The ongoing Voters Roll Update and registration exercise is expected to serve three categories of voters: those who did not reach the voting age in 2017 but are now eligible; those who lost their voter registration cards, and those who relocated. But just within three days of the commencement of the VRU, political parties and political actors are crying foul that the process is being defrauded from within the very electoral body that is clothed with the authority to organize elections in Liberia. Mr. Simeon Taylor is the preferred candidate of the Collaborating Political Parties in Grand Cape Mount County, and he has directly accused Grand Cape Mount County electoral magistrate David Armah of moving voter registration equipment into Zimmi Mapkei, Sierra Leone, to register Sierra Leoneans for incumbent Senator Victor Watson.
According to Mr. Taylor, Grand Cape Mount County is renowned for its hospitality and the friendliness of its citizens. But he said the current political violence and electoral fraud in Grand Cape Mount County is spearheaded by NEC magistrate David Armah who is reportedly acting on the direct orders of Sierra Leonean diamond dealer Idrissa Mansaray to ensure that Senator Victor Watson wins at all cost in the December 8, 2020 elections.
“Our democracy in Grand Cape Mount County is under attack. We are friendly people. We are not violent. You can come from another political party and your wife is from another political party, and the both of you will coexist, while supporting different candidates. But the new political dispensation of violence and fraud in Grand Cape Mount County came from Idrissa Mansaray. You know, that type of violent style of politics actually originates from Sierra Leone where if you are not from a particular party, you don’t even wear their color. In Liberia, we are not that way. We are a friendly people,” aspirant Taylor noted.
Idrissa Mansaray, aspirant Taylor stated, is a diamond dealer who has gotten so much wealth from Grand Cape Mount County through the fancy diamonds that are unique to Western Liberia’s Mano River Kongo region.
“He’s a dual nationality with ties from Sierra Leone and Guinea. Because we are bordering with Sierra Leone, Idrissa is encouraging Sierra Leoneans to come to Liberia to decide for us who will be the leader so he can have stronger control over the resources of our country. More Liberians are not understanding how Idrissa is supporting his stooges to be leaders in Cape Mount. They may feel that we have beef. No we don’t have. What I am fighting for is the social justice of our county. We cannot live in a county where an individual will dictate to our democracy because he wants to take all the diamonds and gold from Cape Mount, so that the people will not benefit, and nobody will complain because he has the authority to do so. It’s unconstitutional to find people from different countries influencing our elections,” Taylor said.
Identifying personalities who are the kingpins in aiding and abetting the bludgeoning violence and electoral fraud through businessman Idrissa Mansaray, Mr. Simeon Taylor named NEC Grand Cape Mount County Magistrate David Armah as the ringleader.
“As for David Armah, he has been entrenched in electoral fraud since 2017 during the voters’ registration exercise. David Armah allowed his boys to cross over in Sierra Leone to do voters registration to infuse those figures into the voters’ rolls. Right now as I speak to you, the NEC electoral materials are in Zimmi, around the Paramount Chief’s house. I sent my people in Zimmi and they took photos showing where David Armah’s people are printing voter cards and giving them to Sierra Leoneans. Right now, David Armah is registering the people in Grand Cape Mount County and after they shall have gone through with the centers that they went through for three days, he’s not posting the results on the wall,” Mr. Taylor alleged.
“We have our people there observing. We have our figures already. But he’s not posting the results for us to photograph them because he wants to register those people in Sierra Leone, come back and infuse those figures into those various centers in Cape Mount. I called him this morning asking him, ‘look, you did registration to Mabohn Wanga, Mabohn Dorley. You did registration at Jenneh-Liberia. We know the figure. But did you not post the paper on the wall for the public to understand that you registered maybe 100 or 200 persons at those centers’. Mr. Armah’s only reply was that his people are doing their job, and that’s the right thing they are doing. The fraud that Armah is committing is not just Sierra Leone. Even in Monrovia, we understood that David Armah had given out some NEC materials to George Kamara at his residence and they were registering people in Brewerville, Jahtondo Town. So the process is not credible because of David Armah. He doesn’t care because he says the money that Idrissa is giving him will be enough even if the NEC sacks him. He talks arrogantly when candidates are talking to him. David Armah is the wrong person to handle the elections in Grand Cape Mount County because he has sold our democracy to enrich himself,” Mr. Taylor alleged.
