Inconclusive Elections Hold in Nimba Today -After Disruption of process

MONROVIA: The National Election Commission (NEC) could not complete announcement of provisional results for the 2023 Presidential elections covering the rest of the country due to pending polling scheduled for today for Presidential, Senatorial and Representative Elections at the two polling places in the Beo Lontuo Precinct in Electoral District #4 in Nimba County.

The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission, Madam Davidetta Brown Lassanah who disclosed this yesterday at the Commission’s Headquarters at 9th Street Sinkor during its regular press briefing said electorates of the two polling places at the precinct will go to the polls today, 20 October 2021.

“Members of the press, as was reported in yesterday’s [October 18] briefing [on] the Presidential, Senatorial and Representative Elections at the two polling places in Beo Lontuo precinct in Electoral District #4 in Nimba County. The Commission wishes to inform you that all is set for the conduct of these elections”, she said.

NEC Chairperson Dividetta Brown-Lansana quoted the magistrate as saying that the Liberia National Police has already deployed officers to the area.

She attributed the delay of the polling in the two polling places at the Beo Lontuo precinct in Nimba County Electoral District #4 in Nimba to the disruption of the counting process in the Beo Lontuo Precinct, Electoral District #4, Nimba County, and added that those accused were arrested.

Those arrested, the NEC boss said, are George Josephus, Menwongbaye Sieden, Nelson Gomah, Gonmietay Gomie, Emanuel Luoh, Hanson Cooper and Hakkaton Miahn.

She quoted the Police in Nimba as saying that these individuals have been levied multiple charges, ranging from obstruction of government’s function, criminal mischief, theft of property and tampering with public records, pointing out that some of them  who were involved with the violent acts are said to be on the run.

Similarly, Madam Brown Lansana who was giving an update of previous briefing said other staff of NEC were involved in vote tampering in Cape Mount County.

She named those involved as Philip A. Zoedua, District Electoral Coordinator for District #1; Patience Woniyou, Presiding Officer polling place 1, Weajue Public School 12035; Mohamed Kemoh, Presiding Officer polling place 3, Weajue Public School, 12035; and Mauna Passeway, Presiding Officer polling place 4, Weajue Public School 12035

The NEC Chair further disclosed that following their turnover to the LNP Detachment of Cape Mount County by the Election Magistrate on Sunday, 15 October 2023, the four individuals were incarcerated, pending LNP investigation and arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction.

Accordingly, the LNP Detachment of Robertsport has launched an investigation into the allegation.

Meanwhile the Commission has identified temporary staff allegedly involved in electoral mal-practices during the Montserrado County votes tally as follows.

Madam Lannsana named them as Gussin S. Mongai, Temporary Staff Application # 086791, Electoral District #4; Jemama M. Tugbeh, Temporary Staff Application # 089187, Electoral District 4; Jay K. Gbassagee, Temporary Staff Application # 061403, Electoral District #8; Tracy T. Paasewe, Temporary Staff Application # 063265, Electoral District 15, and Victor T. Johnson, Temporary Staff Application # 102959, Electoral District #15

Like those in Grand Cape Mount County, these temporary staff are in police custody pending the conclusion of police investigation and arraignment before the court, she said.

In the meantime, the Commission assures all political parties, candidates and stakeholders that the attempted mal practices were corrected, and they in no way affect the outcome of the elections in those places. It must also be noted that the individuals involved in these acts will no longer work for the NEC, Madam Brown-Lanasna assured.

She said while thanking and appreciating temporary staff for their sacrifices during the conduct of the 10 October 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, the Commission appeals to them to remain calm as their payments are being processed for disbursement in the coming days.

The delays in the payment of temporary staff, Madam Brown-Lansana indicated, are due to the manual adjustments being made to the payroll process to accommodate the new temporary staff entry into the human resource system.

“These staff replaced, last minute to time, presiding officers and voter identification officers who did not show up on Election Day but were recruited via NEC online recruitment portal,” she clarified.

Regarding payment of temporary staff, she said as of the 18 of October, payrolls for Lower Montserrado, Maryland, River-Gee, Rivercess, Lower Lofa, Upper Montserrado, Margibi, Upper Nimba, Lower Nimba and Grand Gedeh have been submitted and payments are being processed for mobile money transfer for temporary staff who worked in these magisterial areas; pointing out that temporary staff from the remaining magisterial areas will be processed as soon as the payrolls are submitted.

Additionally, she indicated that the delays in payment resulted from involvement of magistrates and electoral supervisors to ensure that the tally processes at magisterial levels went smoothly which she further clarified impedes their role in preparing payrolls and therefore stalled that process.

Currently, she said payrolls are being completed and, so far, Lofa, Upper Bong, Lower Montserrado, and River Gee have sent their payrolls and temporary staff will begin to receive their payments via Mobile Money almost immediately.

Besides, she also disclosed that payrolls from the rest of the 11 counties are expected soon and will be immediately processed.

Presently, the commission said it was manually generating contracts for the new temporary staff who replaced those that did not show up on Election Day, adding that upon completion, the contracts will be sent to the magisterial offices for distribution

Meanwhile, NEC permanent and temporary staff were also being deployed yesterday for the purpose of the polling as the Liberia National Police has already deployed officers to the area as well.

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