Liberia: Poor Turnout Mars Montserrado District 13 By-election; As Tension Brews at One Polling Station In New Georgia
Monrovia – So far, the Montserrado County District 13 by-election began this Tuesday, November 20th morning very poorly with voters treking in sparingly to cast their ballots.
Despite this very low turnout, early signals of electoral violence are brewing among observers from the camps of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and observers of an independent candidate, Mr. Edward Flomo, at the William Gabriel Kpolleh Memorial High School in New Georgia Estate, in Gadernersville, Monrovia.
Thankfully, the Liberia National Police (LNP) was fast to beef up the presence of its officers on the scene as things would have gone out of control.
Our reporters covering the election activities in the district observed that the gate of the fence, which encircles the Gabriel Kpolleh school is located had been unmanned properly, without security scrutiny.
As a result there were supporter from both camps trading accusations that the other person had been illegally interacting with voters coming in to cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice. The counter-accusations were building almost to the point where it would have led to scuffle between CDC observer Sylvester K. Goe and independent candidate Flomo’s observer, George Dweh.
“The NEC [National Elections Commission] observers are here and allowing people who are not observers to be in this place. If these people have completed voting, they should go and not remain here to interact with voters. This is totally bad,” another CDC observer, Chanyan Johnson, said.
“If the NEC knows that people are interacting with voters, they should be the one to raise issues not you from another camp. You have other people here who are not to be here coming in here, Mohammed Bamba, who works as the Special Assistant to the Monrovia City Mayor, Mr. Jefferson Koijee and Assistant Justice Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation Eddie Trawalay here also. What they are here to do? You guys want to do something the other way around here? But if you’ll try anything, it will not be easy. We will not allow cheating in this process,” George Dweh, Independent Candidate Flomo observer warned.
Mayor Koijee is the chair of the youth league of the CDC. He was one of those involved in the last Saturday bloody election violence in the same district.
Our reporters saw Trawalay and Bamba at the polling precinct but the pair later left the scene when the tension was brewing.
The electoral supervisor assigned in that center, Maggie Outland, did not agree to be interviewed on the situation.
One voter complained of some people not being properly ushered in the right rooms as a result of the polling staff giving those people scanty pieces of information.
“Room 30221 is where I supposed to vote but I have not found the room since I came here this morning,” she lamented.
However, other voters on the scene called for security measures to be stepped up in order to avoid interference of supporters of various candidates.
Up to press time, voting turnout was still poor.
More details to follow in subsequent publication.