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Around The Country: Elections Updates From Seven Counties – October 28, 2020

Stay informed with happenings in your county, follow LocalVoicesLiberia every week day for the latest update on the Special Senatorial elections, COVID-19 and other important developments.

 Bong County: Call to Halt Referendum Intensifies

Joshua D.K. Better, People’s Unification Party (PUP) National Vice Chair for Operations, says the conduct of the national referendum is untimely | Photo By: Emmanuel Mafelah

With 42 days to the special senatorial election and national referendum to be held in the 15 counties, scores of people in Bong County are calling for the immediate suspension of the referendum.

In separate interviews with LocalVoicesLiberia, the citizens said the process needs to be halted due to the lack of adequate awareness to ensure citizens understand the different propositions.

Mike Torkolon, age 39, a resident of Tumatai, appealed to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to put hold to the process until 2023 general election.

“To be honest with you my brother, our people need more education. It will surprise you to know that even the symbols they talked about I haven’t been able to see one,” Torkolon said. “From my town to the car road is about one hour thirty minutes and if I can’t see those symbols then what about our people residing in Kolonta, Zota District for example.

Stella B. Saydee, a resident of Plum valley community in Gbarnga, added that “the referendum is only meant to confuse the minds of the electorate”.

She added: “Why even put the two processes together? In my mind, the senatorial election will overshadow the referendum”.

Joshua D.K. Better, National Vice Chair of the opposition People’s Unification Party (PUP), described the conduct of the national referendum as “untimely”.

“As a son of this county and a senior member of the PUP, I am calling on the government of Liberia to discontinue with the holding of the referendum because I strongly believe that it’s not in the best interest of the Liberian people,” he said.

Grand Bassa County: Citizens Want More Awareness on Referendum

Several citizens of electoral district #2 in Grand Bassa County say there is need for the NEC to do “more awareness on the upcoming referendum”.

The citizens argued that they might not participate in the upcoming referendum if the commission refuses to properly educate them about the process.

Johnson Toe, a resident of the district, said: “The referendum also permits the Legislature itself to refer proposed legislation to the electorate for approval or rejection but if the electorate, mainly those in the rural areas, are not educated properly, then there is no need.”

Madam Sarah Dennis, another resident of the District, said she has been hearing about the referendum from politicians but she’s yet to understand what it is.

“I am not going to be part of their referendum thing because we from the rural areas know nothing about it,” she said.

Of recent, the Elections Commission lunched the symbols for the referendum, which is slated for December 8.

Maryland County: Residents of in Doukudi Town Vow to Reject December 8 Election

Several communities in Doukudi Town in Harper District have vowed not to participate in the pending Special senatorial elections if their needs are not met by the government. The residents say the lack of basic social services including electricity and GSM network is challenge for them.

They are also concerned about the deplorable road condition — which many in the area described as terrible.

Alphoso Dickson, Gbeh Budu Market superintendent, said that they will not turn out to vote on December 8, if the politicians and government do not install transformer to transmit electricity to their homes.

Dickson said it is “worrisome” for communities along the border to be without electricity as security personals assigned find it difficult to protect citizens on the Liberia side of border at night.

“It looks like we are not part of Liberia because government has continuously ignored their plights,” added Sarah Wleh, a resident of Youkude Community.

And John K. Swen, another resident of the Duokudi community, said he and his entire household will not vote in any election if their transformers are not installed to ensure they benefit from the World Bank” cross-border electricity project.

“We are living at where the current is passing just like we are living in the remotest part of Liberia. Why will we be the source of the electricity then it passed over our houses? if we do not get transformers, we will not vote in any election,” Swen added.

it can be recalled that recently two security personals were mysteriously murdered by unknown men on the Ivory side which has electricity. The death of the two developed fear among security officers and residents on the Liberian side of the border.

 Grand Kru County: Election Workers Get Training

Ahead of the special senatorial election, the National Election Commission in Barclayville City has ended a one-day training for 114 election workers.

Stannilus Wessh, the county’s Election Magistrate, said the exercise was intended to train poll workers to help voters verify their information so that they can partake in the election.

He identified three centers in the county where the training was conducted as Central High, Buah and Samford Dennis High.

Mr. Wesseh said he expects the trained election workers to “perform excellently” when helping voters carry on “perfect corrections” on their information.

Sinoe County: NEC Concludes Two Days Training

Poll workers were taught how to help voters during the exhibition exercise | Photo By: S. Augustine Sokan

At the same time, the Election Commission County local office in Greenville has concluded a two-day intensive training for election workers.

Mr. Solomon Jaryenneh, the election magistrate, said the exhibition is one of the cardinal processes leading to the conduct of elections in the country.

According to Jaryenneh, the exhibition, when commence, will create opportunity to correct those who names are not captured in the provisional registration roll (PRR), incorrect spelling of names, incorrect sex, ages and misspelling of names.

Those trained were drawn from the three electoral Districts of the county and they will be assigned at various centers across the county.

The NEC magistrate called on the participants to exert all efforts in ensuring that “all previous mistakes are corrected and not repeated as there is no opportunity again for such” to avoid controversies on election day.

Ricard Dweh and Felecia Toe, two of the election workers, appreciated the NEC at the start of the training and promised to work diligently.

 Grand Gedeh County: Local Stakeholders Hold Dialogue on Peaceful Elections

The forum brought together motorcyclists, youth and women groups, representative of the traditional council, business community and the county administration, among others | Photo By: Ben T.C Brooks

The Liberia Peace Building Office has ended a day long training workshop with stakeholders in the county aimed at preventing elections violence. The day long interactive session was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It was geared towards promoting peaceful and non-violence elections in the county.

The interactive session, which was held on Monday, brought together union of the motorcyclists, youth and women groups, representative of the traditional council, business community and the county administration, among others.

Mr. Binda Freeman, project officer of Liberia Peace Building office, disclosed that it was important to dialogue with mostly youths and political parties of Grand Gedeh to sensitize them about disengaging from election violence before major campaign activities start in the county.

“Political party leaders, youth groups and every citizen of Grand Gedeh, please say no to election violence in this electioneering period of our only country,” he said.

Paul Neoh, Grand Gedeh County Inspector who represented the county leadership at the event, said a plan is underway to hold meeting with security apparatus and prominent Grand Gedeans on how to monitor campaigns rally to avoid conflict and tension.

This content sharing  initiative is  supported by Internews under the Liberia Media Development program with funding from USAID-Liberia. The funder has no say in the gathering of these contents.

Local Voices Liberia is a network of dedicated Liberian journalists based in the 15 counties working to lift the development concerns and progress of rural communities.



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