By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia National Union (LINU) Maryland County Senatorial Candidate Dr. Wollor E. Topor, has taken flight to the Supreme Court of Liberia, demanding a recount in the senatorial election.
Dr. Topor is calling for examination of the decision taken by the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission, declaring incumbent Senator J. Gblebo-Bo Brown winner of the county’s senatorial seat.
Addressing a news press conference in Monrovia Wednesday, December 20, 2023, senatorial candidate Topor alleged that he was robbed of his votes therefore, his legal team will file a bill of exception to the Supreme Court today, Thursday, to comprehensively examine the NEC’s decision.
He said they have been following all of the initial processes to addressing their grievance in line with Article 83 (c) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and the election law by filing formal complaint before the Elections Magistrate in the county, and the full Board of the National Elections Commission.
According to him, they filed complaint within the timeframe on October 16, 2023, and the case was heard by NEC designated hearing officer, Richard M. Dafuwah, and provided evidence that several of the tally sheets were not stamped, including alleged tampering with figures, and that the average number of valid and invalid votes recorded were more than the total number of ballot papers recorded in the ballot box from precincts 27024, in electoral district#2, Maryland.
“Our opponent leads the senate race with 12,712 votes while we obtained 11,618 votes. What the NEC pronounced and placed on the website is quite different from what is on the NEC official tally sheet issued to us right after the tally process. NEC pronounced we obtained 11,618 votes, while official tally sheet says we obtained 11,918 votes, with a difference of 300 votes; does this not call for recount?”’ He asked.
Dr. Topor disclosed that these alleged irregularities are alarming and warrant a recount of the votes, saying that the hearing officer and the NEC Board erred in the manner and form they conducted the entire proceeding to the point that they did because they did not properly examine all pieces of evidence presented.
“We are taking our appeal to the Supreme Court to examine the decision taken by the NEC to declare Mr. Brown winner of the senatorial race in the county. In our bill of exception, we are only demanding a recount in the process. And so, from here I am meeting with my legal team because they have already prepared the bill of exception and we will file it with the Supreme Court today.”
According to him, this is not just about him but the more than twelve thousand citizens that stood in the sun to vote, maintain that he will not allow their voices to be thwarted because he can’t afford to drop their hope.
The aggrieved senatorial candidate claims he has dozens of pieces of evidence in his possession which suggest that the election was fraudulent, as ballot papers exceeded the average number of voters and Senator Brown took the election based on financial influence.
“I just want recount in the process and if he wins, it will clear my doubt and I will congratulate him. But he has greatly disagreed with that. And, based on our evidence and Senator Brown and his lawyer’s refusal to accept recount, we believe that there is something in that ballot box. This thing caused me to be hospitalized for over four months. I believe in the Supreme Court and I know they will rule with the law”, he says.
Dr. Topor laments that it is now over two and half months since the people of Maryland County went to the poll on October 10, 2023, to elect new leaders for the county, saying that they did so in search of better conditions which include quality education, good and affordable healthcare, agriculture, food security, electricity and protection of basic human rights.
However, he says on the contrary, it’s so saddening to know that some unscrupulous individuals allegedly twisted the will of the people by tempering with the election results through the tallying process in the county.
“We want to inform you that we provided evidence that proved that over 13% of the total of 175 polling places had one or more of these irregularities. Finally, I want to thank my legal team and the people for standing with their votes”, he concludes. Editing by Jonathan Browne