“As you may know, Idrissa bought David Armah a Forerunner Jeep right after the 2017 elections, and that is the car that he went to Sierra Leone with. He does whatever he wants. For example in the Latia case, when the people were heavily trucked from Monrovia and other parts to register in Cape Mount, but were stopped by the local people to do the registration, David Armah called, saying that the people have the right to register. That’s how the citizens got angry and the situation became very brutal. They even ended up wounding journalist Omaska Jallah in his head,” Taylor said.
Another person identified as the chief architect of electoral fraud in Grand Cape Mount County is National Security personnel George Q. Kamara. According to multiple sources and Mr. Taylor himself, Mr. Kamara uses his national security clout to sway voters in favor of Idrissa Mansaray’s candidate Victor Watson. George Kamara is in fact said to be at the forefront of Senator Watson’s campaign in Cape Mount.
“For the National security apparatus to allow George Kamara to be a national security personnel and stand before the campaign of a person is scary. Where are we going? Who do we depend on now in Liberia when people are doing those acts? It’s just sad that our country is losing the moral rectitude to govern well,” aspirant Simeon Taylor lamented.
Mr. Taylor said the opposition camp has already informed the National Elections Commission about these anomalies to no avail.
“We’ve written NEC, we’ve written the Immigration, we wrote the UNDP, we wrote the European Union concerning the cross border participation in our elections. The Secretary General of the CPP, Aloysius Toe, did a seven-page document which he sent to NEC. Those complaints have been filed in, and we are filing other complaints on a daily basis. Whatever we said to NEC, they are overlooking and doing what they want to do,” Mr. Taylor complained.
Regarding the recent acts of violence in Grand Cape Mount County, aspirant Taylor said the entire episode was orchestrated by Senator Victor Watson and his supporters.
“As you know, our political leaders went to Cape Mount last Sunday to grace the occasion of our endorsement. While we were at the program, we understood that our observer at Jenneh-Liberia was under attack because some Sierra Leoneans crossed into Liberia and wanted to register to vote, and the observer said ‘no, these people are not Liberians, they should not partake into our elections’. So the Victor Watson supporters got angry, chopped a young guy in the head, and an old man who they brutalized had to be rushed to Tubmanburg for treatment. The other guys that went to rescue their people had their motorcycles seized. There was a lot of chaos that took place,” Mr. Taylor narrated.
“Thereafter, we understood that in Latia, Victor Watson along with Idrissa Mansaray loaded two NTA buses and went in to register their people. Some of them, according to what we heard, came from Kakata. The people in the town refused to register them, and they said that if you come from Cape Mount, go to your home and do your registration; you cannot do it here. And so, I like the steps that the Cape Mountainians took. No trucking in Cape Mount. We’re serious about that. To find people from Kakata, Montserrado, going to make decisions to give us an unwanted leader in Grand Cape County is unacceptable. We’re not going to allow that,” Mr. Taylor vowed.
He said one of the CPP party agents that was wounded was in the Bomi Government Hospital but had to be transferred to Monrovia due to the ongoing strike of health workers. “So I just talked to the hospital leaders to help us with the ambulance to help take him to a nearby hospital in Montserrdo for treatment. The other guy that they chopped in the head is in the Lofa Bridge hospital undergoing treatment right now,” Taylor further disclosed.
Regarding the need to curtail future electoral violence, the CPP choice for Grand Cape Mount, who rose to fame on the Alternative National Congress ticket, says the best thing for Liberians to do is to vote all of the CPP candidates in the December 8, 2020 elections.
“We can use the House to curtail most of these things that are happening. Once you have a powerful House and a powerful Senate, you can change a lot. We can use the constitution to change a lot. We can use the citizens to change a lot. We as a people have to decide what we want for our country. But I can assure you of one thing. Those people that are crossing voting materials into Sierra Leone, they will not come to Liberia. If they try coming to Liberia, we are going to stop them. Those who are registering people in Kakata, thinking that they will infuse those figures in the process, we will raise issues with NEC when we observe any strange numbers that don’t add up to what we obtain from our party agents,” Mr. Taylor cautioned.