Despite the country’s engagement with the fight against Ebola, two senior officials of Sinoe County are at each other’s throat. Sinoe County Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay has claimed that Senator Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan is seriously engaged in pre- election campaign activities across the county.
According to a communication from the office of superintendent Teahjay, addressed to the Chairman of the National Elections Commission- a copy of which is the possession of this paper, Senator Nyenpan was using the Ebola outreach and awareness to publicly conduct political campaign in the country.
“I am pleased to convey my compliments and wish to bring to your official attention, a rather disturbing situation in the country, in which the Senior Senator of Sinoe, Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, is currently using the Ebola outreach and Awareness initiative to publicly undertake political campaign activities in the country,” the letter said.
“As you are aware, the National Elections Commission of Liberia has placed a temporary hold on all electoral and political activities in the country pending a cessation of the Ebola emergency. We believe that Mr. Nyenpan’s action is a wanton violation of the NEC’s Emergency Guidelines during this Ebola period and constitutes a huge distraction from the country’s focus on Ebola,” claimed Supt. Teahjay, who is also a candidate seeking election to the Liberian Senate for Sinoe County.
Supt. Teahjay, who has already been endorsed by the ruling Unity Party, also requested the elections commission to force Senator Nyenpan to immediately comply with its no-campaign –order.
Teahjay also complained in his letter that Senator Nyepan has placed on his official ballot photo on his pick-up truck and escort motorbikes, as well as plastic buckets for distribution among the population to campaign across the county under the guise of creating awareness on Ebola the letter concluded.
In response to the allegation by Supt. Teahjay, the Sinoe County Senator told this paper via email: “I have not received any communication from the National Elections Commission about any complaint against me from any source. However, let me emphatically state that I am not involved in political campaign activities at this point in time, and I have never violated any election law. I am actively involved in an anti-Ebola campaign,” he said in his letter.
The Alliance for Peace and Democracy candidate intimated that If Mr. Teahjay alleges any violation of the elections law on his part, the burden of proof is on him to indicate the specifics of what I have violated and seek redress. Or, if he has sought redress, he should wait for the adjudication of his grievances instead of running to the press for political sentimentalism,” Nyenpan said.
“I certainly do not have the luxury of time to respond to the ignorance of someone who does not know what constitutes violation of elections laws. I like to encourage Mr. Teahjay to properly read the elections laws of Liberia and stop acting ignorantly and making himself a laughing stock.”
According the Senator, to date, he has contributed over one hundred buckets with faucets and chlorine to the county, desk telephone to the Hospital, cash contribution to the community radio station, gloves and other logistical items. He also has committed a Nissan pickup mounted with sound system and an Ebola sensitization team to disseminate anti Ebola messages throughout the length and breadth of the county, with the cost borne by him.
“I am demonstratively involved with the fight against Ebola both in country and in the county of Sinoe, and to this, I commit myself,” the letter added, even though he did not say whether or not he had his ballot photo placed on the items he claimed to have provided for Sinoe County. This is the latest of the reports on pre-election campaign activities by candidates.
Initial reports had indicated that Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor of the National Patriotic Party was also allegedly using her official ballot photo on anti-Ebola materials for distribution in Bong Mines, Fuamah District, while Augustus J. Flomo, a former acting Comptroller of Cuttington University and candidate of the Congress for Democratic was allegedly exhibiting similar behavior in the City of Gbarnga in Bong County.
Despite the reports, the National Elections Commission remains very mute.