizens do not have a Poro or Sande society. Women from that region are not messed with….you know what I mean.

    I am not here to fight the news of a fine Liberian being kidnapped. I’m not here to play defense. I am here to say this…..no one should be kidnapped (if the news is accurate) for any reason…. for politics or for any reason.

    So, if the country devils are involved, what’s their problem? It would ideal to know why the alleged kidnapping was done this time. Why didn’t the so-called kidnapping occur before the election? Or, to put it another way, are the devils trying to weaponize her? I guess no one knows except the very perpetrators of the crime.

    I hope and pray for her safety.

  4. This situation has too many moving parts. We are calling on the Justice Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs to intervene.

  5. Mr. Hney, Candidate Botoe Kanneh I am told is a member of the Mandingo Tribe. Traditionally, the Mandingo people are mainly KPULAH or Traditional Sinners and non-members of the PORO or SANDI Society in Liberia. This happens to be the key reason why the traditional Chief and Elders on orders, reportedly invited the COUNTRY DEVIL into town in Garbpolu County, Republic of Liberia to intimidate and put well-founded fear into Candidate Kanneh and her campain team who are usually KPULAH, traditional sinners and non-members of the PORO or SANDI Society operating in Liberia. Under Liberia’s Custormary Law, the Country DEVIL cannot be invite into town to settle non-Poro or non-Sandi matters. A violation of this kind, could subject the violator to the Death Penality or theTraditional Fines stated in my write-ups on this matter.

    For no cause, should the COUNTRY DEVIL, ever be invited into towon to settle a NON-PORO matter!

    The Elders and Chiefs of Gbarpolu County that invited the COUNTY DEVIL into town to settle a non-PORO related PORO matter ( the December 8, 2020 Election) relate matter, are allegedly guilty of violating Liberia’s Customary Law and could be punished by the Grand Zoe or the Deputy Grand Zoe as stated hereinbefore.

  6. Absolutely, the COUNTRY DEVIL of the PORO Society, should never ever be invited into town to settle a non-PORO related matter, i.e. the December 8, 2020 Senatorial Election. Whosoever ordered the traditional chiefs to invite the Country Devil into town in Gbarpolu County is guilty of the violation of our Customary Law.

    The Grand Zoe or his Deputy, should order an investigation and accordingly impose the associated fines.

    If the December 8, 2020 Election was rigged in Gbarpolu County due to COUNTRY DEVIL presence, NEC and its Board of Commissioners, need to re-run the Election in that of Gbarpolu County.

  7. Cllr Jayweh,
    I thank you very much for taking your precious time to explain what the issues are in the Gbarpolu area. I find it very ironic that something like that could happen at a time when we’re trying our level best to straighten things up in our dirt poor Country. Sometimes I wonder why my Liberian people do not fight hard to change.

    Maybe, there’s a bunch of mafia people who are organized as a crime syndicate. It seems to me that they are opposed to any form of development because of their selfish interest. Just take a look at Liberia, a country that declared independence in 1847. There aren’t any good roads. But year after year, money is borrowed to build roads. Take a look at the electricity situation. In some places of Paynesville, when lights come, in short period of time, the lights will go. There’s no effective running water system.

    On the other hand, you’ve got the NOCOs who “think” they’re lawmakers. The lawmakers ride in expensive cars…..cars that are supplied by the government. But what happens when a lawmaker gets a toothache?

    Answer: next plane to Accra, Ghana to pull an elephant tooth. But before heading for Ghana, the good-for-nothing lawmaker didn’t consider the fact that there are talented young Liberians who can be trained in the area of dentistry.

    When will our people learn?

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