11 October 2017

Liberia: In Vote Rich Ganta, Nothing Else Mattered

Citizens of Ganta cleared everything else off their agenda for yesterday's critical presidential and legislative elections. Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County, and other parts of the county as well, abandoned businesses, farms and all other activities to show up in queues of hundreds to cast their ballots in an election intensely fought by all the political parties for the majority share in this vote rich county.

With a majority of the community out voting, all businesses, including entertainment centers and the infamous Dark Forest drug den or ghetto in Ganta, were closed for business.

Some elderly Liberians that turned out to vote were also led in the queue by relatives

Commercial vehicles stood empty of commuters with the exception of those who defied the danger and opted for motorbikes.

As early as 3 a.m., voters had lined up in three queues of at least 500 voters per line at each of the precincts, where they anxiously awaited the opening time and their turn to cast their ballots.

Nonessential issue

Despite the peaceful conduct of the voting process, many persons whose photographs did not appear in the National Elections Commission (NEC) registration book complained of being disallowed, but the NEC office in Sanniquellie assured those affected that their situation would be remedied.

A report from Buutuo, a Liberian/Ivorian border town, said NEC had asked those affected by the missing photograph problem to fill in a form before being allowed to cast their votes.

Although ballot boxes arrived in short supply at some precincts, the quick intervention of NEC authorities in the county remedied that problem.

Registered voters ready single file to cast their vote

"We observed that about 1,833 people registered at precinct number 333091 in Bongaplay Town near the Liberian/Ivorian border to Gborplay in Twah River Electoral District #4 were experiencing difficulties due to the late arrival of voting materials," a local journalist told this newspaper.

NEC Magistrate Princeton Monbiah confirmed receiving the report, but said it was quickly addressed and that the process continued peacefully.

Instances in which the photos of registered voters did not appear in the NEC registration book were not only reported in Nimba County. In Pleeboe, Maryland County, similar incidents were reported resulting in several registered voters being turned away for not meeting the voting requirements.

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