The Supreme Court of Liberia has instructed the National Elections Commission to proceed with the certification of Representative Jeremiah Koung, as Senator of Nimba County.
The court ruling comes after months of hearing arguments into allegations of electoral fraud between Rep. Koung of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), and Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
In the ruling on April 8, 2021, the Court said, “Candidate Gongloe-Weh and her lawyers didn’t provide substantial evidence to prove their case of electoral fraud in the December 8, 2020 election.”
Earlier, the electoral body declared Rep. Koung as the winner of the December 8, 2020, senatorial election in Nimba County after looking into the complaints of fraud and irregularities filed by Madam Gongloe-Weh.
However, Madam Gongloe-Weh and her lawyers took an appeal at the Supreme Court, praying the indulgence of the high court for a recount in Districts #1, #2, #4, #5 & #6 in Nimba County.
However, following months of legal battle and exchanges between lawyers representing the two parties, the Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of Rel. Koung, bringing to an end the Nimba County electoral dispute.
The case, though, has ended; there remain two issues to solve in the county. First, District #1 that Representative Koung was representing in the lower house is now opened for a by-election, and it is expected that scores of people are going to engage in intensive and stressful campaign activities that may set citizens of the county against one another.
Lastly, the election dispute between Koung and Gongloe-Weh left the county divided; with the two major tribes, Gio and Mano, expressing disgust for each other. Koung supporters dominated by the Gio tribe and led by Senator Prince Johnson who himself is a Gio rained insults on Madam Gongloe-Weh, while Gongloe-Weh’s supporters equally retaliated at some point.
It may be recalled that one James Kabia, a supporter of Koung, used an invective on Madam Gonglow-Weh; something that Koung distanced himself from and penalized Kabia by suspending his membership on his team. The electoral dispute also opened the call for dividing Nimba whereby the two largest tribes will be politically separated from each other.
As the Supreme Court ends the case now, reconciliation between Koung and Gongloe-Weh on the one hand, and members of the two tribes on the other hand remain cardinal issues to address.