Liberia: Collaborating Political Parties Demand Re-run in Mont. County District 9 By-election, As Election Commission Announces Ruling Party’s Saah Foko Winner
MONROVIA – The National Elections Commission (NEC) on Tuesday announced Saah Teah Foko as the winner of the representative by-election in District 9, Montserrado County and his supporters have already begun the jubilation but his archrival, Fubbi Henries, believes the election was rigged and has filed a protest with the NEC.
“I appreciate my supporters for standing and continuing to stand by me. But, we don’t accept the final outcome and have raised issues with NEC,” Henries told FrontPageAfrica on Tuesday after the pronouncement of the final results.
Henries was a major contender against the late Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). His new contender, Saah Teah Foko, was an office staff of the fallen lawmaker.
On Tuesday, the NEC announced Foko as the winner of the by-election in the district his former boss had served from 2011 up to her demise.
The NEC announced that Foko accumulated 33.92% of the total votes in the District while Henries got 33.50%. This means, Foko won the district representative seat with 0.42% of the total valid votes cast in the district.
The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), the political coalition on which Henries contested the by-election raised their concerns with the NEC two days before the pronouncement of the final result.
According to the CPP, in District 9 by-election, scores of voters were disenfranchised either by the incompetency of the NEC or intentional transfer of voters in areas where our candidate was most popular.
Most of the voters, according to them, who registered at the Jokpen Town Market, one of many precincts in District 9, were told they could not vote because they had been transferred to Blamasi Town in District 17.
“I appreciate my supporters for standing and continuing to stand by me. But, we don’t accept the final outcome and have raised issues with NEC.”– Fubbi Henries, Montserrado County District 9 Representative Candidate
“The CPP condemns this deliberate act by the NEC and would be demanding a rerun at that precinct so as to enable legally registered voters to cast their ballots. Additionally, pre-marked ballots were discovered at other precincts in District 9 including the Don Bosco precinct on elections day. The matter was reported to the police and several observes documented the incident in their reports. We will also be demanding a rerun at those precincts,” the CPP stated during a press conference held on Monday evening.
Their complaint to the NEC, a copy of which FrontPageAfrica has obtained, reads as follows:
COMPLAINT FROM DISTRICT #9 MONTSERRADO BY-ELECTION
Dear Madam Commissioner,
Please accept our compliments with high esteem.
We write to officially seek your attention to some serious mistakes and deliberate acts on the part of the National Elections Commission (NEC) which undermined the credibility of the December 8, 2020 By-election in District #9 and threatened the peace of the country.
Kindly note the following:
- Many voters didn’t vote on December 8, 2020 at the Nancy B. Doe School Precinct Code 30385 because their voting rights were transferred to Blamasee Public School (Precinct Code 30358) in District #17, Montserrado County.
- We also noticed Pre-marked Ballot Papers given to voters at the Don Bosco Youth Center (Precinct Code 30406). This incidence was reported in the media and in several observer reports.
- Additionally, lots of people were denied the right to vote because their pictures were not seen on the Voters Rolls, even though their ID# and Names were available.
In this light, we are requesting the following:
- The correction in the Voters Roll at Nancy Doe School, Precinct Code 30385 and conduct a RERUN at that Center.
- Rerun at DON BOSCO Youth Center, Precinct Code 30406.
- Base on the turning down of several voters, we seek Rerun of District #9 By-elections.
Thanks for your fullest cooperation.
What Election Law Says
Section 6.1 of the Elections law says “Any political party or candidate who has justifiable reasons to believe that the elections were not impartially conducted and not in keeping with the Elections Law, which resulted in his defeat or defeat of a candidate shall have the right to file a complaint with the Commission; such complaint must be filed not later than seven (7) days after the announcement of results of the elections.”
Section 6.2 states, “The Commission upon receipt of the complaint of the contestant shall within thirty (30) days cite the parties; conduct an impartial investigation, and render a determination as provided for in Paragraph 2 of this section. The determination shall be accompanied by a summary of the investigation and the reason for it.
According to the Elections Law, “The decision of the Commission shall have the following effects:
- If any person returned is declared not duly elected, but has already assumed such office, [s/he] shall cease to hold such office;
- If any person not returned is declared duly elected to an office, he/she shall assume such office; and
- If any election is declared void, a new election shall be held.