21 April 2017

Liberia: Lma Election Rigging Case Ruling Tuesday

A rift between members of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) resulting from allegations of election rigging intensified yesterday at Civil Law Court 'A,' with members exchanging harsh words outside the courtroom.

The election, held on February 18 of this year in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, included 556 delegates from the 15 counties, where Madam Alice Yeegahn secured 70 percent of votes among 10 presidential candidates.

The court issued a "Stay Order" on the induction of Madam Yeegahn and other elected officials due to a statement by petitioner Elizabeth Sambullah's legal team, accusing outgoing president Madam Lusu Sloan of being behind the rigging of the elections in favor of Madam Yeegahn.

Judge Yusif Kaba, hearing the case, decided to reserve his ruling on whether or not the court should nullify the result of the February 2017 election as requested by the defeated candidates, including Madam Elizabeth Sambullah.

Kaba's decision came after entertaining final legal arguments by lawyers representing both parties (Sloan and Sambullah).

Madam Sambullah's lawyer alleged that outgoing president Sloan was seen canvassing and recruiting voters for Yeegahn.

Atty. David Woah claimed that the Elections Commission knew very well that the outgoing president was supporting Yeegahn but permitted her to select the 53 voters from their Central Office in Monrovia, and distributed voters allotted to each market in Montserrado County.

Woah further argued that the commission chose to conduct the process during the night without any voter education, and permitted two of the LMA's security officers, one of which, he claimed, was Abraham Ballot, a supporter of Sloan and Yeegahn.

He also alleged that the pair allowed Ballot to be assigned to the controversial Polling Center #3, "where Ballot was seen holding hands of some of the illiterate voters and placing them on spaces provided against the name of Yeegahn."

In counterargument, Sloan's lawyer, Cllr. Sunifu S. Sheriff, said the allegation of denying people from participating in the process was misleading and erroneous.

He argued that the allegation was far from the truth, because the LMA constitution does not give the president the right to select a delegation for any election. "It is the Superintendent of the County that is responsible to select voters to vote in an election, contrary to the claim," he added.

Cllr. Sheriff also argued that those selected to vote from their respective counties were given the opportunity to vote, "and they voted."

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