12 October 2017

Liberia: Nasty October for Bong Incumbent Lawmakers - Five Lose Seats

Photo: Deepening Democracy Coalition
Liberians queue to vote

Gbarnga — It is becoming a nasty October 2017 to remember for incumbent lawmakers in Bong County as they are not doing well at the ballot box.

Report By Selma Lomax, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Preliminary results gathered from polling centers across Bong County show that five incumbents are losing their seats with others still threading on slippery paths.

Out of the seven incumbent lawmakers that contested for their respective seats, only two survived.

They are electoral district two lawmaker Prince Moye of Unity Party (UP) and Edward Karfiah of the People's Unification Party (PUP).

Rep. Moye has led overwhelmingly at almost 90 per cent of the polling centers in the district while Rep. Karfiah is coasting to victory after 90 percent of the results from polling centers in the district put him far ahead of his closest contender, Human Rights activist and Independent candidate, Silas Siakor.

Five incumbents have already been given the exit by voters. One factor that is proving to be decisive is that the dynamic in Bong politics is changing where first time voters who do not follow the old history of politics turn out in good numbers to vote.

In electoral district one, the People's Unification Party candidate Tokpah Mulbah, is trailing to prominent businessman and candidate of the All Liberian Party candidate (ALP), Albert Junior Hills.

From tallied votes so far, Hills is leading his closest contender and an Independent candidate, E. Richard Dillon by 450 votes difference from all the polling centers in the district.

In electoral district three, the incumbent Rep. Mulbah, who was seeking third term, lost at all of the polling centers in the district, mainly in his native town of Gbarnay.

He failed to replicate the overwhelming votes he secured in 2011 that earned him the lawmaker with the highest number of votes in Liberia - 89.2 per cent

He was one of three lawmakers from Bong County attempting to return to the Capitol for a third term. Two others have already succeeded in that quest. Montserrado County District #5 Thomas Fallah and Maryland County Bhofal Chambers according to provisional results have secured re-lection.

Mulbah should blame himself for his failure. Claims of his involvement in the sacking of former Gbarnga City Mayor Josiah Marvin Cole always threatened his re-election. Cole was dismissed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for what the president called "unlawful" demolition of structures in Gbarnga.

Many people accused Rep. Mulbah and District two lawmaker Prince Moye of influencing Cole's dismissal. Citizens petitioned Cole to contest against Mulbah promising to elect him for his stance to bring the City of Gbarnga on par with other cities in Liberia.

He persistently denied such claim but it could not safe him from the voters who were eager for change.

Next to Cole is the former Executive Director of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), Edward Gboe.

Gboe put up a strong fight, mainly in the rural areas of the district but felt short of the votes in Gbarnga as compared to the number Cole's almost 500 votes accumulated from Gbarnga, which had 67 per cent of the total votes in the district.

Another incumbent who looks set to kiss goodbye to the Capitol building is the lawmaker of electoral district four and candidate of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Lester Paye.

District Four is divided into two administrative districts: Panta and Zota Districts. The incumbent hails from Panta District. He overwhelmingly won there but performed poorly in Zota District, where the demands from citizens about an ambulance he promised them threatened his re-election.

The race in district four was seen as a political fight between two districts and Robert Womba, chairman of Unity Party in Bong County, became the consensus candidate to citizens of Zota district

Out of the 11,400 registered voters in the district, Womba won 75 per cent of the votes and put up a strong challenge in some parts of Panta District.

In electoral district six, the incumbent, Adam Bill Corneh, could he heading out after his dismal showing from the progressive results so far.

Here, it was a tight race between former Bong County superintendent Selena Polson-Mappy of the Coalition of Liberia's Progress and Independent candidate Moima Briggs-Mensah. Provision results are putting Briggs-Mensah ahead of Polson-Mappy.

In district seven, it is between former Deputy Minister of Information Andrew Tehmeh of the Coalition of Liberia's Progress and the Liberty Party candidate.

It is not clear who is in the lead, but what is clearer is that the incumbent lawmaker, Corpu Barclay of Unity Party, has been given the boot by citizens of the district

The poor performance of incumbent lawmakers from Bong County seems to be a national disaster for many incumbents. In Montserrado County several incumbents have already been shown the exit by voters.

As per provisional results, ten out of seventeen lawmakers in Montserrado are on their way out of the Capitol.

The October 10 polling results could serve as a huge lesson to incoming lawmakers. Similar situation occurred during the 2014 special senatorial election where only two out of 15 senators were re-elected.


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