Liberia: Eight Candidates Contest for Vacant Seat As Eligible Voters Go to the Polls in Grand Cape Mount
Monrovia – Thousands of eligible voters in Grand Cape Mount County will go to the polls this Saturday, October 5, 2019 to elect a new Senator.
The vacuum was created following the death of Senator Edward B. Dagoseh.
The late Senator died at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia, reportedly of cancer.
Until his death, he was an Executive Committee Member of the former ruling Unity Party (UP).
Unfortunately, he was among the eight UP senators of the 30-member Senate, who were suspended by the party for their role played in the removal of former Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.
The late Grand Cape Mount Senator formerly served as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Youth and Sports; in a senior position at the Ministry of Finance before it was merged with the Ministry of Planning and Economics Affairs.
Candidates and Elections Commission
On Tuesday, September 10, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that it has accepted seven candidates to participate in the senatorial by-election in that county.
The candidates include two females.
They are Mathew Darblo of the Vision for Liberia Transformation (VOLT), Kula Fofana of the Coalition for Liberia’s Progress (CLP), Daoda Metzger, an independent candidate, Simeon Taylor of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Dabah Varplah of the Unity Party, Victor Watson of the People’s Unification Party (PUP), and Sando Wayne of the United People’s Party (UPP).
Political campaign activities for the by-election ended on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 11:59 P.M.
Speaking in Monrovia on ECOWAS radio via telephone on Thursday, October 3, the Director of Communications at the NEC, Mr. Henry Flomo, disclosed that preparations for the conduct of the by-election are ongoing smoothly.
Flomo pointed out that the Commission has not received any complaint of electoral violence since campaign activities were declared opened on September 10, 2019.
He commended the candidates and their supporters for the peaceful manner in which they continue to conduct themselves.
“The fact that we have not received any official complaint in relations to campaign violence, we can say that campaign activities went well. As part of civic and voters’ education, gender mobilizers and civic educators were deployed all around the county. The local radio stations in Grand Cape Mount have been doing well. I can assume that the people are ready to make their choice on Saturday,” Flomo stated.
Simeon Taylor, one of the contestants in the by-election has lost two consecutive elections in the county. Both elections were lost to the fallen Senator Dagoseh and present Senator Varney Sherman.
Few days after his nomination, Taylor was withdrawn by his party, the Alternative National Congress (ANC). Yet, the NEC kept him as a candidate, despite the withdrawal request by ANC.
According to the ANC, its decision to withdraw Simeon B. Taylor from the senatorial by-election in Grand Mount County was to continue its commitment to the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in order to collectively “rescue our country from the poor leadership of the CDC in 2020 and 2023”.
Speaking on OK FM, a local radio station, Taylor said his decision to remain in the race is based on Section 17 of the NEC law that provides that withdrawal of a nominee is contingent on two basis: “that the nominee’s withdrawal must be done concomitantly by both the nominee and the party, coalition or alliance and that the withdrawal must be done not more than seven days after the nomination.”
According to him, none of these conditions were met by the ANC.
Dabah M. Varpilah
Dabah M. Varpilah, the wife of former Transport Minister and former Deputy Health Minister Tornolah Varpilah, is a strong business woman, vying on the ticket of the former ruling Unity Party, one of the political parties that is part of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
The other parties that formed part of the CPP are ANC of Alexander Cummings, All Liberia Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey, and the Liberty Party (LP) of Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.
Madam Varpilah manages numerous businesses in Bong County, including Passion Farms and Passion Hotels.
Matthew Darblo is contesting on the ticket of the Vision for Liberia Transformation (VOLT). Darblo was a member of the House of Representatives in the 53rd Legislature.
Like Taylor, Darblo was defeated in the 2014 Mid-Term Senatorial Election when he contested.
He hailed from Mbaloma, in Grand Cape Mount County.
Kula Fofana is the candidate of the Coalition for Liberia’s Progress (CLP). Ms. Fofana comes from a civil society background.
She served as the former Executive Director of the Paramount Young Women Initiative, Co-Chairperson on the Vision 2030 Steering Committee setup by ex-Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Assistant Minister for Youth Development at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Director at the Ministry of Gender.
Sando Wyne, another candidate, served as Manager of Community and Governmental Relations at Bea Mountain Mining Company in the county.
He is running on the ticket of the United People’s Party (UPP).
Under Wyne’s leadership as President of FC Bea Mountain, a football team sponsor by the company, won the second division championship during the Special League organized by the Liberia Football Association (LFA), under the former LFA president Musa Bility’s administration in 2018/2019.
The team also won the Barrack Young Controllers (BYC) Cup in 2017, and also qualified for the First Division.
The winner of the senatorial by-election in Grand Cape Mount County will have a challenge of addressing the numerous constraints confronting residents of the county, ranging from lack of adequate healthcare delivery, access to safe drinking water, job opportunities, bad road conditions, among others.
About the County
Robertsport is the capital with the area of the county measuring 5,162 square kilometers.
In the 2008 Census, Grand Cape Mount had a population of 129,817, making it the eighth most populous county in Liberia.