‘Battle Cry’ At Korkoyah’s Gate: Liberia’s Election Chief Reveals Threat to Burn His Home

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FEELING SCARED: “Last night, between 6 and 7pm, the security reported that more than 20 some up men came at my gate singing battle cry or whatever they called that, and then demanded that if election results were not given, they will burn down my house with the people in there. So, everybody was scared. They called me. I was just leaving work. I immediately called the minister of justice who was gracious enough to send some police officers to help provide security, and they are currently here.”
– Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, Chair, National Elections Commission

Monrovia – As Liberians await the results of the contentious District No. 15 Montserrado County Legislative race, the head of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah says unknown gun men showed up on the premises of his home in the early evening hours Thursday chanting battle cries and threatening to burn down his house.

Speaking to the VOA Daybreak Africa Friday morning, Cllr. Korkoya said the incident took place just when he was about to leave his office. “Last night, between 6 and 7pm, the security reported that more than 20 some up men came at my gate singing battle cry or whatever they called that, and then demanded that if election results were not given, they will burn down my house with the people in there. So, everybody was scared. They called me. I was just leaving work. I immediately called the minister of justice who was gracious enough to send some police officers to help provide security, and they are currently here.”

Looking into Complaints

Asked whether he had any idea who was chanting the battle cries, Cllr. Korkoya said he did not. “No. I don’t know which group was doing that, and the security did not describe the kind of chant they were chanting. But he told us that there were more men that came here and threatened to burn the place.”

Asked while his commission was taking so long to announce the final results of the by-elections in District No. 15, Cllr. Korkoya said it is not unusual.

Said Cllr. Korkoyah: “The timeline stipulated by the constitution is 15 days within which we can give results. And, several factors are taken into consideration. It depends on the kind of election, and Montserrado is a highly contested county. It’s a very, very, very tough, and under the law, once you have complaints being filed by any of the candidates or any of the candidates for that matter, you have to resolve that before you even proceed.”

The NEC boss said the commission is looking into complaints of foul play. “So, what we have here is that we have complaints alleging some foul play at least four precincts in district 15. The complaint was filed by two of the candidates in the representative race, including Ms. Urey. So, based on that complaint, we ordered that the results from those precincts be quarantined.

Maybe we may have to recheck the ballots. And so, initial conference was held Thursday with the complainants, and i think our independent hearing office will immediately begin investigation. So, we have to conclude that before we can proceed with the further reporting on the representative side. For the senate, we have completed about 98 percent which we might be announcing Friday”.

In numbers released so far, the four opposition political parties – Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and All Liberian Party-backed candidate, Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon is already cruising to an emphatic victory in the Senatorial race, way ahead of his main challenger, Wie. Mr. Dillon has so far received 53, 270 votes representing 53.88%, while Ms. Wie of the CDC has so far accumulated 36,531 votes representing 36.95%.

The Elections Commission Chair’s revelation, comes in the midst of a controversy surrounding the disputed elections in Montserrado County District No. 15 where the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change’s candidate Mr. Abu Kamara and the opposition Telia Urey are said to be running neck and neck.

Results announced so far by NEC show that out of the 94 polling centers in Montserrado District #15, 65 centers have reported Kamara accumulating 5,515 votes accounting for 45.95% while Urey of the All Liberian Party received 4,540 votes which accounts for 37.89 percent.

District No. 15 Recount, Revote Likely

The commission is expected to announce final results in the Senatorial race later today but according to sources is expected to hold off further announcement on the District No. 15 race pending further investigation and a possible recount or revote in areas currently under quarantine.

Urey has insisted that she will not accept the results and is challenging the numbers released by NEC so far. “I don’t care if we have to do reelections, you will not step on the will of the Liberian people, not this time, not when Telia Urey is in the race. I will not sell my people of District 15 future, I will not sell their opportunity to get proper leadership in the name of peace because we are not here to go to war but we will protest, we will not sleep if you try to steal from us,” she said Thursday, during an appearance on the Henry Costa Morning Show.

The candidate has questioned the integrity of NEC especially regarding comments made by President George Manneh Weah that no member of her family would ever win an election as long as he’s president. “This is a man that has never won anything”, the president said of Mr. Benoni Urey in June. “He supported his brother I defeated him, get ready tightened your belts, there is no way the Ureys can win election in Montserrado County because they are wicked people. We are cockroaches but they are killers, we are cockroaches, they are thieves,” President Weah said in June.

According to Urey, a count of ballots in her camp shows her to have won 52 polling places to Mr. Kamara who has won 41.

Her poll watchers raised a red flag at one of the centers, the Samuel T. Koon center where noticeable discrepancies were seen on the voter roll. The poll watchers who raised the issues were subsequently arrested and jailed leaving the center without observation for most of the election day.

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