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NEC postpones re-run in Gbarpolu

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-As violence flares

As tension brews in Gbarpolu County over the just-ended senatorial election, the National Elections Commission has postponed a re-run poll in Nomodatahum, Electoral District #3, which was scheduled for Tuesday December 15.

This comes amidst continues threats, intimidation and violence with human rights violations being perpetrated by town authorities with the Clan Chief setting loose a Traditional Devil in the disputed electoral district.

Reports emanating from the areas says angry youth on Tuesday night set ablaze the official vehicle of the District Superintendent following a leak audio recording purported to be his voice instructing commissioners there to ensure that they do all they can for the ruling party to win the election there.

Nomodatahum is a Liberian town in Gbarpolu that borders neighbouring Sierra Leone. Voters there were expected to go to the poll Tuesday, December 15, for rerun of the December 8th Senatorial election. The town has a total of 2021 registered voters.

The re-run comes about after a group of young men seized four ballot boxes during the December 8th election in protest after they claimed people who voted were Sierra Leoneans, not Liberians. The youth stormed the voting center and took away the ballot boxes on grounds that most of the people who showed up to vote had crossed over from Sierra Leone.

Speaking to Prime Morning Drive live talk show early Tuesday, the deputy communication director of the National Elections Commission Prince Dunbar, disclosed the area is not feasible to conduct the election yesterday, but with help of state security, the election will be held on Friday, December 18, 2020.

Mr. Dunbar said NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne-Lassanah has at the same time instructed all NEC staff in the area to leave the county and report to head office in Monrovia until otherwise.

Currently, as per provisional results released by the National Elections Commission this week, Madam BotoeKanneh, an Independent Candidate, is topping the race by 449 votes, ahead of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Candidate Alfred Gayflor Koiwood. A win in the town could seal her victory.

Reports of voters’ intimidation flared on Monday with many locals reporting the presence of a traditional (country) devil, allegedly ordered in town by the Clan Chief, a strong supporter of the ruling CDC, which is preventing many people from accessing the town.

By Bridgett Milton

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