On three occasions now, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has postponed the Montserrado Senatorial and District #15 bi-elections with justification pointed to the usual “no money” syndrome. The postponement has gone beyond constitutional mandate that requires the holding of election to fill legislative seats made vacant by death, illness or other state of inability with 90 days after being declared vacant. Notwithstanding the excuses that have been attending the postponement of the elections, the opposition bloc has expressed dissatisfaction on the altar of accusation that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has been buying time for registration of more voters for victory. The Unity Party’s Chairman Wilmot Paye, and other stalwarts of the four collaborating Parties, speaking at the launch of Senatorial candidate Abraham Darius Dillon sounded a warning- saying, “when they tamper with these bi-elections, they will tramper with their entire existence in this country,” The Analyst’s Bill Jarkloh follows the event and reports.
Shortly before he presented the candidates of the opposition bloc, Senatorial Candidate Darius Dillon and District #15 Representative Candidate Telia Urey to jubilant multitudes of opposition last Saturday, July 13, 2017, Unity Party Chairman Wilmot Paye warned the election governing body and the ruling party against at any act of cheating during the ensuing bi-elections. Chairman Paye frowned on the multiple postponements of the by-elections which he said is not good for the process.
Mr. Paye accused the National elections Commission Chairman Jerome Korkoyah of acting contrary to the laws because he is seeking extension of his tenure at the NEC but warned that those who are opting for cheating in the process will “… have to find a new planet to go and cheat.
“When they tamper with this election,” Mr. Paye noted, “they will tramper with their entire existence in this country.”
Paye said “We know what they are doing.” He pointed out that previous voters’ roster will be used to checkmate whether or not there are new and excess voters on the new roster that the NEC will issue for the by-elections . “We have the 2007 voter roll and the rest of the election voters’ roll. We are waiting for the one they will bring during these elections. We will compare them. If one voter is added to a precinct, the will see the wrath, the vexation and the anger of the people,” he further warned.
He indicated that the opposition bloc has already informed the international community including the EU, the AU, ECOWAS and the American Embassy amongst others.
He told the mammoth crowd that “Gbekugbeh wants his girlfriend to be senator for Montserrado,” but added that the race to the Senate is not about “baby-ma and baby-pa”, neither is it about girlfriend and boyfriend.”
He said he admired the strength of Telia Urey, the candidate for District #15 “who Gbekugbeh called a little girl”, He pointed out that Ms. Urey displayed a strength that was encouraging during her launch, emphasizing that Telia is their candidate for Representative in District #15.
“We want our little girl and not someone who will go in the legislature to add to Gbekugbeh to steal the country’s money,” saying “Dillon said he will expose the salary of the law makers upon receipt of his first salary.”
For his part, the Chairman of the Four Collaborating parties, Mr. Benoni Urey Spoke highly of the unity in the group and said partisans from the various institutions have shown the unity. He bragged that their collaboration is strong, and the unity shown at the Dillon campaign launch is the exhibition of “people’s power “showing that nobody owns Montserrado.
“We must ensure that the two candidates – Dillon and Telia – win the elections,” he exclaimed saying, “… this election is not about Darius Dillon neither is it about Telia Urey; this election is about all of you.” He charged the multitudes, “You must get up from today; if they say the elections will be held five years from now, you must be prepare to be there to vote.
“You must get up you must canvass for these people; we must ensure that these two people two people are elected. Their victory is your victory. Your victory is Liberia’s victory; Liberia’s victory is Africa’s victory. We must send a message during these elections. I can count on you and I am seeing it in your face, “he asserted.
Senator Sando Johnson of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) who graced the opposition political rally said he supports Dillion and Telia because of their value.´ “I wish we have enough time to tell you why you must elect these two personalities. I come from the National Patriotic Party; the NPP is in collaboration with the CDC. But today, I am supporting these two candidates. I am supporting them because of values; I am supporting then because of the stance they have taken over the years. “ he said
According to him, the gathering of Dillon’s launch could not be like others when people in high places used the podium at a political rally to denigrate other people, to bring down other people’s families, which he pointed out is ‘unacceptable’.
“But this gathering is much more mature than the other one. We listened to the chairman’s speech, he did not call names; he spoke as a leader. And we expect the leaders to behave in similar manner and form,” the Bomi County Senator said.
He pointed out that when he was small, “my grandmother used to tell me, ‘don’t ever bring the giant from the bush! When you bring the giant from the bush to the town, he will break the houses; the giant will spoil the roads.”
Also Speaking was Montserrado County representative Yekeh Kolubah who implored the crowds of opposition to protest the hardship in the country with their votes during these by-elections. “If your happy with what we doing, then your will express it in your votes.” He said the only way we will continue the advocacy against the odds of society is to prove him right with their votes for the two candidates.
Henry Costa also spoke at the occasion. He expressed happiness with the huge turnout at a short notice. “Yesterday morning, I was informed of the launching while on the radio; and I wonder what we were depending on to plan the launch at such a short notice. But I am surprised to see this multitude; it looks like human being cartons burst. ”
Costa disagreed with claim by the ruling CDC that they owned Montserrado. “You say you own Montserrado County, Is this your pa land, he gave you Montserrado County land deed?” Custa further said the Country giant has now become country chicken that will be roasted during the elections. “You say you Gbarkugbeh; you are the country giant. We will show you that you’re country chicken – from Country giant to country chicken. We will eat that chicken on Election Day. That is when we vote these two people, our voice on the radio will be solidified,” he concluded.
The District #15 Candidate, Telia Urey, dressed in white t-shirts and blue jeans trousers, thanked the crowd for the support given the opposition team. “I am proud to be in this midst. We are here because we have hope in our future; we have hope in our country. And that hope is something that should never die.”
According to Ms. Urey, “It’s no secret that we are suffering in this country. It is no secret that we are suffering in this country. Poverty, hunger, lack of good education, lack of good healthcare, unemployment are those we’re suffering. So this election here is not about Telia Urey, it’s not about Darius Dillon. It’s about each and every one of us that gather here today,” she remarked.
She said Liberians need real representations in the legislature. “We need people who will stand up. We need people who will fight for us to make sure we get all the necessary things that will make all of us, our lives better , not only in District #15 and not only in Montserrado, but in the entire Liberia.
Commenting on whether the UREYS are losers as stated by president Weah at the CDC Headquarters, Telia responded, “We will win; we are not losers. The real losers are those when they are elected, they cannot serve the people; and they will lose these election. These elections are not girlfriend business, they are not corruption business. We need the real people that will make our lives better,” she concluded.