Despite her vigorous campaign and threats that those who refused to join the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC will remain jobless, citizens of Bong County are on the verge of telling Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor that enough is enough as former Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpah takes early lead over her preferred candidate.
Vice President Taylor narrowly secured defeat in the 2014 mid-term Senatorial election against Dr. Tokpah when the latter withdrew from an order rerun in three of the contested polling places.
Preliminary results from the National Elections Commission (NEC) indicate that Dr. Tokpah has obtained 15,735 votes (47.8 %) of votes counted and tallied, while CDC’s Bong County Rep. Josiah Marvin Cole obtained 11,947 (36.3%) of votes tallied.
The NEC preliminary result also places the CDC Montserrado County senatorial candidate Rep. Saah Joseph in an early lead.Rep. Joseph and Dr. Tokpah are both seeking to fill vacant seats left in Montserrado and Bong Counties by President George Manneh Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor following the December 2017 presidential runoff.
NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya told a news conference Wednesday, 1 August that 261 polling places out of a total 502 polling centers have been counted so far in Bong County. He says they amount to 33,611 votes or 51.99 percent in Bong County.
Earlier at a press conference in Bong County, Dr. Tokpa told journalists that results from 443 polling centers out of the 502 polling centers across Bong County show that he had won the by-election by 25, 995 votes.
“Even though our team is still processing the results from the remaining 59 polling centers, I can assure you that we have won this election with 25, 995 votes, which constitutes 48.18% of the 53, 955 total valid votes count,” Dr. Tokpa told reporters Wednesday, 1 August.
“Members of the press, let me inform you that our team of technicians and advisors have been working very hard since the polls closed to collect and tally the votes,” Dr. Tokpah says.
Dr. Tokpa who contested the by-election as an independent candidate conducted his press conference hours before NEC could declare its preliminary results.Dr. Tokpah claims that he won the 2014 special senatorial election against VP Taylor then, but he believes there was problem with the process as was proven by the Supreme Court when he filed a complaint of irregularities.
In Montserrado County, the CDC’s candidate Rep. Joseph is in early lead, the NEC says.Of the 127 polling places counted so far which amount to 8,056 votes counted and tallied, Rep. Joseph obtained 4,386 votes (55.1 %), while his closest contender, independent candidate Bernard “DJ Blue” Benson obtains 1,689 votes.
There are a total of 1790 polling places here.In Montserrado, independent candidate Rep. Yekeh Kolubah obtained 178 votes, while opposition Unity Party (UP) candidate Josephine George Francis got 692 votes.
Independent candidate Mark Keshen obtained 685 votes; followed by youthful candidate of the United People’s Party Michael Doe Tipayson who collected 262 votes.
Chairman Korkoya says following the close of polls on Tuesday, reconciliation, sorting and counting of votes commenced at all polling places across the two counties.
According to him, results of each polling place were placed on the wall for public viewing, in addition to the distribution of copies to party agents representing candidates.
Cllr. Korkoya indicates that the Commission has not received any complaint regarding the July 31 Senatorial by-elections.“I wish to remind all parties that complaints regarding polling/counting or tallying irregularities should be filed with the Commission Magistrate offices in Bong and Montserrado Counties,” he says.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong & Nathaniel Daybor in Monrovia–Edited by Winston W. Parleywith additional editing by Othello B. Garblah