Home Politics By-Elections Today In Nimba, G/Gedeh …As Late Gwion Families Tussle for Seat

By-Elections Today In Nimba, G/Gedeh …As Late Gwion Families Tussle for Seat

by newsmanager

By Elbie Sebleh & Linda Gbartie

MONROVIA: The fiancée and sons of Grand Gedeh District#1 deceased representative, Erol Madison Gwion, are currently at each other throat in the upcoming representative by-election schedule for today, April 23, 2024.

This observation which was disclosed by the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa International-Elections Observation Mission (EISA-IEOM).

The EISA-IEOM observation was captioned “Election perspective series inspired by the upcoming Legislative by-elections focusing on the racers and the race itself.”

The observations were released over the weekend. According to EISA-IEOM, four of the fifteen candidates in the upcoming Grand Gedeh by-elections are family members of the late lawmaker.

It named the family members as Moniayoung Jerry Gwion, former youth President and son of representative Gwion; Justice Clarke, Chief of Office Staff to the deceased lawmaker; Mr. Sampson B. Williams, district officer Coordinator of the lawmaker.

Also, Mr. Gabriel Papee Johnson, the deceased’s wife, Amelia Polodee Beh’s, stepson is in the race.

The EISA-IEOM, under the signature of its Acting Country Representative and Chief of Party (EISA-LIEOM Project), Antonetta Hamandishe, described the Grand Gedeh by-election as a contest of mother and son.
‘’Mother and son are contestants in the Representative race in Grand Gedeh. While a current House of Representative member contests for the Senate in Nimba. The outcome of the by-election in Nimba could usher in a fresh representative by-election in that county. Two of Grand Gedeh’s three districts may be represented by women, depending on the election outcome.’’ EISA-IEOM election perspective series mentioned.
According to them, in Grand Gedeh, 15 people (3 females; and 12 males) are contesting for District #1 Representative seat.
However, it pointed out that this race includes a mother-step-son contest, as the son and wife of the fallen Representative, Erol Madison Gwion, are vying for the seat left behind by husband and father.

‘’Additionally, the race in Grand Gedeh also involves different elements which include individuals who served various positions in the county’s youth leadership, rural women leadership, strong inner-clan connections and local market association. The backgrounds and connections of these representatives from key stakeholder groups predict a tight race,’’ the observation indicated.
Recently, EISA observed the public debates in Nimba but expressed disheartenment that some politicians excused themselves from participating. This trend was prevalent during the 2023 elections as well.

EISA mission, however, hails the participation of three women in the Grand Gedeh District #1 by-election, which offers the possibility of the county’s three districts being represented by two women.

‘’EISA is aware that there are no “small” elections, and that political campaigns sometimes transcend clashes of ideas to heated exchanges. In this case, the mission takes notes of all the variables that make these by-elections unique and urges all the key players to apply the positives from the peaceful 2023 presidential and legislative elections.’’
It can be recalled that two vacancies were created in the Legislature, one in the Senate due to Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung’s election as Vice President following the October 10, 2013, Presidential and General Elections, and the other, as a result of the death of Representative Erol Madison Gwion, from Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County.

The presiding officer of the Senate on January 31, 2024, through the Secretary of the Senate, informed the National Elections Commission (NEC) of a vacancy in the Senate, affecting Nimba County, and the presiding officer of the House of Representatives through its Chief Clerk on February 2, 2023, also informed the NEC of a vacancy in the House of Representatives affecting Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County.

However, in fulfillment of the law, the NEC scheduled the holding of the By-Elections for a senator in Nimba County and a representative in Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County today, April 23, 2024.

However, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai by proclamation has declared Tuesday, April 23, 2024, as By-Election Day to be observed as a National Holiday only in Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County, which are holding the By-Elections.

President Boakai’s Proclamation called on citizens and foreign residents within Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County to respect, specifically his National Holiday and directs government offices, business houses, private and public institutions of learning and marketplaces in the affected locations to be closed today from six o’ clock ante meridian to six o’ clock post meridian.

The Proclamation stressed that the Government of Liberia is desirous of ensuring the unhindered movement of all eligible voters, granting unto them the opportunity to exercise their constitutional franchise in Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County on today.

The National Elections Commission (NEC), in a press statement on April 4, 2024, stated that both By-Elections will be held simultaneously on April 23, 2024 in Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County following the end of political campaign on April 20, 2024 which began on April 4, 2024.

Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of NEC on Monday, April 15, 2024, in a press conference in Monrovia disclosed that in Nimba County, the Commission has organized the polls for 327,661 registered voters at 262 precincts comprising 736 polling places.

Madam Lansanah also indicated that in Electoral District #1, Grand Gedeh County, there are 20,407 registered voters and eleven prescient comprising forty-six polling places which requires two hundred and forty-three polling staff.

She said both in Nimba and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County, NEC staffers as well as polling officers were going to be deployed at various polling places immediately following their training.

She said the total senatorial candidates contesting in the By-elections in Nimba County are four and all of them are males while in Grand Gedeh, the total of 15 candidates, 12 males and 3 females, are contesting in the representatives’ By-elections.

The NEC boss vowed that the NEC will continue to work with all stakeholders, candidates, observers’ groups and the securities operators to ensure a successful conduct of the By-election as well as to update Liberians on both elections in Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County

Also, the Liberia National Police (LNP) has deployed over one hundred officers for the election securities in Nimba County and Electoral District 1, Grand Gedeh County.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operations, Atty. Nelson Freeman, has cautioned the officers that election is one of the pillars of democracy and their performance in the field will determine whether or not democracy is achieved.

Atty. Freeman further urged the officers that to maintain neutrality in the discharging of their duties because their single action in the field can either take Liberia forward or plunge the nation into conflict.

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