Liberia: Bomi County Senatorial Candidate Diagnosed with COVID-19 as Political Campaign Kicks Off

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MONROVIA – Bomi County senatorial candidate Edwin Snowe may not be able to join the campaign trail ahead of the December 8 polls as he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 – to his own amazement.

Snowe who already represents Bomi County District 1 at the Legislature disclosed his COVID-19 status on Wednesday via a Facebook live broadcast.

He said though he has never felt ill or experienced any COVID-19 symptom, he was compelled to take a COVID-19 test to facilitate his travel to Lome, Togo for an ECOWAS emergency meeting which was scheduled for last Monday.

Rep. Snowe: “I’m being informed by the Minister of Health that I am COVID-19 positive and with that I’m currently at home. It is important to that I am experiencing absolutely no symptom. I have, however, commenced my medication. In the meantime, I am aware that this is going to impact my political campaign. As we all know the election scheduled for December 8, and at this time to get a news like this, whereby, I’m not feeling ill at all – anyway, that’s the situation.”

According to Rep. Snowe who is currently self-quarantining at home said he is aware that his latest diagnosis is going to affect his campaign activities but his campaign team would continue to carry out his campaign activities in the county.

“It is my hope that the Institute of Public Health will do what is right so that my next test would be conducted in line with the protocol. I’ll respect the health protocol by staying home. My meeting with my campaign team was by video. I’ll respect the health protocol by staying home and I can only hope that the health ministry would respect the protocol by doing what is right,” he said.

Campaign Starts

Rep. Snowe’s quarantine comes a prior to the start of political campaign which is expected to run from November 18 to December 6.

The opening of campaign was announced by the chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah on Tuesday.

Madam Lassanah: “Now, therefore, for and on behalf of the National Elections Commission and in my own name as Chairperson of this Commission do hereby officially declare that the 2020 political campaign period is officially open for the Tuesday, December 8, 2020 elections.

“In so doing, the political campaign runs from today, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 and ends 24 hours before Polling Day, which is 6 December 2020 at midnight.”

“I’m being informed by the Minister of Health that I am COVID-19 positive and with that, I’m currently at home. It is important that I am experiencing absolutely no symptoms. I have, however, commenced my medication. In the meantime, I am aware that this is going to impact my political campaign. As we all know the election scheduled for December 8, and at this time to get news like this, whereby, I’m not feeling ill at all – anyway, that’s the situation.”

Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Bomi County Senatorial Candidate

“I wish to call on all candidates and their supporters to go about their campaign activities in a peaceful manner. Please avoid rancor and bitter exchanges. Show respect for each other as you go about your campaign activities in line with the code of conduct concerning campaign activities.

The NEC is also calling on candidates and their supporters to observe all public health regulations instituted by the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health.

She urged on all candidates and political parties to submit to the NEC its campaign activities to the Commission to avoid a clash in schedule of political activities. The call was made Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court of Liberia lifted ban on campaign activities.

At a news conference on Wednesday, NEC chairperson Madam Davidetta Brown-Lassanah warned that the Commission will treat candidates and political parties on a first come first serve basis and aske candidates to honor the request to avoid violence campaign process.

“Please note that the NEC takes seriously the submission of campaign schedules by all Political Parties and Independent Candidates as per the campaign requirements issued to all aspirants during the Candidates Nomination Period.

The Commission will give full priority on a first come, first serve basis to all Political Parties and Independent Candidates who have already submitted their Campaign schedules. Absolutely, no two parties or candidates will be allowed to launch their campaigns or close their campaigns on the same day.

Hot Campaign in Bomi

Early this month, several persons sustained injuries when supporters of senatorial candidates Mr. Alex Tyler and Representative Snowe engaged into a violent clash in Tubmanburg, the capital of Bomi County.

Both are the two main contenders in the county.

Mr. Tyler is the candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), while Representative Snowe is contesting as an independent candidate.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred when Representative Snowe had gone to meet with his supporters at his political office, located opposite Janjan Base, a local business center and intellectual forum, owned by Tubmanburg City Mayor, Mr. Obediah Varney.

Mr. Varney is supporting the senatorial bid of former House Speaker Tyler. He came second to Representative Snowe in the 2017 general and presidential elections.

Supporters of Representative Snowe had gathered at his political office in the county to welcome him from Monrovia at the same time that some supporters of Mr. Tyler had gathered at Mr. Varney’s business center, where they normally dance to the campaign songs of their candidate.

The business center is located right opposite Representative Snowe’s political office in Tubmanburg.

Since the commencement of political rallies and campaign activities, Mayor Varney has been engaged into mounting his PA system at his business center to rally votes for Mr. Tyler.

The violent clash erupted when Representative Snowe’s military brigade, who were dressed in black trouser, t-shirt, khaki jacket and black beret riding in a white pickup, allegedly threw a sachet of water on some supporters of Mr. Tyler, who had gathered at the business center and intellectual forum.

The brigade is headed by one “Bin Laden”, Melvin Garwudeh, and Musa Dukuly.

Following the incident, an unidentified supporter of Mr. Tyler later left the business center for Representative Snowe’s office in a bid to calm the situation, which later escalated the violence.

Minutes later, rival supporters of the two candidates engaged into the throwing of stones and other deadly objects, wounding one another in the process.

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