In ANC’s District #17 Primary Dispute
With ten days to the close of candidate nominations, authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC) said they will announce the verdict on a complaint that arose from the Montserrado Electoral District #17 primary.
The primary, which was expected to be conducted between aspirants George V. Curtis and Abraham Sesay on the ticket of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), was postponed due to a complaint filed to the NEC by Mr. Curtis.
In his letter of complaint, Curtis said he was officially informed by the party, as a candidate of the district, that the ANC’s Montserrado primaries were to be conducted on Wednesday, June 21, at the party’s national headquarters. This resolve on the part of the party was after three other postponements without any justifiable reasons, he said.
He argued in his letter that on the day of the primaries, both candidates of the District #17 primary were present, including the absolute majority (30 delegates) of the delegates eligible to vote in the primary election.
Mr. Curtis’ letter said consistent with the rules governing the primary elections regarding quorum, the election should have been held, “but on the contrary the process was deferred to June 22, at 10:00 a.m. with consensus reached by both candidates.”
“To my dismay, my contender did not show up for the primary election as agreed, and delegates again were present in the majority, but the party failed to conduct the process without any legitimate reason; something which sparked a commotion at which time I was manhandled by the party’s private security,” he said in his letter.
An ANC insider, who spoke to our reporter yesterday, alleged that members of the executive committee had accepted an undisclosed sum of money from one of the aspirants to guarantee him victory at the primaries, a claim vehemently denied by ANC’s chair, Lafayette Gould.
Meanwhile, a letter signed and dated June 30, 2017 by Jeremiah S. Swen, acting national secretary general of the party, indicated that the action of aspirant Curtis was in violation of the party’s constitution, section 23 of Article 7, which reads: “Forgery, impersonation, misrepresentation, misinformation, falsehood, and manipulation of the outcome of the meetings and exercises that are intended to produce undemocratic results that do not reflect the true intention of party members.”
In addition, Mr. Swen said Rule #3 of the Code of Conduct requests that “All members of the ANC shall at all times be self-controlled in public and that they must treat persons with respect and hold themselves in high esteem. Partisans shall demonstrate the virtues of the party by staying away from all acts which are considered as public nuisances and other acts that are prohibited in the society.”
One of the delegates, Scott Sammy, who spoke to the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile phone, called on members of the ANC District#17 leadership and certified delegates to participate in the pending district primary. “We wish to use this medium to complain to your honorable office (NEC) about the postponement of the party’s primary,” he said.
Sammy said the primary was postponed from June 21, 2017 to June 22, 2017 with the quorum of 29 out of the 34 delegates.
“Both candidates agreed to participate in the process which was expected to start at 10:00 a.m. Unfortunately only one of the candidates in the person of Hon. George V. Curtis, Sr. showed up and the primary committee, without any justifiable reason, failed to conduct the primary,” he added.
He said on the same day, private security personnel of the party manhandled delegates who were speaking against the unnecessary delay of the process. This led to the destruction of properties belonging to some delegates. The party took a decision to postpone the primary for time indefinite.
“We, therefore, recommend to the commission to prevail upon the party to conduct the primary between both candidates. Because of the failure on the part of the party to conduct the primary between the two candidates, we as delegates petitioned the NEC not to accept any nomination of candidate from District #17, Montserrado County by the ANC,” said Sammy.