Gbarnga, Bong County – Victor Wesseh, the campaign manager of the Coalition for Democratic Change in Bong County (CDC), was looking forward to voting for the CDC in Tuesday’s runoff with the ruling Unity Party.
Wesseh’s hopes were dashed after Cllr. Charles Brumskine, standard bearer of the Liberty, asked the Supreme Court to halt the runoff until the National Elections Commission (NEC) investigates the party’s claim of irregularities and fraud during the Oct. 10, 2017 elections.
In Bong County, the CDC received 61, 520 or 40.6 per cent of the votes cast, followed by the Unity Party with 51,536 or 34.0 per cent of the 151, 536 votes cast in the county, according to data from the NEC.
The Liberty Party received 7,893 or 5.2 per cent of the votes cast.
Monday, the Supreme Court halted the runoff election and asked the NEC to review the Liberty Party’s complaints.
In 2005 and 2011, the CDC had concerns about irregularities in the 2005 and 2011 elections, but didn’t pursue its claims in the interest of peace, said Eugene Kollie, a spokesperson for the CDC campaign in Bong.
’Why is the Liberty Party complaining now? he asked.
“During the 2005 and 2011 elections, we believed there were irregularities more than what the Liberty Party is claiming but we didn’t go to court,” Kollie said.
The delay, Kollie said, will not affect the CDC campaign in Bong County.
The CDC has a vigorous campaign team that is prepared to tour the nook and crannies of the county once the campaign is declared open.
“Our team is a young team that is prepared to even do more in the elections,” Kollie said.
“The delay is a blessing in disguise for the party.”
Kollie said the delay can’t stop the people who voted for the CDC in the first round.
Prince Suah, 25, a motorcyclist in Gbarnga who voted for the CDC in the first round, said the delay will not deter him for voting for the CDC again anytime the NEC schedules a runoff.
“What God has approved no one can’t stop,’’ he said.
“God has already ordained Weah to be the next President of Liberia whether elections is held today or tomorrow.’’
Kunan Vesselley, a member of the CDC campaign in Bong County, said the delay will not affect the CDC campaign in Bong because the people are resolved.
Sheick Sheriff, Campaign spokesperson of Unity Party in Bong County, shares a different view.
He praised Brumskine for pursuing the case to the Supreme Court.
“All I can say is, thanks to the Liberty Party and Cllr. Charles Brumskine for handling their case under the rule of law in a our country,” he said.
Sheriff said the Unity Party is in a better position to win in the run-off election.
“We are prepared to whatever the case maybe.”
Tormue Queminee, UP campaign manager in Bong County, said the delay could give the UP ample time to make amendments in the runoff.
He said the UP campaign is more energized by the Supreme Court stay order because the party now has more time to canvass in places it didn’t do well in Bong County during the first round.
“The UP is energized by all of the things unfolding between the Liberty Party and the NEC,” he said.
“We will capitalize on the situation to keep reaching out to our people.”
Queminee is calling on the NEC to publish the final Voter Registration listing before going for the runoff election.
Old lady Bedell, 54, sells bitter ball in the Gbarnga general market. She is also disappointed.
“I had prepared my voting card, hoping to vote for the CDC on November 7 but I can’t vote now because of the situation at the Supreme Court,’’ she said.
‘’The only thing I am praying for is peace.”
Derrick Benson, 45, a UP partisan, said he’s discouraged about the delay.
The legal challenges might deter him from going to the polls during a run-off election.
“The momentum I had for the runoff has gone away,” he said.
“I will not vote if there will be any runoff election because I am tired about hearing one thing over and over.”