Amid Vote Irregularities, Threats of Violence
Amid rising pubic concerns about charges of irregularities in the just ended Montserrado County by-elections on the part of the National Elections Commission (NEC), reported threats of violence against its chairman, Jerome Korkoya, by unknown individuals, have added to the already mounting tensions.
News reports quoting Korkoya reveal that a group of unidentified armed men surrounded his home last night in the Paynesville suburb of ELWA, chanting battle cries and demanding an early release of the by-elections results.
According to reports, the Police was called in, but the men had reportedly disappeared into surrounding dark areas by the time the officers arrived. No arrests were made and it remains unclear how this development is going to affect the ongoing vote tally.
However, according to a retired security officer (name withheld), the reported threat on Korkoya’s premise appears to be a staged attempt to convey a false impression that Ms. Telia Urey is so desperate to win that she has resorted to the use of tactics of fear and intimidation when abundant evidence exists pointing to a pattern of violence allegedly perpetrated by supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and “armed thugs.”
Citing several recorded instances of violence, which the report claims were perpetrated by CDC backed elements, the retired security officer said never in his over 30 years as a law enforcement officer, have the comportment and deportment of the Police been drawn into such questionable repute as it is now under the leadership of its current head Patrick Sudue.
Telia claims irregularities
However, in a related development, Ms.Telia Urey, Montserrado County Electoral District #15 representative candidate has sharply reacted to provisional results released on Wednesday by NEC, citing “gross irregularities on the part of the Commission. NEC began the announcement of “provisional results” of last Monday’s by-elections on Wednesday at a press conference in Monrovia, putting Ms. Urey behind her rival, Abu Kamara, by nearly 1,000 votes.
In her phone–in interview with political commentator and talk show host, Henry P. Costa on her impression about the provisional results as announced by NEC, Ms. Urey said: “Unless it is clearly established that the results manifest the will of the people, I will not accept any other result. I have been engaging NEC for hours, and up to now (yesterday morning), nobody is able to tell me how they came up with the unrealistic results as announced by NEC chair Jerome Korkoya,” she said.
It can be recalled that during the evening hours of Wednesday, July 31, the NEC, through Korkoya reported a provisional result of 4,540 votes or 37.89 percent for Telia Urey, the candidate on the ticket of the four collaborating opposition political parties, while Abu Bana Kamara of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) obtained 5,515 votes or 45.95 percent.
Korkoya said the total number of votes cast in the representative by-election was 12,265, and that, of this number, 12,002 were valid, while 263 were invalid votes.
Ms Urey told the Daily Observer yesterday that she had filed an official complaint against what she described as irregularities, which occurred during last Monday’s by-elections.
“We are still waiting. We will only accept the results that reflect the will of the people,” Telia Urey told Costa, a staunch supporter of the opposition block and the chairman of Council of Patriots (COP), a local pressure group that aims to push the CDC-led government to work in the interest of all Liberians.
As regards the vacant seat in the Senate, CDC executives, including its chairman, Mulbah Morlu have conceded, and congratulated Abraham Darius Dillon who, up till Wednesday, was sitting comfortably ahead of his closest contender, Paulita C.C. Wie, with a margin of 16.93 percent. Of the total of 100,519 votes NEC said that Mr. Dillon received 53,270 votes or 53.88 percent, while Ms. Wie, his closest rival of the CDC received 36,531 votes or 36.95 percent.
Meanwhile, Telia Urey, speaking to the Daily Observer yesterday, said she has been cited to appear at NEC at 11:00 a.m. today for hearing into her complaint.