News coming out of Gbarpolu County is not pleasant at all, as candidates are reportedly being harassed and intimidated on one hand, while voters are being induced and coerced to cast their ballots only for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in what supposed to be a democratic process.
The National Elections Commission was constrained to postpone Tuesday, December 15 re-run poll specifically in Nomodatanau, electoral District#3, due to the security situation there. The NEC has again rescheduled the re-run election for Friday, 18 December.
Specifically, report coming out of the remote county in the western region speaks of cash inducement or vote-buying by politicians to stifle the only woman in the race from getting elected to the Legislature, which is discouraging our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends from running for office and winning.
About 2021 voters in Nomodatanau, a bordering town with neighboring Sierra Leone, are headed for the re-run to elect the county’s next Senator. The re-run comes about after a group of young men seized four ballot boxes during the December 8th senatorial election because they claimed most of the people who voted came from Sierra Leone.
The only female in the race is BotoeKanneh, a dried meat seller, who is leading her male counterparts by 449 votes. She is said to be very popular in Nomodatonau, but she and her delegation have been denied entry there allegedly by Police and other state security forces, while the ruling CDC candidate has been holding meetings in the area with the Clan Chief, who forth night ago seized ballot boxes.
The Coalition seems to be paranoid by recent defeats across the country, and is going all out in apparent desperation to get grip on Gbarpolu County, even by unfair competition. Such tactic contradicts democratic principles that require will of the people to prevail in any election.
No one should take the Liberian people for granted, that they can be used and abandoned. Liberians are a resilient people, who are very cognizant of their rights as citizens. They should be given the opportunity to exercise such right at the ballot box, void of financial inducement.
Gbarpolu is one of the remote counties that are yet to benefit development due to bad governance and neglect. Knowing the power of women leadership in advocating for development and people-centered service, Madam Kanneh is being unduly harassed to jeopardize her chances in the race.
We demand nothing less than free, fair election in Gbarpolu so that the poll results would reflect will of the electorate, as is expected in any democracy. National Elections Commission should make sure the right thing is done.
The ruling Coalition has shown no respect for women, as demonstrated by having no female candidates on its tickets. Now the only female face in the Gbarpolu senatorial election, Independent Candidate BotoeKanneh, is being subjected to serious intimidation. This is unacceptable!