Liberia: Grand Cape Mount County's Residents Vow to Resist 'Recurring Electoral Malpractices' Ahead of December Polls

Robertsports, Grand Cape Mount County - Natives of Grand Cape Mount County, under the banner "Citizens of Cape Mount against the Interference of Sierra Leoneans & citizens from Other Counties into Their Electoral Processes" have called for the immediate exit of the Election Magistrate assigned to the county over allegations of voter fraud.

The group, in a statement released on Monday under the signatures of its Chairman, Andrew Massaley and Secretary General, Daniel N. Nills, alleged that the Election Magistrate, David Armah, has always colluded with a powerful business tycoon of Sierra Leonean origin residing in Grand Mount County, identified as Idrissa Mansaray to pull in citizens of neighboring Sierra Leone to register and vote for every candidate of his choice in recent elections.

The actions, they said, undermines the democratic process of the country and Liberia at large.

This time around, the group said they have resolved to abolish the act themselves, if nothing is done to stop the recurring acts of electoral malpractice.

Said the group: "This continued imposition and intrusion of businessman Idrissa Mansaray and partner in crime David Armah (NEC Magistrate of Cape Mount) in the politics of Grand Cape Mount have not only posed an existentialist threat to the county democracy and to free and fair elections; it has continuously undermines democratic consolidation, national sovereignty of Liberia, and interference with the peace and brotherly ties between two neighbors."

It continues: "Therefore, the group under the banner "Citizens of Cape Mount against the Interference of Sierra Leoneans and citizens from Other Counties into Their Electoral Processes" have resolved to use every means possible to stop such illegal and embarrassing acts meted against the citizens of Cape Mount."

Further in the statement, the group claimed that Mansaray, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Hard Work Company in Liberia, was behind the trucking of dozens of Sierra Leoneans as well as Liberian citizens from other counties into Grand Cape Mount to register and vote in the pending December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial Elections, something he has mastered over the years.

The move, the group said was vehemently opposed by residents of several towns in Cape Mount including Litia Town in the Commonwealth Administrative District, Daniel Town in Garwula District and Jenneh Liberia in Tewor Disrtict.

The group's claims come in the wake of incessant complaints from residents of the county over the alleged involvement of businessman Mansaray and Magistrate Armah in electoral malpractices that resulted in violent confrontations at the beginning of the voter roll update.

According to them, the Mansaray began manipulating the country's electoral process during the 2017 general and presidential elections and subsequently 2019 senatorial by-election that ushered in incumbent Senator Victor Watson.

They alleged that NEC workers were allegedly seen registering aliens on the Sierra Leonean soil to partake in the elections. Because of the interference, the group asserted Senator Watson, who was one of the least popular candidates during the by-election, was surprisingly elected, replacing the late Senator Edward Dagoseh.

"Situations of such can highly be frustrating that citizens will move to the poll on Election Day with a mindset of voting a candidate which they believed could change their livelihood and better their condition, only to experience the result of a very strange name as winner due to interference," the group lamented.

Meanwhile, the group's warning comes in the wake of probing of three magistrates of the National Elections Commission assigned in Bomi, Grand Gedeh and Grand Cape Mount counties.

At a news conference, the NEC's Chairperson Davidetta Brown-Lassanah told journalists on Tuesday, September 22 that details of the investigation will be released to the public following what she termed as 'administrative consultations'.

"We have instituted administrative measures in terms of consultations with the three magistrates under the authority given to us by the new elections law and when we are done with our investigation and consultancy with them we will come back to you," she said.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that magistrates Luther Dean of Bomi, Arthur Z. Y. Duogee of Grand Gedeh and David Armah of Cape Mount counties were being investigated for comments or acts that are in contrast to their Term of Reference (TOR).

Dean had earlier confirmed that voters trucking was taking place in Bomi County, but failed to mention those involved in the process. Dean, FrontPage Africa gathered, was reportedly quoted as saying that there was no law against voter trucking.

Armah, on the other hand, was accused of being involved in voter trucking on behalf of a politician who is a senatorial aspirant in the county.

There have also been allegations that staff of NEC assigned in the county moved into neighboring Sierra Leone to carry out the voter roll update process, though these allegations are yet to be verified by FrontPage Africa.

Terming trucking "criminal" and prohibited under the New Elections Law of Liberia Chapter 10.1(a), Brown-Lassanah said, such act is punishable under the law by a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

"While the NEC is not clothed with authority to impose criminal penalties, the Commission frowns on the trucking of citizens for political purpose, and calls on all involved in this practice to immediately desist," she said.

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