Lead senatorial candidate in Gbarpolu, Madam Botoe Kanneh, who was reportedly abducted to an unknown location, having been chased by ‘Country Devil’ in Normor Datando town, Electoral District # 3, Gbarpolu County, has been rescued by a group of women and is said be in a safe shelter in Monrovia. Although her exact location is yet to be confirmed, a family source told local radio that the Candidate was brought to Monrovia by a Group of Women.
“She is terrified,” the family source described her condition, but added that he has not seen her in person, only that they have communicated via phone.
It has also been alleged that some women who are supporting the Gbarpolu Senatorial Candidate are said to be held hostage by some traditional and security people. Other accounts of the report said some of the abductees were mistreated and abused.
Officials of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), a member institution of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), including Mr. Aloysius Toe and a brother of Candidate Botoe Kanneh, Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, were reportedly apprehended and flogged by locals presumed to be traditionalists, reportedly in the presence of state security officers.
Making the disclosure when he appeared on a local radio morning Show Wednesday, Cllr. Murphy Kanneh, a brother to the candidate, reported security excesses towards the opposition leaders that had gone into the contested Normor Datando Town, in the wake of the hostilities towards Madam Botoe Kanneh and her supporters.
Cllr. Murphy Kanneh disclosed that he has spoken with his brother Boakai Kanneh on Tuesday from Kongbor, a hard-to-reach town in Gbarpolu. Murthy said his brother was massively beaten with sticks, and that he is feeling serious pains from the assaults.
“And the immigration officers wouldn’t let him go. They said they want to escort [those held] to Monrovia” to conduct further investigation,” Cllr Kanneh asserted, wondering, “Can you imagine someone in pain [is denied treatment?] –He and Aloysius Toe and others. ”
Answering to a question regarding who beat Boakai and Toe, Cllr. Kanneh said, “I wouldn’t want to say who hit at him. He will tell the story when he comes.” Cllr. Murphy Kanneh pointed out that Cllr. Boakai Kanneh will say exactly who beat on him. However, he said that Boakai Kanneh only told him that he was beaten by “some guys.”
Murphy Kanneh therefore deduced that it could be the traditional people that beat on his brother, but that the security people were colluding with the traditional people. “They were so unprofessional,” Kanneh said.
He maintained that the state security sided with the traditional people; and indicated that “it is so disappointing that we have a partisan security in the country”, noting further that there is an urgent need to release all of those held including Aloysius Toe, because it is extremely dangerous for their health.
In a related development, Town Chief Stanley Ford who called to Monrovia said that men from his village fled into hideouts and that their wives were allegedly raped and properties looted at gun point by officers of the Liberia National Police.
All these incidents followed reports on Monday, December 14, of the release of a ‘Country Devil’ in Normor Datando Town, Electoral District #3 in Gbarpolu County, a situation which has renewed electoral tensions ahead of the midterm senatorial election, scheduled for Tuesday, December 15, 2020, but later cancelled by the National Elections Commission.
The reports also come in the wake of news of the seizure of ballot boxes on the orders of a Paramount Chief in Normor Datando.
Commenting on the situation, Former President Pro-tempore Armah Z. Jallah, has called on the National Election Commission to confirm Madam Botoe Kanneh on grounds that she has legally won the election and should be confirmed Senator-elect.
“I want to clarify as a lawyer that there should not be any continuation of the Midterm Senatorial Elections for 2020 that was held on Friday, December 8, 2020. The legislative Resolution that provides for the holding of the Midterm Senatorial Election for December 8 did not leave discretion for the National Elections Commission to consider holding election outside [meaning beyond] December 8,” the former Senate Pro-tempore said.
He argued that any election held outside December 8, 2020 is illegal. “It is for the good of NEC to look at the votes that have been cast and declare the winner.”
He said, “It is the Legislative Resolution that provides for the December 8 election. If you go the route of Constitution taking preeminence over the resolution, it will be an entirely different argument that will render the entire December 8 process illegal, because the Constitution sets the time and did not give the Legislature the power to change it except through referendum”.
“For this reason, we have congratulated Madam Botoe, who has already accumulated more votes in Gbarpolu than all of us, the rest of the other candidates,” he concluded.
Contacted by the ANALYST, Traditional Council Leader Chief Zanzan Kawar declined to comment. The Office of the Internal Affairs Minister, also contacted, declined to comment.