Home Governance Lofa D-Day Tomorrow…As Police Vow To Protect By-election

Lofa D-Day Tomorrow…As Police Vow To Protect By-election

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By: Varney Dukuly

MONROVIA: Political campaign activities in the Lofa County By-election have ended peacefully as options abound for citizens to make the rightful choice, this Tuesday, June 28, 2022, for one of the county’s senatorial seats.

The seat was made vacant following the denial of Senator-elect Brownie Jeffery Samukai, from occupying the seat based on his conviction for corruption by the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Lofa County, formerly the breadbasket of Liberia, in recent days turned into a political theater as its sons and daughters from different towns and villages besieged sports pitches to listen to politicians who are seeking election in the county.

Different campaign messages and platforms from rival politicians were presented to the ordinary people with focus to convince them amid daunting economic and infrastructure challenges facing the people in the part of the country.

Interestingly, some politicians, in their platforms, promised economic empowerment for the youths and women, infrastructure development, provision of basic social services such as, electricity, pipe borne water, road connectivity, improved healthcare system, peace and reconciliation.

Others want the people to consider them for the Senate because they are best suited in terms of qualifications and experience to do the people’s work.

The Lofa by-election followed a joint resolution which was adopted by the by Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature, instructing the National Elections Commission (NEC), to conduct the elections on Tuesday, 28 June 2022.

At the moment, scores of ranking members of both the ruling and the opposition communities are in Lofa County, seeking to win votes for their candidates in order to emerge successful. Independent candidates are also pushing to capture the coveted senatorial seat.

Those qualified by the NEC to contest in the poll are Momo Tarnuekollie Cyrus (M), Independent Candidate; Mariamu Beyan Fofana (F), Independent Candidate; Joseph Kpator Jallah (M) Independent; and George Beyan Samah (M) Independent Candidate.

Others include Galakpai W. Kortimai (M) Unity Party, and Sumo G. Kupee (M) People’s Unification Party.
However, President George M. Weah over the weekend has declared tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28th, 2022, By-Election Day and is to be observed as a Public Holiday only in Lofa County in order to hold the By-Election created in the Senate as a result of the December 8, 2020, Mid-Term Senatorial Elections and with strict adherence to prescribed COVID-19 health protocols.

The Proclamation calls on citizens and foreign residents within Lofa County to respect, specifically this Public Holiday, as such.

The proclamation directs that government offices, business houses, private and public institutions of learning and marketplaces in Lofa County, except hospitals and other medical institutions, be closed on that day, from six o’ clock ante meridian to six o’ clock post meridian.

The Proclamation further indicated that the Government of the Republic of Liberia is desirous of ensuring the unhindered movement of all eligible voters, granting unto them the opportunity to exercise their constitutional franchise in Lofa County in a peaceful manner on the day of election.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Senatorial By-Election became necessary in the Senate as a result of the final judgment of the Supreme Court of Liberia, which arose from a Bill of Information process, incapacitating Mr. Brownie Jeffery Samukai, the “presumed winner” from serving as the Senator of Lofa County, thereby making final the vacancy for the seat in the Liberian Senate.

The Proclamation recounted that the National Elections Commission (NEC) sent a communication dated, May 3, 2022, informing the Liberian Senate that “the NEC does not believe it will be feasible to conduct the Lofa County Senatorial By-Election on May 10, 2022, due to ongoing legal process between the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) versus the All Liberian Party (ALP) and the Unity Party (UP), and the participation of the relevant aspirants in this by-election” thus automatically postponing said by-election.

In the exercise of such Legislative powers, the Legislature has adopted a Joint Resolution, setting a New Date for the Conduct of the By-Election for Lofa County Senatorial Seat as mentioned supra, the release noted.

A Joint Resolution LEG-001/2022 was Adopted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature of the Republic of Liberia, setting a New Date for the Conduct of the By-Election for Lofa County Senatorial Seat on the Fourth Tuesday of June, Same being 28th, 2022, and published into handbills by Authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 17, 2022, the Proclamation added further.

In fulfillment of Article 37 of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, the Presiding Officer of the Liberian Senate duly notified the National Elections Commission (NEC), about the existence of the vacancy on February 16, 2022, the Proclamation noted.

According to the 2008 National Census, Lofa has a population of 276,863 with registered voters of 187, 775, in the NEC data system.

Moreover, the peace and security of the country and Lofa County in particular remain the paramount concerns of all citizens and foreign residents across the nation.

The Liberia National Police (LNP), over the weekend, announced its readiness to keep the by-election safe and peaceful.

“As usual the Liberia National Police is clothed with the responsibility of providing security to ensure a peaceful conduct of the elections; and in this vein, we are collaborating with the joint security to ensure that this election that takes place on the 28 of June go on very smoothly,” Police spokesman Moses Carter said.
The Police force also cautioned political actors in the Lofa by-election to conduct themselves in the best way possible so as to avoid violence that could undermine the conduct of the election in the northern part of the country.

The police, according to Carter, will not hesitate to deal with individuals who are bent on causing confusion among the people; stating “no one will go with impunity, the law will take its course if anyone is caught trying to undermine the electioneering process.”

Maximum Police security for candidates participating in the by-elections will also be high on the police agenda; this, Carter stressed, is aimed at creating a level-playing field in the by-election.

“We want to say to the citizens and residents of Lofa County that we will police this by-election; and so, you can rest assured that the elections will be peaceful,” Carter added.

NEC Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, recently told the nation that two Hundred Fifty-four Thousand One Hundred (254,100) ballot papers for the By-election in Lofa County arrived in the country.

Four Hundred Seventy-seven (477) Tactile Ballot Guides is in the country to assist visually impaired persons during the voting exercise.

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