MONROVIA – Police Spokesperson Moses Carter has confirmed that the police have arrested 30 Sierra Leoneans with Liberian voter registration cards in the troubled town of Nomodatahum Town, Gbarpolu County.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa via phone on Monday night, Mr. Carter said those arrested are currently being questioned by the police and officers of the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS).
Prior to Carter’s confirmation, it was alleged that the Sierra Leoneans were behind the arm bush and seizure of the ballot boxes on Sunday.
However, the police spokesperson did not give detail as he promised to call back, but up to press time, he did not.
Nomodatahum Town, also called Norman, has been in the news for all of the negative reasons since the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that an influential chief, for unknown reasons, forcefully took away four ballot boxes assigned to Precinct with Code #45039, comprising four polling places and 2,021 registered voters.
Voting in the town, located in District #3, Gbarpolu County, was suspended on Election Day and rescheduled for December 15, 2020.
With more than 95 percent of the votes counted so far from the county, Independent Candidate Botoe Kanneh is leading the candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Rep. Alfred Koiwood of Gbarpolu County Electoral District #1.
On Sunday it was reported that Madam Kanneh and her supporters were attacked by members of the powerful all-male Poro Society on the orders of the Clan Chief who is accused of seizing several ballot boxes on Election Day.
Some of Madam Kanneh supporters including her relatives were allegedly beaten by members of the traditional society, with their whereabouts unknown.
Mr. Aloysius Toe, the Secretary General of the Alternative National Congress has also been reportedly arrested and charged with espionage.
The arrest also comes amid allegations that the LIS is colluding with the ruling party to intimidate madam Kanneh and her supporters in a bid to deny her of winning the Gbarpolu County’s senatorial race.
According to reports from Gbarpolu, Madam Kanneh, along with the Collaborating Political Parties’ Candidate, Sam K. Zinnah and a number of their supporters were stopped by the Liberia Immigration Service (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 Normor, holding secret meetings while at the same time denying other candidates access to the town.
The Daily Observer quoted Zinnah as saying the immigration escorted him to the outskirts of the town, where he met fellow Candidate Kanneh, who had just arrived at the town that morning and was barred from entry.
According to Zinnah, the two of them were held on the outskirts of the town by armed joint security, including PSU officers for more than five hours. Their only option, he narrated, was to leave the town and lodge somewhere else. Zinnah said he had to retreat to Kongbor Town by motorbike, leaving his personal effects in the room he rented at Nomodatahum.
An LIS official, speaking to reporters said, while it is true that LIS personnel are in the county, he could not reach any of them for their response to the allegations because they were out of mobile phone coverage.
Meanwhile, authorities, including the Police and the National Elections Commission have come under staunch criticisms over their failure to ensure that those behind the disturbance in Gbarpolu face the law.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa late Sunday night, a member of Madam Kanneh’s legal team, Cllr. Moiffie Kanneh 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.
He blamed the continued harassment and intimidation by the chief and his cohorts to the failure of the authority 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.
Also, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), in a statement issued in Monrovia strongly condemned the wave of electoral violence that is escalating in Gbarpolu County. The ECC said this trend of violence, harassment and intimidation of a female candidate is unacceptable and is a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the remaining election that is scheduled to take place in Norman Town, Precinct Number 45039.
The ECC also frowns on the behavior of traditional leaders tampering with the conduct of an election which is constitutionally mandated and is concerned about the lack of action taken by the government to hold the Paramount Chief accountable. These lawless behaviors undermine the rule of law and have the propensity to reverse gains made in peace and democratic consolidation, the ECC said.