— But Friday’s votes count put her in the lead
By David S. Menjor and Hannah N. Geterminah
Though Friday’s vote count put her in the lead ahead of her rival Abu Kamara, albeit by a rather narrow margin, Ms. Telia Urey, candidate of the four opposition collaborating political parties in the just ended representative by-election in Montserrado County District #15, has said she will not accept any result associated with “fraud” from authorities of the National Elections Commission(NEC) expect the Commission conducts re-run of the election in the district, free of any political influence.
Ms. Urey made the statement at a news conference on Friday, August 2, 2019 at the headquarters of the Liberty Party when scores of supporters from the four opposition collaborating parties gathered to celebrate with her.
She said NEC chairman Jerome George Korkoya is not conducting himself in a way an integrity institution should be governed, but is rather allowing his character to be dragged into the “historical dustbin.”
Stressing that the collaborating parties “will not accept any results that do not reflect the will of the people by denying them the leadership they deserve,” she added that “the election was difficult but one thing that we should make clear to the ruling establishment is that the will of the people cannot be tampered with when 66 percent of those living in Montserrado County sent a clear message through their votes that they are unhappy, and so they need change in their living conditions.”
Ms. Urey said the by-elections speak volumes of the fact that Liberians will no longer accept people holding the hands of “incompetent people” to lead any where in the country.
“We have been threatened and attacked… the attack at the headquarters of Liberty Party on Thursday, July 31, 2019, was not the first time we encountered such threat allegedly from the governing party, because our campaign headquarters in Logan Town was recently attacked without the police doing anything to protect the very lives they took oath to protect. This, of course, will not stop us from fighting for our rights.
“We are in serious trouble” she said, “where you see a small group of people acting like they are giants by attacking people, stopping people from moving freely and protected by the police, but we will not sit back and observe president Weah ill-treat our people… We will move if it causes us to lose our lives, we will!
Ms. Urey said she has engaged Korkoya since July 31 to have a breakdown of how they got the results from 64% of the centers, while only 50% were tallied, but they have refused to respond to her inquiry.
“I will continue to engage them constructively, because it is my right to know. I strongly believe that NEC should have supporting documentation of the results they have released so far,” Ms. Urey said.
Pres. Weah’s ‘prophecy’
President George Weah’s recent statement at the headquarters of CDC that never, under his watch as President of Liberia, will a Urey win any national election has fast begun haunting him, as Telia Urey appears to be defying the odds, clinching the lead in the District #15 poll, held on Monday, July 29, as at the latest count, announced Friday, August 2.
Although the NEC’s initial announcement of provisional results putting CDC candidate, Abu Bana Kamara, in a leading position ahead of Urey and five other contestants, the tide appeared to have changed as the vote count progressed which eventually saw Ms. Urey regaining as reflected in the statement delivered by the NEC Chairman on late Friday evening, declaring Dillon winner of the Senatorial by-election and placing Telia Urey ahead in the District #15 race.
Korkoya said of the 13,351 votes so far tallied in the presence of representatives of political parties, independent candidates and the observers, Ms. Urey obtained 5,573 votes or 42.68 percent, while her closest rival, Abu Kamara acquired 5,417 votes or 41.48 percent. Korkoya further said the results tallied and announced on Friday are from 74 of the 94 polling places in District #15 where Ms. Urey has regained the lead. Ms. Urey ran on the ticket the four collaborating parties — the All Liberian Party, the Alternative National Congress, the former ruling Unity Party and the Liberty Party.
Other representative candidates, who participated in the by-election, but have already fallen short of any hope of winning are Kelvin Morris Bayoh, independent candidate; Erasmus Daoda Fahnbulleh, Sr. of Victory for Liberia Transformation; Lemu Chapy Kamara of the True Wig Party; Amos Nyanwleh Tubor, Jr. of the Coalition for Liberia’s Progress; and Bishop Slebo Frank, an independent candidate.
“Based on the results just read, and in keeping with section 2.9 of the Elections Law of Liberia, I on behalf of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC, do hereby declare Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon winner of the July 29, 2019 Senatorial By-Election,” he said. With that pronouncement, Cllr. Korkoya said the Senator-elect will be certificated within the period provided for by law.
Complaints from District #15
The NEC chairman said the final results of the Representative By-Election in District #15 will not be reported until complaints Ms. Urey and other individuals filed with the Commission are properly investigated by the independent hearing officer of the NEC.
“Consistent with our procedures, results from the remaining 20 polling places, which constitutes 21.3 percent of the polling places, are currently quarantined, and will not be announced pending the outcomes of the investigations to be conducted by the independent hearing office.
Others who filed complaints are Gibly Sayedee Momo of the Telia Urey campaign team, who was assigned at four precincts with the codes: 30136, 30135, 30138, and 30437, while the second set of complaints was filed by Bishop Slebo Frank from precincts with code: 30188 and 30132.
Before the start of NEC Friday’s press conference, CDC national chairman, Mulbah Morlu, was seen at the NEC headquarters, where he reportedly held a lengthy closed-door meeting with the Board of Commissioners. Insider NEC sources told the Daily Observer that the purpose of the alleged closed-door meeting was not made public, but it was speculated that Morlu had gone to influence the results in favor of the CDC.
Our source said that Morlu’s alleged attempt, however, met a ‘very strong resistance’ from one of the Commissioners.
“The Commissioner even threatened to resign and expose to the public the purported plan of the ruling CDC to coerce the NEC to give results in favor of Mr. Kamara,” the source, who preferred anonymity said.