I had no hand in Gbarpolu Electoral Crisis -Minister McGill Debunks Allegations

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In the wake of allegations from the opposition bloc pointing accusing fingers at Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Mr. Nathaniel F. McGill about his reported involvement in the harassment and flogging of Independent Gbarpolu County senatorial candidate Madam Botoe Kanneh and the detention of members of her campaign team on allegations of espionage, Minister McGill has categorically denied ever getting involved in the controversies surrounding the conduct of the recent special midterm senatorial election and national referendum in Gbarpolu County, terming the allegation baseless and only intended to bring his hard earned reputation to public ridicule.

Minister McGill made the rebuttal Wednesday via a telephone interview with this paper while responding to allegations levied against him by the Collaboration of Political Parties (CPP), that he was using his power and influence in government to instigate violence and disturbances to frustrate the electoral victory of Madam Botee Kanneh who was reported to be in a commanding lead according to preliminary results from the National election Commission (NEC). He instead placed the blame squarely on the door steps of the opposition whom he accused of importing people from outside the county to cause chaos and wreak havoc so as to stop the people from freely electing the person of their choice.

Mr. McGill, who is a citizen from Gbarpolu and a former Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), said the plan of the opposition was to discredit the process by disrupting it thereby blackmailing the government to score cheap political points.  He specifically mentioned the names of Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission and brother of candidate Botoe Kanneh and Atty. Aloysius Toe, Secretary General of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), among others, who he said had no business going to the county to cause confusion among the people.

“Ordinarily, Atty. Aloysisus Toe, Boakai Kanneh, and others went to cause confusion among the people. The people of Gbarpolu were freely exercising their right”, the minister said.

When asked why the security was not able to bring the situation under control at the time, Minister McGill said the area where the disturbances occurred was very close to the Liberian Sierra Leonean border and inaccessible for speedy dispatch of security personnel. He however stated that he, through the Inspector General of Police, had dispatched 30 police officers to the county to maintain law and order.

On the allegation that he has personal malice against Madam Kanneh who was in the lead before the election got disrupted, Minister McGill said this cannot be true because as a person, though contesting against the CDC, he was pleased with her progress in the election, being a female candidate, a feat he espoused so much and therefore saw no reason why he will be against her.

The CPP while making the allegations printed gory tales of rape, abduction, arrest, beating and intimidation of supporters of Madam Kanneh. In a text message sent from Gbarpolu and shared with its members, the CPP said there was uncertainty as to the whereabouts of Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, Atty. Aloysious Toe, the youth leader and others after it was reported that they were arrested and manhandled and taken to unknown destination. Madam Kanneh’s message stated that she  been safe after rumors went round that she was kidnapped by security agents and supporters of the ruling CDC.

Meanwhile, a group of youth under the banner of the CPP youth league Wednesday morning converged in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia to protest the alleged arrest of their leaders in the county and called for their immediate release. The enraged youth carried placards with inscriptions such as “Nathaniel McGill, release our leaders”, “NEC release the results”, “no to broad day cheating”, “we demand justice for the people of Gbarpolu”, among others.

There has been no information if the group ever met Minister McGill or authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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