Liberia: Tension Builds in Lofa as Both Ruling and Major Opposition UP Candidates Claim Victory in Senatorial Election
Voinjama – The opposition Unity Party (UP) and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have both claimed victory in Tuesday’s senatorial by-election in Lofa County, a scene reminiscent of the 2019 by-election in District 15, Monsterrado County.
Though the National Elections Commission (NEC) hasn’t begun announcing official results, CDC’s lawmaker Thomas Fallah, who played a key role in Jallah’s campaign, told a news conference in Foya District Wednesday that by their count, Cllr. Joseph Jallah, a candidate backed by the CDC, has won with a clear-cut in the balloting.
“From all indications, Cllr. Jallah is Lofa County’s next senator as shown by results we have obtained from the 454 polling centers across the county,” he said.
“I want to appreciate residents of Lofa County for voting for development over tradition. I’m so pleased.”
Also, Hon. Chief Moses Y. Kollie, an elite member of the CDC, took to his Facebook Wednesday to laud Lofians (residents of the county) for electing Cllr. Jallah as the next senator of the county.
“Thanks to the peace-loving people of Lofa County for demonstrating to Liberians and the world that Lofa belongs to all Lofians, Liberians, including every political party. Thanks a million also for electing Cllr. Joseph K. Jallah as the next senator of our beloved county as I can safely say that Cllr. Jallah is now the Senator-Elect of Lofa County,” he said.
That followed a claim by Mo Ali, Secretary General of UP, that Kortimai was coasting to victory.
“We understand the tactics but it doesn’t work with us because we know it better. Latest results from our “war room”: Out of the 454 Polling Places, we have completed 369 Polling Places constituting 81.27%. Cllr. Jallah: 15,089 votes, Kortimai: 20,022 votes, Mariamu Fofana: 5,093, Momo Cyrus: 4,379, Beyan Samah: 2,136, and Sumo Kupee: 1, 341.”
“The information that we have received shows that the Lofa people voted Unity Party,” Ali said.
Also, Bobby Abu Metzger, a staunch supporter of UP took to his Facebook page Wednesday to congratulate the people of Lofa for voting Kortimai.
“Congratulations to Senator-elect Kortimai, go and serve the people of Lofa County and Liberia as well. I, therefore, urged you to be a vibrant senator like Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Sen. Abe Darius Dillon, and others who speak without fear. You’re one of the advantageous senators who has been blessed by JNB (Joseph Nyumah Boakai) and others who formulated your dream to come through, lead with enthusiasm, and respect those who stood for you in bringing your ambition forth.”
He added: “Senator-elect Kortimai, you are not a mistake in the lives of the ordinary people, those who believe in their predecessors that is the reason, they voted you to serve them as their predecessors are doing and continue to work in their interests.”
For his part, Monsterrado County and Liberty Party senator, Abe Darius Dillon who went Lofa County to campaign for Kortimai, Wednesday sent a warning to the National Elections Commission, saying: “Let me repeat! The National Elections Commission can’t change anything already recorded on the official tally sheets posted at various Polling Centers; the Commission only announces the total and final results of what the tally sheets already show.”
“So, once you have copies of the official tally sheets and records of count from all voting centers, you should already know where you stand. Then relax!!! One thing for sure is, whether it takes days or weeks (for whatever reasons), the NEC will and must announce the very results contained from the tally sheets. Should I increase the volume?”
Though both sides claimed to be relying on tally sheets placed by electoral workers of the National Elections Commission at polling centers, those victory claims are raising concerns that Liberia is headed for a similar situation that arose from the 2019 by-election, where Telia Urey of the opposition All Liberian Party and Abu Kamara of the CDC made competing claims of victory in Monsterrado County’s District 15.
That led to days of turmoil after Telia’s vehicle was destroyed by those believed to be from the ruling CDC.
How Jallah and Kortimai have performed so far
In Vahun, District Two, results obtained by FrontPageAfrica showed that Jallah won with 858 votes, followed by Fofana with 682 votes and George Samah with 669 votes.
There are 38 polling places and seven Precincts in the district, which is predominantly Vahun Administrative District.
Also in Kolahun District, a place viewed as Jallah’s ‘stronghold’, he obtained a cumulative vote of 10,180, while Kortimai received 1,360 votes, results obtained by FrontPageAfrica showed.
In District Five, seen as Kortimai’s ‘stronghold’, Jallah received 1,367 votes compared to Kortimai’s 3,069 votes, results obtained by FrontPageAfrica. These results are less than 30 percent at the time of filing this report.