22 March 2013

Liberia: CDC Threatens Grand Bassa By-Election

The opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has called on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to immediately withdraw the nomination of Cllr. Jerome Kokoya as Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia or else the party will threaten the ensuing Grand Bassa County Senatorial By-Election through legal and other democratic means.

The CDC is the leading opposition political party in the country. On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, President Johnson-Sirleaf announced the nomination of NEC members. Among those nominated is Cllr. Jerome Kokoya.

Addressing a news conference held at the CDC's Headquarters in Congo Town, outside Monrovia on Thursday, March 21, 2013, the party through its National Chairman, Mr. George Solo, maintained that the party it will use legal and other democratic means to halt the ensuing Senatorial By-Election in Grand Bassa County.

The Grand Bassa County Senatorial by-Election, which is set for May 7, 2013, is triggered by the death of Senator John Francis Whitfield. Senator Whitefield, who represented Grand Bassa County in the Liberian Senate on the ticket of the former ruling National Patriotic Party(NPP), died Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the Saint Joseph's Catholic Hospital outside Monrovia, following an abrupt illness.

According to Mr. Solo, the CDC's decision to oppose the appointment of Cllr. Kokoya as head of the NEC and the holding of the By-Elections is because he (Cllr. Kokoya) is a steward of the ruling Unity Party (UP).

Cllr. Kokoya, according to a research carried out by the Independent and Authoritative Heritage Newspaper, contested the Representative seat for District #1 in Bong County in the 2011 Presidential and General Elections on the ticket of the ruling UP.

Our research established that Cllr. Korkoya was defeated by the former Deputy Speaker in 52nd Legislature Tokpah Mulbah, who comes from the opposition CDC. Among other things, our unraveled that the NEC chairman- designate accumulated 2,321 votes or 13.4% percent of the total votes cast, while Rep. Mulbah(his rival) accumulated 2,379 votes or 18.9% of the total votes cast.

Meanwhile, Chairman Solo added: "The National Executive Committee of CDC has categorically rejected with respect and sincerity, President Johnson-Sirleaf nomination of Cllr. Kokoya to head the NEC. The CDC will not participate in the Grand Bassa County By-Election if the electoral processes are not straightened up to reflect the popular will of the people of Grand Bassa."

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