Liberia: National Elections Commissions Reaffirms Simeon Taylor’s Victory in Grand Cape Mount Senatorial Race
MONROVIA – Amidst prolong hearings into allegations of electoral fraud that emanated from the December 8, 2021 senatorial election in Grand Cape Mount County, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has finally ruled in favour of the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) Candidate, Simeon Taylor as winner of the election.
In his ruling on Friday, the NEC Hearing Officer, Atty. Fumba Swaray indicated that appellant Victor Watson of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) failed to provide evidence of allegations made against Taylor, and as a such, the result of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election is sustained.
Since the election, the county has been underrepresented, with one Senator being left out due to the complaint filed by outgoing and Senator Watson to NEC.
In his complaint, Watson alleged that Senator elect, Taylor, along with his family (all eligible voters) registered and voted in his favour.
However, the NEC, in its investigation, revisited Grand Cape Mount election manifest and the Final Voter Roll but could not find anything backing Watson’s claims. The NEC reaffirmed Simeon’s overwhelming victory for the second time on grounds that the allegations lacked merit and substance to overturn the results of the election, something which provoked the appellant to have taken an appeal to the Supreme Court through his legal team headed by Cllr. Swaliho Sesay to the supreme Court.
During the hearings of the appeal by the Supreme Court, it was mandated that NEC reconvene and exercise complete due-diligent into Watson’s allegation, said was adhered to by NEC and the hearing officer, again, took jurisdiction of the situation and has finally ruled in the matter.
Hearing Officer Swaray in his July 2 judgement said the NEC has conducted a thorough investigation as mandated by the Supreme Court in its judgment of April 22, 2021, and “The investigation did not unearth any evidence to prove the allegation of pre marked ballot, stopping of pool watchers from entering polling places, forging of poll watchers’ signature on the record of the count, that Simeon Taylor registered twice and voted twice for the 2020 Special Senatorial Election, that persons accused of being family members of Simeon Taylor registered more than once and voted more than once in District #1, and as such, this hearing has find it fit to reaffirmed Simeon Taylor as winner of the December 8, 2021 election in Grand Cape Mount County.”
According to him, mere allegations are not proof but must be proved by the plaintiff, thereby referencing the case of 2017 Presidential and Legislative Election, “Charles Walker Brumskine and others and Joseph N. Boakai and others versus the National Elections Commission”.
Atty. Swaray maintained that failing to bring such evidence to prove the allegations made against the defendant, the plaintiff has failed to meet its burden of proof, adding that the burden of proof rests on the party who alleges a foul.
“Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, plaintiff complaint is hereby denied and dismissed and the result of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Election in Grand Cape Mount declaring Candidate Simeon B. Taylor as the winner is hereby confirmed and affirmed. the case is hereby dismissed.”
But following the final ruling, lawyers representing the legal interest of Watson took an appeal before the Board of Commission (BoC) of the NEC, and it was granted by Swaray.
The BoC, which comprises all seven commissioners, is the highest decision-making body of NEC.