Officials and partisans of the ruling Unity Party are left licking their wounds and apparently convening an emergency session by now over the fate of both the party and its unilateral candidate, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai in 2017, following the party’s defeat by a little known indepent candidate in the just ended Lofa County District #2 Representative by-election.
The ruling Unity Party was defeated by Ms. Julie Fortoma Wiah, a member of the former ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP of jailed ex-president Charles Taylor, who conteseted as an Independent candaidate due to some electorial technicalities that prevented the party from directly fielding a candidate.
The by-election was held on December 29, 2015, to replace the late Representative Fofie Sahr Baimba who died on September 13, 2015 follwing a brief illness at the John F. Kennedy Memorial hospital..
There were at least 10 candidates including candidates of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, Liberty Party, All Liberian Party, LINU, ANC, APD and ALCOP.
Of the 10 candidates, Ms. Wiah won by a simple majority recording 1,974 of the total votes cast, which amounts to 20% indicating that 80% of the voters rejected her. The UP came second with 1,664 votes securing just 16.19% despite a massive campaign machniery headed by Vice President Boakai and Defense Minister Brownie Samukai both of whom hailed from the county. The percentage suggests that 83.81% of voters within Lofa County District #2 rejected the UP and its candidate Augustine Boakai.
The percentage of votes obtained by the UP in a county which last year endorsed Vice President Boakai to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the end of her tenure, also indicates that voters within that part of the country have sounded an alarm bell that they will not only reject the UP but Vice President Boakai comes 2017 despite his continuous presnce ahead and during the by-election.
And what is more scarrying for the party is that Vice President Boakai hails from the region within which the party was defeated.
The voters also rejected the main opposition CDC, as the party’s candidate Lamsana came third with 1573 votes translating to little over 16%. This also indicate that little less than 84% of voters in that part of the country has rejected the CDC and its candidate.
The Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Brumskine could not find itself amount the first five candidates despite defeating the rulling party in the December 2014 Senatorial by-election. LP could only secure 816 votes amounting to 8.31%.
Moisema Kamara and Varforay Kamara no relations both came fourth and fifth with 16.02% and 15.51% respectively. The least of the 10 candiates is that of of the All Liberian Coalition Party of Prof. Alhaji G. V Kromah, who also hails from Lofa recording 266 of the total votes amounting to 2.6%.
Total turn out for the election was over 32% according to National Elections Commission Chairman Cllr. James Korkoyah. Chairman Korkoyah told this paper Sunday that the turn out was encouraging owning to the fact that it was a by-election.
Meanwhile, Ms. Wiah was certificated over the weekend in Voinjama, the capital of Lofa, while her victory prounouncement was made in Kolahum.
By Othello B. Garblah