Liberia’s political capital, Monrovia, the once exclusive and undisputed domain of Liberia’s main opposition political party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), appears to be no more as the party suffered yet another major political blow in its attempt to retain its 11th District representative seat in a by-election.
The seat was won in the by-election by Mr.Gabriel Nyenka, who ran on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. He was subsequently certified on Thursday, July 5, by the National Elections Commission (NEC) after he was declared winner, out of the total of eleven contestants.
Nyenka secured two thousand three hundred eighty-two (2,382) votes total, out of a total of 8,560 valid ballots cast. Independent Candidate, Ms. Siah Tandanpolie, whose father’s death created the vacancy came second with one thousand three hundred eighty-one (1,381) votes total. She contested in an attempt to secure her late father’s seat.
She was closely followed by the National Patriotic Party’s Richard Nagba Koon, who got one thousand two hundred sixty-five (1,265) votes total. The Congress for Democratic Change’s J. Emmanuel Tarwo, came a distance fourth, with one thousand one hundred forty-two (1,142) votes total.
Liberty Party’s P. Moses Roberts, Sr. got two hundred nine (209) votes total, while independent candidate, Dr. Edwin Zoedua, got only nine (9) votes total. The rest of the independent candidates got approximately between 800 and 500 votes.
The four candidates, who were qualified to contest on the tickets of political parties were Messrs. J. Gabriel Nyenka of the ruling Unity Party (UP), J. Emmanuel Tarwo, of the main opposition party CDC, Moses P. Roberts, Sr. of the Liberty Party and Richard N. Koon, of the National Patriotic Party (NPP).
The seven candidates who were also qualified by the NEC to contest as independent candidates included, Madam. Elizabeth Teetee Ankrah, Dr. Edward Zoedua and Atty. Lafayettee Gould. The rests are: Messrs. Jackson Ngafua Morlu, Minikon Talo, Lemuel Soloboh and Ms. Siah Tandapolie, daughter of the late Moses Tanapolie.
The 11th District representative seat was left vacant as a result of the demise of CDC’s Moses Tandapolie, which event occupied on Friday, March 16, while on a legislative retreat in Gbanrga, Bong County. The seat was hotly contested by eleven (11) NEC qualified candidates.
NEC Chair, Elizabeth Nelson urged Mr. Nyenka after his certification on Thursday, July 5, to uphold the confidence citizens of the 11th district reposed in him while enacting legislations that would change their living conditions.
In a surprising development, a squad of anti-riot police officers had to be called to the polling center to restore calm after a group of young men said to be loyalists of Ms. Siah Tandanpolie had gone there in an apparent attempt to disrupt the certification program.
The reported pro-Tandanpolie slogans chanting group was demanding the program be halted pending the disposition of a complaint Madam Tandapolie reportedly filed, alleging irregularities during the polls.
According to reports from the Liberian capital Monrovia, there was a very heavy down pour of rain which was said to have prevented registered voters from casting their ballots for their candidates of chioce in the 11th District’s by-elections.
The heavy rain reportedly prevented voters for hours after officials of the National Elections Commission declared polls open around 8 am. Even though the polling went relatively calm with no report of violence, voters waited for about at most three hours.
According to our investigation, many electorates expressed less interested in the process which was marred by the heavy down pour of rain during the day.
Low turnout was observed during the early hours of voting however, “many showed up at the later part of the afternoon when the rain finally stopped.
Other voters who braved the storm to participate in the process expressed delight, noting; “This is our way of expressing our feelings in a given process as citizens.”
Some voters claimed that spending their time doing other personal businesses was more vital than engaging in a process that will according to them, in no way impact their lives.
Prior to the elections the National Elections Commission, denied the Congress for Democratic Change an opportunity to register its candidate.
The Commission claimed CDC was late past the 5:pm May 18 deadline for registration of candidates, but this decision provoked the party’s leadership which threatened to disrupt the entire electoral process.
The party’s threat seemingly achieved its intended objective, as the NEC was literally forced to reverse its decision thereby allowing CDC and an independent candidate, Dr. Edwin Zoedua, to register at the eleven hour.
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