Telia Urey’s Letter to NEC Chairman Jerome G. Korkoya on Montserrado County District #15 Electoral Violence

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Cllr. Jerome Korkoya
Chairman
National Elections Commission
9th Street Sinkor
Monrovia, Liberia

August 19, 2019
Dear Chairman Korkoya

I write this letter of complaint to The Board of Commissioners regarding the electoral conflict, violence, and threats we are faced with in District 15 that have the propensity to breakdown the electoral process and threaten the peace and stability in the country. I am asking that this body takes action to protect our democracy and ensure that our elections are conducted in a free and fair manner.

As I write this letter, twelve of our leaders and supporters in Logan Town have had to flee their homes since Thursday (including women with children) to seek refuge in hidden areas due to harassment and threats being made to them and their families by supporters of Abu Kamara. These cases have increased daily and has become alarming.

On July 27th, our Headquarters was attacked by supporters of Abu Kamara. This came as a result of Kamara’s camp not following the route the Magistrate instructed them to follow for the closing rallies. After a meeting on July 26th, it was agreed how we would control movement to avoid conflicts. To our utmost surprise, CDC disregarded the agreement and lawlessly took over our route, leaving us stuck at our headquarters in fear of confrontation. While being barricaded by police, CDCians began stoning our Headquarters. These attacks were carried out for over 6 hours, leaving over 25 of our supporters injured on that day (Pictures and videos attached). Some of these victims were in very critical condition. Our headquarters was also destructed.

On three separate occasions, I went out in communities in Logan Town and was harassed by Abu Kamara’s supporters. The last of these incidents was on Saturday, August 17, 2019, when I went to visit a Bishop at Kingdom Embassy Church. After leaving the meeting, I was followed by a group of men loyal to Abu Kamara. Speaking through megaphones, they began abusing us and making negative and provocative statements- that I am a stranger to Logan Town and not welcome in that community or anywhere in Logan Town. The harassers followed us and then begun throwing rocks and objects at us, forcing us to leave the community.

While in a meeting at Hon. Kelvin Bayoh’s residence (one of the contestants in the ongoing Dist. 15 By-election) on August 19th, we were again attacked by CDCians. The building in which we were meeting was heavily vandalized and were held locked up in it for 2 hours. In that period, I was almost stabbed and perpetrators spilled gas around the building in an attempt to burn it down. As a result of their violent actions, I sustained several injuries. Mr. Momo Sambola, Vice Chairman of the All Liberian Party (ALP) was also wounded along with several other partisans and supporters. With the help of a resident, we were able to flee. This attack was a direct assassination attempt. In an attempt to evacuate, my vehicle was also attacked and severely damaged by these people. The attacks were so prevalent that scores of our people were again wounded. I have attached videos and pictures to this letter.

The public comments and posture of CDCians are direct threats to our lives. They have maintained that they will make these areas inaccessible for me through violence. They have also threatened and intimidated my campaign team, instilling fear in them and sending some people into hiding. This is a direct ploy to keep us away from the polls for the re-run. We saw this happen at quarantined area Donald Karanas on election day.

Their message about Abu Kamara owning Logan Town and me being a stranger has been adopted by extremists in their mix and has begun threatening the peace of our district. The reality is that out of the 47 centers that have been tallied for Logan Town, Abu Kamara has won 27 and I have won 20. Additionally, out of the total centers tallied, I have won 52 centers out of 94.Therefore, this is a divisive illusion meant to stir up hatred and division.

The situation we are faced with in District 15 is a threat to our democracy and democratic processes. The level of electoral violence, instilling of fear, and harassment has made it impossible for residents of the district to freely associate with us, express themselves, and canvass for us around the district. It will also make it harder for everyone on election day. This is not a leveled playing field and has a damaging effect on our electoral activities. Moreover, it violates the basic democratic rights of residents.

With this, we are asking NEC to immediately take action. We cannot freely campaign in the district with current injuries and threats to our lives. To strengthen democracy, further development, and ensure long-lasting peace and stability in Liberia, elections must be conducted with the highest degree of freedom and fairness. Only then can we say that the democratic rights of our citizens are respected and their will to have a leader who represents them and that they can hold accountable is truly respected. This is the foundation of the democratic principle of political equality and the only means to which our democracy is strengthened.

Sincerely,

Telia J. Urey
Candidate
District 15

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