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No date for Gbarpolu election

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-As situation remains chaotic

Authorities at the National Elections Commission (NEC), say no date has been set for the rerun of the Gbarpolu Senatorial election in Nomodatahum, District #3,Gbarpolu County, where a Clan Chief has unleashed a Traditional Devil.

NEC said it has pulled out all its staff from the area and will only conduct the rerun when the situation normalizes. No specific date has been set.Nomodatahum, is a bordering town with Sierra Leone. A rerun of the December 08, 2020 Senatorial midterm elections was expected to take place there on Tuesday December 15.

Elections in the area were called off on Election Day, after angry youth acting on the instructions of the Clan Chief stormed voting centers and took away the boxes containing ballot papers and other voting materials.
Currently, as per theNEC provisional results, Madam Botoe Kanneh, an independent candidate is topping the race by some 449 votes ahead of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Alfred Gayflor Koiwood in the county’s senatorial election. A win in the town could with 2021 register voters could seal her victory.

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

The legal team of Madam Botoe Kanneh of Sannoh & Partners filed a former complaint before the NEC chair Mrs. Davidetta Brown-Lasanah on Monday indicating that their client Madam Botoe Kanneh is running for her dear life as a result of attacks on her life and the lives of her supporters.

In the complaint signed by Cllr. Moiffie Kanneh, a relative of Madam Botoe Kanneh, conditions of two of his client’s supporters (Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, a brother and one Joseph) are in a state of danger.
“The Clan Chief today instructed the Traditional Devil to enter the town of Nomodatahum, District #3 virtually terrorizing supporters of Madam Botoe,” he explained.

“With these negative development, the campaign committee of Madam Botoe lives are in imminent danger making it practically impossible to continue with her election activities,” Cllr. Kanneh concluded.
NEC is yet to hear the complaint filed before it on behalf of Madam Botoe.The situation is fluid at the moment. The disputed area is difficult to access. It takes two days for a traveler to reach the town by road due to bad road networks.

There are unconfirmed reports that the United Nations Human Rights office here has taken an interest in the situation particularly the reported alleged violations of human rights.

On Wednesday December 16, several youths held placards in front of the Foreign Ministry with some calling on the Minister of State Nathaniel McGill who hails from the county to disengage. They blamed him for the ongoing chaos, though there are no evidence that the Minister is the one behind the chaotic situation in Gbarpolu.

Cllr. Boakai Kanneh told this paper Wednesday night that state securities where still on the rampage arresting supporters of Madam Botoe, though this paper was unable to verify the information. NEC Deputy Communications Director Prince Dumber told this paper that there is no specific date as to when the rerun will be conducted.

The special senatorial elections are seen as a test of support for Weah, a former football icon who has faced criticism as president over persisting economic problems.

The opposition is also leading in the country’s largest county, Montserrado, which is home to the capital Monrovia, as well as most of the voters in the nation The elections occurred alongside a referendum on reducing presidential terms and allowing dual nationality.

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in her twitter post congratulated NEC Chair Davidetta Browne-Lasanah and to President George Weah for respecting the will of the Liberian people in the just ended December 8 Senatorial By-Election.

–writes Othello B. Garblah

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