Senatorial By-Elections: Montserrado’s Joseph 55.1%, Bong’s Tokpa 47.8%

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Senators Joseph and Tokpa.

Amid voter fatigue, frustration, disenchantment and a host of other reasons responsible for the poor turnout in the Tuesday, July 31, Senatorial by-elections held in Montserrado and Bong counties, two men, Saah Hardy Joseph and Dr. Henrique Tokpa could be the candidates replacing George Manneh Weah (now President) and Jewel Howard Taylor (now Vice President), respectively, at the Liberian Senate.

The Weah-Taylor ticket was elected through popular vote in 2017. The election of the duo created vacancies in Bong and Montserrado and hence led to a need to hold by-elections to fill the vacancies caused by the election of Senators Weah and Taylor as President and Vice President respectively.

And as it went, the National Elections Commission yesterday declared Joseph as the leading contender in the Montserrado Senatorial race, with 4,386 votes or 55.1 percent, out of 7,960 total valid votes counted and tallied so far. His closest opponent, Bernard “DJ Blue” Benson, an independent candidate, received 1,689 or 21.2 percent of the total valid (7960) votes counted and tallied by NEC.

Unlike the case in Montserrado where the influence of the CDC and its standard bearer, President Weah, is yielding the expected results for the ruling party, Vice President Taylor’s robust campaign for Representative Josiah Marvin Cole in Bong County is likely to go down the drain.

Cole is trailing the former Cuttington University president, Dr. Henrique Tokpa by more than 10 percent. As NEC’s preliminary reports revealed yesterday, Cole has obtained 11,947 votes or 36.3 percent of the total votes as compared to Tokpa’s 15,735 votes or 47.8 percent of the total valid votes counted and tallied so far.

Dr. Tokpa was a formidable force in the 2014 Bong senatorial race against now VP Taylor. There were suggestions that he may have won the 2014 mid-term Senatorial election in Bong County; but after Court proceedings and the intervention of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Tokpa conceded and Taylor was declared winner.

President Sirleaf later awarded him the post of  Minister of Internal Affairs, after he had resigned from Cuttington University where he had served as its president.

NEC chairman, Jerome George Korkoya, delivering the Commission’s preliminary results at its headquarters in Monrovia yesterday, noted that of the 1,790 polling places in Montserrado, 127 polling places had reported.

He said the 127 polling places accounted for 8,056 votes or 7.9 percent of the total number of polling places. “NEC has recorded from the 8,056 votes counted, 96 invalid votes in Montserrado while Bong registered 722 invalid votes out of 33,611,” he said.

He pointed out that 51.99 percent of all polling places in Bong have reported, while 7.9 percent of all polling places in Montserrado have reported as well.

The NEC chairman said his Commission is pleased with the role each of the international partners and local bodies, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media, played in the just ended electoral process.

He said the Senatorial by-elections were conducted smoothly. “Polls were opened as early as 8:00 a.m. and closed at 6:00 p.m. without any voter who went out to vote left out or denied the chance to exercise his or her constitutional right,” he said.

Korkoya told journalists that up to the time of the Commission’s presentation of the by-elections’ preliminary results yesterday, no complaint was brought by any party or independent candidate from the field about fraud.

“After the close of the polls, our staff were able to begin counting and shared with five agents of the highest performing candidates the preliminary results, while copies of the same results were pasted on the walls of the polling centers for general and public view as it is important to always demonstrate transparency, accountability and credibility in our conduct of national elections,” he declared.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I hope the Election Commission will not make a request for money to replace representative Joseph of Montserradp County if he wins the seat of President Weah as Senator of Montserrado County. I just can’t comprehend why the Election commission and our Legislature will allow a sitting representative who term haven’t expired to run for another vacant public office. Where will the money come from? I will keep my eyes and ears open.

    • There was no law making it illegal for a sitting lawmaker to run for a vacant seat in the legislature. The good news is, Senator Sherman wrote legislation to make that illegal. There was a similar situation with Rep. Edwin Snowe, running and winning a seat in Grand Cape Mount County. It’s a waste of taxpayer’s money to run these back-to-back elections.

  2. Chairman Jerome Korkoyah

    I applaud Chairman Jerome for his mention of ‘transparency, accountability and credibility’ by the NEC in the conduct of the national election process of Liberia.

    However, making pronouncements and living by their creeds are two different things. One salient issue regarding the senatorial elections just held is the question being raised by many voters across the country; and that is: why Mr. Saah Joseph did not resign from his representative position before running as a senator? Is it not a constitutional provision? If it is not stipulated within the constitution, then why is Chairman Jerome holding back on making a full clarification to the public?

    The tendencies for citizens within a democracy to propagate rumors are always high, when the demand for information is outpaced by its supply. Failing to address public concerns at the most propitious time creates a situation where the citizens began to develop deep cynicism and skepticism of their public officials.

    The learned chairman knows that elections within democratic societies cannot be taken lightly, as it can be attested by the deaths of seven Zimbabweans in the presidential election held this week.

    Liberia deserves better. We are above such a fray. It is still not late. The Liberian people await an answer Mr. Chairman.

  3. Congratulations Dr. Tokpa and thank you Bong County voters for saving the country millions of dollars for by-election in Bong County again. The CDC, with the backing of its standard bearer president George M. Weah will be wasting government money and resources for another by-election in Monsterrado for sitting representative Saah Joseph vacant position. The President must immediately make funding available to conduct this unwarranted waste of money by-election for a pro poor government struggling for funds to help suffering Liberians.

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