As Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe emerges president
The Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) a body that is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession elections on Saturday, December 1, in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County was characterized with series of electoral dramas beginning with the announcement of two invalid ballot papers during the counting of the presidential results.
Another dramatic situation was the rejection of the nomination of three persons that were expected to complete the 10 members’ National Executive Committee to help the leadership to run the day to day affair of the association for three years.
With this scenario, it placed the new elected President Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe in a situation to wait for the March 2019 Convention of which members of the association will meet to fill the remaining three spots through an election process, according to outgoing President Cllr. Moses Paegar.
Prior to Cllr. Paegar’s intervention, the members had overwhelmingly agreed to nominate three persons to fill the space after the vacancy was announced by the Chairman of the Election Committee, Cllr. Fredrick Cherue.
It started when Cllr. Cherue informed his colleagues that out of the 10 vacated positions at the Executive Council, only seven persons applied and were qualified, of which they were asked to nominate the remaining three persons.
Later, a motion was proffered by Cllr, Augustine Toe of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) opening the nomination which the members accepted and the exercise began.
Surprisingly, during the nomination process, Cllr. Cherue decided to close the exercise after he realized that the three persons were nominated.
Cherue’s pronouncement turned the entire voting hall into a market ground that took hours to be brought under control upon the intervention of outgoing President Paegar.
At his intervention, Paegar stopped the entire process and recommended for the postponement of the nomination exercise pending their March 2019 gathering, where they would be able to elect the remaining three persons.
“We cannot hold the results of the election hostage just on the issue of nominating three members of the executive committee and so, the process will stop until March 2019, at which time we would meet to fill the vacancy,” Paegar told his colleagues who had decided to disrupt the entire process.
Shortly afterward, Cllr. Cherue announced Cllr. Gongloe as the winner of the presidential elections. Gongloe defeated two other candidates, Alhaji Swahiho Sesay and the incumbent vice president Cllr. Bima Lasannah.
Incumbent President Paegar did not seek election a second consecutive term, because the Bar Constitution barred him from doing so. Cllr. Cherue said that 289 votes were cast out of over 400 registered voters.
Gongloe obtained a total vote of 221, while Lasannah received 61 and Sesay collected 5 votes making the total valid cast to be 287, with the two invalid votes.
Immediately after he was pronounced the winner of the presidential election, Cllr. Gongloe in an interview with journalists said, “The Bar will not be silent on any national issues that would undermine the peace and stability of the country.”
He meanwhile applauded his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him and promised to meet with their expectation.
When contacted Cllr. Bima refused to make any comment on the process but told journalists that “I was prevented from making comment after the pronouncement of Cllr. Gongole as the winner.”
For Sesay, he said, he was happy about the election of Cllr. Gongloe. “We have defeated our intruders and the bar is now in our control. I promised to work along with Gongloe to ensure that the bar is strong,” Sesay declared. He did not name those he considered as intruders.
Other candidates elected were Cllr. Sylvester Rennie as vice president and Cllr. Bobby Livingstone as secretary general.