Defeated senators from the December 08, 2020 Special Senatorial elections have embarked on a looting spree at the Capitol precisely, wing of the Liberian Senate. Since early last week, defeated senators and staffers trooped on the grounds of the Capitol, collecting materials, including office desks, chairs, stationeries, television sets, air conditioners, wall fans, rugs, and anything that came their way.
Most of the defeated senators were occupants of the newly constructed annex by the Chinese where furniture used in those offices are donations from the Chinese government. But the defeated senators are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to take along public properties as they leave power.
Of the 14 senators that went for reelections, the Liberian people only maintain three; the rest were massively defeated at the ballot box in their respective counties.
In contemporary Liberian legislative history, voters are noted for replacing lawmakers during every election year. During the 2014 Special Senatorial election, of the 15 senators that sought reelection only two returned to the Capitol – Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson and Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, now Vice President of the Republic of Liberia.
The 11 senators that were massively whipped in their respective counties include; Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, who lost to Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe; Bong County Henry Yallah of the ruling CDC lost to outgoing Deputy Speaker Prince Moye and Independent Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County was defeated by former Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay, and has made a successful return.
Others are: Lofa County incumbent Senator George Tengbeh from the CDC, lost to former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai; Thomas Grupee of Nimba County, bowed to Representative Jeremiah Koung from the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction of Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, while Dallas Gueh of Rivercess County fell to former journalist Wellington Geevon Smith; incumbent Senator ArmahJallah is being ousted in Gbarpolu County by a female candidate BotoeKenneh, while the shortest-served Senator Victor Watson was whipped by opposition CPP’s Simeon Taylor. Senator Watson only served the Liberian Senate for about nine months.
In southeast Liberia, Senator Mathew Jay of River Gee was defeated by former Lone Star soccer star Jonathan Sewgbe alias “Boy Charles” in Rivergee County, while Grand Kru ‘bookman’, Doctor/Senator Peter Coleman was defeated by Nathaniel Bahway of the opposition Liberia National Union, and Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais was terribly whipped by NPP’s national chairman and former Representative James Biney.
Employees and eyewitnesses who watched the scenes said staffers of departing senators under direct mandate were seen pulling rugs from the floors, as the materials were hurriedly loaded on un-plated pickups that were brought on the grounds of the Capitol.
Historically, following legislative elections, the United States Aids for International Development (USAID) and International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) would renovate the Capitol, but it’s not clear whether these institutions are prepared to underwrite such cost like in the past.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor– Editing by Jonathan Browne