BONG COUNTY – Over irregularities and unfair elections in Bong County District #4, the National Election Commission of Liberia; Upper Bong Senior Magistrate, Daniel Newland walks on slippery ground, as a group of citizens under the canopy ‘People Movement Unity in Developing a New Liberia of the People, by the People and for the People Electoral District #4, Bong County, collect thousands of signatures of citizens to petition NEC for his resignation.
The citizen’s demand comes as a result of the recent discovery of multiple levels of fraudulent activities and discrepancies found under the supervision of Mr. Daniel Newland during the recount process.
The recount process follows a complaint filed by an Independent candidate Quanuquanei A. Karmue of irregularities, for which, the Supreme Court ordered the Commission to conduct a recount of votes in five polling places at Yowee Public School polling places 1, 2, and 3 as well as Mbelequah polling places 1 and 2.
Following the recount process on December 14, 2023, results of votes from the five polling places in the two towns showed that candidate Jonah Nulee Tokpah of Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) who came second previously votes declined drastically while Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Susannah Seton M. L votes increased extensively followed by incumbent Robert Flomo Womgba of the Unity Party maintained almost the same votes with just a slight increase by one vote.
A consolidated tally report of the recount of the five polling places gave CDC candidate Susannah M. Seton 940 votes representing 56.9% while incumbent Robert Flomo Womgba obtained 177 votes constituting 10.7% followed by CPP candidate Jonah Nulee Tokpah with 123 votes amounting to 7.4%.
But speaking at a press conference on December 19, 2023, in the District, the People Movement Unity in Developing a New Liberia of the People, by the People and for the People Electoral District #4, said they want Magistrate Daniel Newland to resign his position as Magistrate to allow a sincere investigation into the grievous fraudulent actions carried out at the National Election Commission, Upper Bong County Tally Center within 4 days.
The Bong County Electoral District#4 disenchanted citizens are pleading for either a complete recount of all Representative ballot papers from all 74 polling places in the 24 voting precincts of electoral District #4 which were processed during the October 10, 2023, general elections, or a revote of the election in District #4 to restore trust within the election process.
The citizen is formally requesting that with evidence that the recent recount conducted at the Five (5) polling centers in the District has confirmed fraudulent actions, and ballot tampering in violation of election laws, it’s necessary that remedy is completely served and confidence trust is restored in the NEC and for the constitutional rights of the citizens to stand.
For his part, an independent representative candidate Quanuquanei A. Karmue whom the Supermer Court of Liberia ruled in his favor said he stands with the citizens of District #4, Bong County, to call for the immediate resignation of the Upper Bong County Magistrate, Mr. Daniel Newland.
He said after he (Karmue) filed a complaint of discrepancies Magistrate Newland said he did not have a case and he (Newland) took the airways to fabricate the evidence, but the same evidence that was presented to the NEC office here in the County was presented to the Supreme Court who ruled overwhelmingly in favor of he (Quanuquanei A. Karmue) and the court order a recount in the district.
According to candidate Quanuquanei A. Karmue, the recount exposed additional discrepancies within Mr. Daniel Newland’s Office, proving that Mr. Newland’s actions favored specific candidates over others.
“The observers discovered that one of the Ballot boxes series numbers had been changed, and there appeared to be a countless number of ballots stuffed under different candidates in that particular box,” he added.
The Bong County District#4 representative candidate continued: “This was the old Liberia where corruption was the order of the day. We’re in a new era, a New Liberia with zero tolerance for corruption in District #4.
The people of Liberia deserve better, the District#4 citizens deserve better representation.”
We will not let the old Liberia, the bureaucracy that has not worked for the people threaten the people so that the people cannot get clear facts and understanding about the electoral process, adding I will not let that happen in this district again.
Therefore, today, I stand with the People’s Movement, with thousands of citizens to back this petition, calling for the immediate resignation of Mr. Daniel Newland.
“Thousands of people throughout the district are offended by this and can no longer trust the election process under Mr. Newland,” Karmue noted.
My allegiance is to the people, and today, I stand with the people in this petition as hundreds more are coming in from all over the district.
However, when contacted Magistrate Daniel Newland regarding the allegations, he described the allegations as false and misleading.
He said its the citizens right to test the legal process of Liberia, adding it is good for them follow the law of Liberia.
The District’s highest seat was contested by 13 candidates in the just-ended 2023 elections with a total vote cast of 25,708, while total valid votes reached 24,002 (100.00%), and total invalid votes of 1,706.
In the NEC precious pronouncement of results from the October 10 legislative elections in the district, Representative Robert Flomo Womgba of the Unity Party, according the NEC got 4, 954 votes (20.64%), while Jonah N. Togbah of the CPP got 4, 873 votes (20.3%), with Independent candidate Quanuquanei Afred Karmue obtaining 4,097 votes (17.07%).
According to the NEC, the number of registered voters across the district includes 30,029, with 24 precincts.
The NEC, also revealed that after the October 10 elections, the turnout of reported polling places was 25,708 (85.61%).