… in Twah River District
What would be considered election violence turned out to be the experience of the campaign team of incumbent Senator Thomas S. Grupee, when some citizens of Soa Kpearplay Town in the Twah River Administrative District in Nimba County attacked the senator’s convoy.
What led to the sudden attack is yet to be established, but an eyewitness identified as Dehmie Bleh told journalists that the ire of the citizens was raised when Grupee told them to vote for Garrison Yealue if they cannot vote for him.
“If you don’t vote for me, then, please vote for Garrison Yealue,” Senator Grupee is quoted.
The witness accounted that upon hearing this statement, the citizens got agitated and began throwing stornes at the convoy, which subsequently brought the entire program to an end.
Several people are reportedly arrested and detained at the Karnplay Police Station. It has not been established which camp or supporter carried on this act, because at the time of the incident only Senator Grupee and his team were campaigning in that location.
Gbehlay Statutory District, which also includes the Twah River Administrative District, is one of the populated districts in Nimba that politicians consider a battleground.
In the 2011 election, it was the district that gave Grupee an edge over Edith Gongloe Weh, rendering him victorious in that election.
After the 2017 presidential and general elections, violence erupted in Varyenglay (home of Yealue) in Soe Clan between supporters of Garrison Yealue and Gunpue Kargon, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Kargon on electoral issues in District #4.
The incident left one person injured from what was suspected to be bullet, but no suspect was arrested despite the claim by the police at the time that it intervened and investigated the matter.
All efforts to reach Senator Grupee through phone and his media platform did not materialize, but he is quoted by County Inspector Mark Gblinwon as ordering the police to free those who were detained.
National Elections Commission (NEC) Upper Nimba Magistrate, Milton Paye, is yet to confirm the incident. He said his office doesn’t have anything to do with violence, but rather state security.
Meanwhile, Nimba County Inspector Mark Gblinwon has condemned the act and described it as “Barbaric, diabolical and criminal,” something he said the local authority will not support in any form and manner.
This is the first reported electoral violence in Nimba since the entire special senatorial election process started, although there have been some harsh talks on the local radio stations and social media.
As the NEC opens up the campaign season, following the lifting of the prohibition by the Supreme Court, candidates are all in the villages campaigning vigorously as election day, December 8, approaches. Among all candidates in the county, Representative Jeremiah Koung and Edith Gongloe-Weh are the big names.