The National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced the arrival of 1,278,750 ballot papers for the conduct of by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties to fill vacant senatorial seats left last December when President George Manneh Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor won a run – off poll.
Mr. Weah was serving as Montserrado County Senator while Madam Taylor was also serving as Bong County Senator when they won a presidential run – off last year.
A statement issued in Monrovia Wednesday, 18 July says the ballot papers came into Liberia from neighboring Ghana in two batches.The first batch arrived on Sunday, 15 July and the final consignment arrived on Tuesday, 17 July at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County, the NEC statement says.
Of the total of 1,278,750 ballot papers, the Comission discloses that 997,150 are for Montserrado County, while the remaining 281, 600 are for Bong County.
Upon arrival, the ballot papers were taken under heavy police escort to a secured location ahead of distribution to the two Counties for the 31 July 2018 by-elections, the Commission adds.
Meanwhile, the Tactile ballots Guards, which are for use by the visually impaired, and the Results Forms are scheduled to arrive later this week.The Commission reminds the public that all pre-packed materials for the by-elections have ever since arrived in the country and are secured.Ahead of the July 31 by-elections, the Commission has embarked on a vigorous Civic and Voters Education (CVE) campaign to afford voters the needed knowledge to vote properly on Election Day.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, 17 July, the Commission, through its Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, officially launched a colorful CVE campaign in Gbarnga, Bong County with hundreds of voters of all walks of life in attendance.The Commission will shortly launch the CVE campaign in Monrovia.
Besides the civic educators and gender mobilizers that are deployed in the two counties for the CVE purposes, as well as the various public service radio programs, the Commission is collaborating with the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiative (LMDI) for a robust CVE campaign.
The NEC in Collaboration with the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives officially launched the 2018 Senatorial Bye-Election Civic Voters Education (CVE) exercise in Bong County, bringing together several citizens and stakeholders from Bong and nearby areas.
Candidates anticipating to replace Madam Taylor in Bong County in the by-election include sitting District#3 Rep. Josiah Marvin Cole of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change; Independent Candidate Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa; United People Party’s Prince Togar Kollie; Vision for Liberia Transformation’s Fairnoh Theo Gbilah; and All Liberian Party’s Orando Koimene Zarwolo.
At the launch in Bong County, Cllr. Kokoyah urged the five candidates and their supporters to exercise high level of professionalism during and after the by-election to maintain the peace.
He says the CVE Section of the Commission is currently working out details of the engagement which will consider the input of all stakeholders in the by senatorial election process.
Cllr. Korkoya indicates that the undertaking the CVE reaffirms the Commission’s commitment and determination to apply all of the best practices that will further deepen the understanding of voters and candidates to encourage greater participations in all aspects of the electoral process.
Also speaking, the chairman for the 2018 by senatorial Elections Steering Committee for Bong and Montserrado Counties, Mr. Boakai Dukuly called on political parties’ candidates and independent candidates to refrain from using hate messages that will instate violence in their respective counties.
Mr. Dukuly believes that hate massages have the propensity to undermine the country’s peace process.For her part, Bong County Superintendent Madam Esther Nyemah Walker commends NEC and its partners for launching the CVE exercise.She calls on every supporter of candidates and well-wishers to continue holding together for the sake of peace in Liberia.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley