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Around The Country: Updates From Five Counties – November 26, 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.


 

Nimba County: Fear of Post-Electoral Violence Lurks


Kpairplay Police station – where four persons, who were suspected of stoning the roof of building where Senator Grupee and his supporters were holding a meeting, were arrested and taken for investigation | Photo By: Joseph Solo, Jr.


Residents of Soe Kpairplay of Electoral District Four are worried about potential post-election violence as campaign activities heighten in the district. They said the district is “breeding violence”, pointing to tension that has been building up ahead of the December 8 poll.

Jerry Quianue, a resident of the town, explained: “Just this weekend, four men were arrested for throwing stones at Senator Thomas Grupee and his supporters. But as you may be aware, the senator would definitely want the people’s vote in December; so, he told the police in Karnplay to release four suspects for ‘home settlement’ [resolving the conflict at the community level].

“These are some of the things that can bring conflict because the senator should have allowed the law to take its course. But since it was not done, trust me, other people will want to carry out similar act in the future”.

Recently, police in Karnplay arrested four men for allegedly stoning a building that was hosting Senator Grupee and his supporters as they were attending a town hall meeting.

Augustine Martor, commander of the Karnplay LNP Detail, said when the incident was reported by the town chief, four men were later arrested.

“Suspects Prince Nuah, 25, Daniel S. Teah, 28, Junior Mangou, 32, and Prince Kpakun, 33, all of Soe Kpairplay, were arrested based on their misbehavior during the visit of of Hon. Thomas Grupee to the town,” he said. “However, the matter was withdrawn for home settlement”.

Commander Martor said elders of the town extended apology to the “Friends of Grupee”, who then accepted the apology and ordered the release of the suspects.

It was being speculated that the suspects were supporters of Atty. Garrison Yealus, a former representative of the district who is also running in the pending elections. But he denied any link to the incident.

Some residents are worried that past electoral violence in the area might reoccur as Jerry Quianue, a resident said that “Kpairplay town is known for violence in election times”.

“In 2017, the youths of this town attacked former representative Yealue and removed tires from under his car,” he recalled, adding that that situation nearly resulted into chaos. “But the former representative was swift to have escaped with his supporters with the help of election security personnel assigned in the district”.

Like Quianue, many residents don’t want a repeat of the ‘Beo Bongarplay election rerun’ experience.

In 2017, when violence broke out at one of the polling places —  Beo Bongarplay Public School — the National Elections Commission ordered the rerun of elections at the center after some poll workers were attacked.


Bong County: Residents Say Referendum is ‘Untimely’

Senator Henry W. Yallah, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming senatorial contest, has described the pending referendum as “untimely”, while calling for the process to be discontinued by the National Elections Commission or rejected by voters.

The referendum, according to Sen. Yallah, should be rejected by “all meaningful Liberians”, adding that “something is not just right about this referendum so I think the government of Liberia through the National Elections Commission will listen to us”.

Senator Yallah’s view about the pending Constitution Referendum supports the opinions of many other residents of Gbarnga who are also calling for the postponement of the process because “there haven’t been enough awareness across the country especially in the rural areas”.

Betty King said: “For me all the propositions in this referendum are all good but I strongly don’t support its holding comes December 8, 2020.” She is also calling for the halt of the process, contending that it’s not in the best interest of the Liberian people.

For Washington Browne, a motorcyclist, “The referendum is only meant to confuse the minds of the electorates especially first-time voters. Why even put the two processes together? In my mind, the senatorial election will overshadow the referendum”.

But appearing as guest on Super Bongese Radio 104.9 in Gbarnga on Tuesday, NEC Bong County Senior Election Magistrate said the will go ahead as planned.

He said, “We again want to inform our people across Bong county that the National Elections Commission is going to have the midterm senatorial election and national referendum together on December 8, so come out to vote”.


River Cess County: Townhall Debate amongst Four Candidates Features Key Issues


Senatorial Candidate Winston Borbor (L) forms a hand of support with incumbent Senator Dallas Gueh after the townhall debate in Cessto on Tuesday, November 24 | Photo By: Aaron Geezay


Ahead of the Special Senatorial Elections, the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building with support from Internews with funding from USAID on Tuesday held a townhall debate for four of the nine senatorial candidates of the county.

Incumbent Senator Dallas Gueh of the CDC; Mr. Winston Borbor of United People’s Party, Independent candidate Mr. Wellington Geevon-Smith and Mr. Gabriel Smith of the Collaborating Political Party were present in the hall to discuss key issues and how they would represent the county at the Liberian senate when elected.


Two of the four candidates who participated in the debate are former Buchanan representative Gabriel Smith (left) and former county superintendent Wellington Geevon-Smith | Photo By: Aaron Geezay


Independent candidate Steve Tequah, Madam Janjay Bloh of the Rainbow Alliance, Atty. Bob Ziankahn of the People’s Unification Party, Mr. Eddie Strother of the Movement for Progressive Change and Mr. Prince Brown of the Liberian National Union did not show for the debate, which was held in two parts due to COVID-19 protocols – intended to adhere to the physical distancing preventive measures.

No reasons were given for the absence of the other five candidates including the only female in the race from the gathering.

The four candidates addressed key issues including how they would deal with corruption, bad road condition, agriculture and food security, mismanagement of the County and Social Development Funds, health, education, and community benefits from mining and forestry industries, amongst others.

One key essence of the debate, according to CEMSP Executive Director, Malcolm Joseph, “is to give candidates the chance to explain in a precise and concise way who they will address challenges face by the citizens they want to lead”.


Grand Bassa County: Visually Impaired Community Repeats Call For Voter Education


Robert Kpado said many visually impaired persons in the county have not been taught how to vote during the upcoming elections and referendum | Photo By: Elton Wrionbee Tiah


Ahead of much anticipated December 8 special senatorial election, the Coordinator of the Christian Association of the Blind in Buchanan is calling on the National Election Commission (NEC) to provide civic and voter education for visually impaired people.

Mr. Robert Kpadoe said there has been no civic and voter education for visually impaired people in the county since the electoral body begun rolling out its activities leading to the election.

“NEC has not provided civic and voter education for us as visually impaired people and we are hearing about senatorial election and referendum, so we have decided that NEC should send somebody to educate us before December senatorial polls,” Mr. Kpadoe said.

He is worried that their votes will become invalid if the necessary education is not provided before polling day.

Over two million citizens, including the visually impaired and the physically challenged, are expected to go to the polls on December 8 to election 15 out of with 118 candidates.


 

Gbarpolu County: Hunter Arresting for Shooting Man in Forest



 Police in Gbarpolu County have reported the death of a man, believe in his 50s – who was a resident of Sappimah Town of Bopolu District.

Emmanuel Morris was accidentally killed by a hunter on early Tuesday morning in the Sappimah Forest, according to the police.

The suspect, Dorku Y. Torquelleh reported himself to the community and was later turned over to state security officers. A single barrel gun was discovered near the deceased in the valley, where he was reportedly shot.

The suspect said while on top of the hill he saw the deeased in the valley like an animal and fired at once. But when he went on the scene, he saw a dead man lying in a pool of blood. Torquelleh said he then rushed to the town to report himself.

He is currently in police custody awaiting to be charged and forward to court.


This content sharing initiative is supported by Internews under the Liberia Media Development program, with funding from USAID-Liberia. However, these contents are gathered and published independently by Local Voices Liberia, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.


 

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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