Traditional ‘Devil’ Allegedly Attacks Leading Senatorial Candidate, Supporters on Eve of Extended Election
Monrovia – Disturbing reports from Gbarpolu County say leading Senatorial candidate, Botoe Kanneh and her supporters have been attacked by members of the powerful all-male Poro Society in Nomodatahum Town on the orders of the Clan Chief who is accused of seizing several ballot boxes on Election Day.
Voting in the town, located in District #3, Gbarpolu County, was suspended on Election Day when the chief allegedly ordered a group of young people to seize the ballot boxes for unknown reasons. The Precinct Code is #45039 and comprises four polling places with 2,021 registered voters, according the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The elections, along with three other Precincts in Nimba (two Precincts) and Grand Gedeh (one Precinct) are scheduled for Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
However, ahead of the polls, there are reports that Madam Kanneh and her team were blocked from entering the town on Sunday for the elections, while her rival, Rep. Alfred G. Koiwood of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was already in the town canvassing, even though the designated period for campaign is over. FrontPage Africa has not been able to confirm this report.
With over 96 percent of the votes in Gbarpolu Counted so far, Madam Kanneh, an Independent Candidate is leading with 25.68% (4,722) of the votes, while her closest rival, Rep. Koiwood is behind with 23.24% (4,273), making the extended votes ever more crucial.
The latest report comes barely 24 hours after it was reported that Madam Kanneh, along with the Collaborating Political Parties’ Candidate, Sam K. Zinnah and number of their supporters were stopped by the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) officers from entering the town.
It is reported that Zinnah has pledged his support to Kanneh. They, along with their supporters, were seen or heard demanding access to the town on grounds that Rep. Koiwood had his team in Nomodatahum holding secret meetings, while at the same time denying other candidates access to the town.
According to the Daily Observer, one of the aggrieved supporters of Madam Kanneh named several persons from the Camp of Rep. Koiwood that were already in the town. He named some as Gbarpolu County’s Assistant Superintendent for Development, Joseph Akoi; former District #3 Representative, Gertrude T. Lamin; CDC Gbarpolu County campaign Chairlady Musu Kamara, commonly known as Pro-Poor queen; Jormandi Kamara and many others from the CDC camp.
Legal Team Announces boycotting Polls
Speaking to FrontPage Africa late Monday night, a member of Madam Kanneh’s legal team, Cllr. Moiffie Kanneh alleged that some of his client’s supporters are currently being held by the traditional society in the town, while the candidate narrowly escaped the wrath of the traditional devil unharmed but terrified.
Cllr. Kanneh announced that his candidate was boycotting the polls over the unlawful acts being displayed by the traditional rulers of the area amid major national elections.
He questioned why the authorities including the NEC have not taken any action against the Clan Chief and associates since they took way the ballot boxes on Election Day, prompting the NEC to delay the polls in the area.
He blamed the continued harassment and intimidation by the chief and his cohorts to the failure of the authorities to hold them accountable for their unconstitutional actions.
“The fact that the Clan Chief seized the ballot box, and up to now we are not aware that he has been called for investigation, and the same Clan Chief again is ordering the country devil to go after peaceful citizens, is a call for concern,” he said.
“Our call is, first thing first, the elections should not go on tomorrow because we will not be a part of it. If they [NEC] go ahead, well, it is up to them.”
Earlier, the NEC’s Board of Commissioners, through its Chairperson, Davidetta Brown Lansanah, threatened to recall all of the NEC workers from Gbarpolu County to Monrovia for fear of their safety.
Madam Lansanah revealed that distressed staff reported that they are in hiding and some of the ballot boxes have been taken away from them again.
“Reports from our staff there say they are being prevented from conducting the process that will lead to the elections tomorrow. Again, we hope that we will get additional information to know whether, in fact the election process there will be able to go on tomorrow,” she said.
Asked what steps have been taken against those responsible for confiscating the ballot boxes on Election Day, the NEC Chairperson said because of the bad communication line, she has not been fully briefed with the actual happenings on the ground, but said its team of investigation was there ascertaining the facts.
“We dispatched teams to all of these ‘trouble areas’. And we continue to receive report from our staff. At some point we heard that they had to take cover, and that some ballot boxes, again were under siege. So, we really don’t know exactly the situation… But also I think what we, as commissioners need to do is to secure the staff and elections’ materials as best as we can, and if push comes to shove, we will recall all of them to Monrovia.”
Madam Lansanah also revealed that the NEC staff in River Gee County are still in hiding and all is been worked out to ensure they perform their duty without any form of intimidation.
On Sunday, she revealed that the NEC magistrate building in River Gee was barricaded with rival senatorial candidates’ supporters who, citing alleged voter fraud, threatened to set the building ablaze while the NEC staff were left stranded inside.
In an impromptu live radio announcement, she called on the Ministry of Justice to beef up its presence in the county to support the handful of police officers on the ground.