Liberia: Weah Shot CDC in the Leg?

opinion

President George M. Weah's public statement that a "Urey will never win election in Liberia" appears to be hurting the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC at the ongoing National Elections Commission or NEC hearing into the disputed Montserrado District #15 by- election despite evidence being produce to the contrary.

NEC quarantined results from at least six precincts containing 15 polling places from the just ended Montserrado District 15 Representative by-elections after Ms. Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party or ALP and the four collaborating opposition party filed a protest before the commission citing fraud and electoral irregularities. The opposition bloc were declared winners in the Senatorial election.

Ms. Urey alleged that electoral fraud and irregularities occurred in the Joanna Antoe Polling Precinct #30437 with 3 polling places, Samuel T Kun precinct #30136 and 30135 with a combined total of 6 polling places and the Kingdom Embassy polling precinct #30132 with 3 polling places.

She further complained that electoral fraud and irregularities also occurred at the Mayer Simpson precinct#30188 with 4 polling places and Donald N. Karans Precinct#30186 with 4 polling places.

Ms. Urey alleges these electoral fraud and irregularities all occurred in Logan Town, a place believed to be the stronghold of CDC Abu Kamara which could undermine her victory in the disputed by-election.Moreover, NEC's provisional results showed that Abu Kamara won these disputed quarantined polling places.

As if Ms. Urey's complaint before the electoral body was not enough, public sentiments at the hearing tend to be swaying in favor of Ms. Urey, the daughter of businessman turned politician Benoni Urey, all because of President Weah's rants during his party campaign launch back in June-when he stated that "a Urey will never win an election" here. Many considered his statement as a blank check to cheat Urey out of a deserve victory.

But what appears to be coming out of the entire hearing gives another picture despite these public sentiments. Of all the tally sheets from the 15 polling places which Ms. Urey alleged that electoral fraud occurred showed that all her poll watchers signed the results-meaning they agreed that the numbers of votes on each of those sheets were the true representation of the results of the day at these polling precincts. None of the tally sheets show that Ms. Urey's representatives refused to sign.

In addition to the claim of electoral fraud, Ms. Urey also claimed that the Final Voter Registration roll given to the political parties were quite different from the ones used by NEC officials at the voting center. This argument was debunked by other political parties.

However, the argument lawyers representing CDC candidate Mr. Abu Kamara are putting forward is that if the Senatorial candidate representing the 4 collaborating political parties in person of Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon could win in the very contested district and the opposition bloc accepted the result as being fair it is unthinkable that they would reject the same process when it comes down to the Representative election in the very district.

"How can a result in the same election be accepted and another rejected citing electoral fraud and irregularities in the same place a candidate of yours won?" one observer queried.

Another issue of contention at the hearing is the claim of prohibition on additional listing. The additional listing is intended for poll workers, and those on special assignments that will not have the opportunity to vote in their registered districts due to their assignments.

During the hearing into the 2017 electoral complaint filed by Liberty Party Charles Brumskine, the Supreme Court was clear on the issue insisting that only those with special assignments can vote in places outside of their registered districts but must show valid ID cards.

Meanwhile, hearing continues today at the NEC.By Othello B. Garblah

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