14 July 2017

Liberia: Sen. Johnson - 'Snowe Will Not Succeed, No Matter What'

As the political battle for Bomi Electoral District #1 rages on between Rep. Edwin Snowe of Montserrado Electoral District #6 and the incumbent, Rep. Samuel Karmo, once again, Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson has vowed not to let Snowe succeed at the "expense of the ignorance of his kinsmen."

Speaking on a local talk show recently in Paynesville, the senator said Rep. Karmo is not alone in the fight to prevent Snowe from contesting the upcoming polls as may be perceived by many in Bomi County and beyond. "Let me say it clearly again for the record that Gayah Karmo is not fighting for his personal benefit but for the integrity of our common traditional heritage. We are aware of the ruling from the magistrate in favor of Snowe, but we are relaxed because I trust that Karmo who is himself a seasoned lawyer wouldn't have conceded to their made up opinions that lack any legal backing," Sen. Johnson asserted.

"In the first place, Hon. Gayah Karmo is a legal minded person. He took advantage of the law by filing his appeal to the National Elections Commission (NEC) in order to get a proper redress in the case as compared to what the Bomi Magistrate did. He (Karmo) is not alone because I know that other than the few he (Snowe) is right now swaying, a majority of the well-meaning citizens of our county are against his idea and they will not allow him to succeed," Johnson said, adding that as he and his supporters have carefully considered all legal means associated with the case, he will lobby and ensure that Snowe does not succeed, come what may.

He noted that Snowe has nothing to show, not even a payment slip, but is instead using his farm workers as scapegoats who have failed to understand the dynamics of politics. "Snowe is not the only farmer. I own a farm and I pay my workers double the amount he is giving those who go to him for contracts. Snowe just likes to show us that he has money," Sen. Johnson noted, adding that Snowe even insulted the entire leadership of Bomi by saying that "the people of Bomi are hungry and once he gives them money he is bound to succeed." This remark, the senator noted, is a misstep and a complete failure to recognize human dignity.

Concerning the unity of the Bomi County Legislative Caucus, Sen. Johnson said even though all of them are not in the same political party, they are united. "Individually, all caucus members are not in the same party but we are united in making sure the right things happen in our county. We will not sit and watch Snowe destroy through immorality, the young boys and girls as he is doing in Montserrado," he noted, adding that Snowe fears contesting in district #6 in the upcoming polls because the constituents have known already and will never make the mistake to allow him to continue robbing them of their district's benefits for his personal gain.

It can be recalled that on June 15 Rep. Karmo filed a complaint to Senior Elections Magistrate Washington V. Farmah, challenging the eligibility of of Rep. Snowe to register to vote, lest speak of contesting for an elective post in Senjeh, Bomi electoral district #1. Farmah heard the complaint on July 1 with Snowe's defense council, headed by former Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh, taking the witness stand while Karmo chose to plead for himself. He only brought forward his wife Kumba Karmo and Ernest Kamara to testify to their findings at the Weakama Public School where Snowe registered to vote.

Snowe was declared victorious as per the magistrate's ruling and this led him (Snowe) to take to the streets of Tubmanburg with a mammoth crowd celebrating his victory in grand style, particularly so by dishing out money to his supporters.

Karmo's complaint has it that Snowe, a sitting lawmaker for Montserrado County, has transgressed Article 48 of the Constitution which spells out the role of a representative and the opportunity available for said lawmaker to seek reelection in an ensuing election except wherein he or she has resigned earlier and established domicile in another electoral district a year or more prior to said election. He also pointed out that Snowe violated Redistributing Regulations 3.3 and 3.2 of the Threshold Law which has established 73 fixed electoral districts. "Snowe is still an incumbent in Montserrado district #6 and enjoying all benefits in the name of that district," his complaint said, noting further that cross county registration to vote, as in the case of Snowe, is a clear violation of the law.

All efforts, including phone calls and a text message, to hear from Rep. Snowe on Sen. Johnson's allegations went unanswered. Snowe, however, once said on the Bumper Show that Johnson is not to be taken seriously because he has a serious mental disorder.

As the NEC is yet to look into Karmo's ruling, concerns that the citizens of Bomi, particularly of Senjeh district, have a critical decision to make, either against Karmo, their own, or Snowe, the new comer to their land who has claimed his birth to at least three counties now (Grand Kru in 2005, Grand Cape Mount most recently, and Bomi, the county in which he has cast his political net).

The case between Karmo and Snowe is the first of its kind in the country's political history, where a sitting lawmaker would declare domicile in a constituency other than his own, with the intent to run for legislative office in the newly domiciled constituency.

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