Buchanan, Grand Bassa County - Supporters of Daniel Chea, who lost in the just-ended Grand Bassa County senatorial by-election, on Friday, stormed the National Elections Commission office in Buchanan claiming that the election won by Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence was marred by fraud.
The Chea supporters led by one Solomon Kollie explained that there was a ‘formed clique’ which denied their candidate (Chea) from winning the election. He said even though they are angry, they will remain civil in the submission of their claims and complaints. Kollie said they submitted four counts of complaints to the chairman of the election commission earlier but surprising information they acquired has triggered a new move by them.
Kollie explained: ‘’ We got a telephone call from one of our coordinators (Oscar Juah) from electoral District Two saying two NEC pick-ups where coming with ballot boxes. We were very concern and went to the NEC office and surely we saw two of the boxes from electoral district four precisely the LAC plantation with the inscription “processed tees.”
Processed Tees are counted ballot boxes which has not been tallied.
“This is why our people have converged from throughout Bassa to see what is obtaining,’’ Kollie exclaimed.
Kollie has long been a strong opponent to Madam Kangar-Lawrence. It can be recalled that Mr. Kollie filed a nomination challenge against the Liberty Party Candidate. At the hearing he claimed she was not a domiciliary of Buchanan and also argued that she did dual registration during the 2011 general elections. NEC heard and dismissed his arguments which paved the way for Madam Kangar –Lawrence’s participation in the by-election which she went on to win.
Chea’s supporters were on Friday accused by NEC Grand Bassa magistrate, David Logan who said they stormed the warehouse, where election materials are kept in pursuit of finding evidenceto show that ballot papers were left out of the tallying process.But Kollie denied, claiming that they requested only to take pictures of the ballot boxes in contention. Kollie said the warehouse officer permitted them free entry to the facility and there was no brutality during the process.
“We are injured in this process but our people have exhibited all level of discipline. We talk to them and they will remain civil. They (NEC) are at fault that’s why they are making these allegations,” Kollie asserted.
Magistrate Logan has expressed fear over Friday’s happenings, saying NEC vehicles were attacked in the process and there have been threats coming in that there will be an arson attack on his office.
‘’They are making threatening remarks that they will burn the warehouse and the office, so we need security protection. We can’t be held hostage at the electoral commission,” Mr. Logan said. He continues, ‘’If anybody got a case you go to the court, we have remedy for electoral redress and fault. You cannot come and do hooliganism in our office; this is a country of law and order”.
He however refuted all the claims by the Chea -supporters, clarifying that the ballot boxes that were being transported were containing only mob ballot papers which was used to train polling workers before the election. Asked why the boxes were kept at these places up to that time, Mr. Logan said there’s no time limitation for returning the boxes with mob-ballot papers.
Few hours later, a police source told FrontPage Africa that the tension subsided at the NEC office but speculation amongst Pro-Daniel Chea voters still remain an issue as many of them where seen expressing disappointment over news today. Nyonblee Kangar -Lawrence’s victory has however enjoyed appreciable amount of commendation after she was declared and certificated winner of the election, defeating Daniel Chea (independent), Jonathan Kaipay (Unity Party), and T.Wah Bedell (National Patriotic Party).
Meanwhile, a unit of Police Support Unit (PSU) has been deployed at the NEC Buchanan office.