Over 11,000 Bong Residents Sign Petition

A petition calling for the National Elections Commission’s Upper Bong County Magistrate, Daniel Newland, to be dismissed has received thousands of signatures after the recent discovery of multiple levels of fraudulent activities and discrepancies found during the recount of five polling places in Bong’s District Four.

Already some 11,000 people have signed the “Dismiss Newland” Petition which alleges that, “votes during the October 10, 2023 elections in the district were stolen from other candidates and given to incumbent lawmaker Robert Womba.”

Last week, the Supreme Court mandated the NEC to conduct a recount of votes at five polling places in the district, YoweePublic School polling places 1, 2, and 3 as well as Mehnquelequah polling places 1 and 2 following complaints of cheating filed by Independent candidate Quanuquanei AfredKarmue.

The recount exposed additional discrepancies within Mr. Daniel Newland’s Office, proving that Mr. Newland’s actions favored specific candidates over others.

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 Party who came second previously votes declined drastically while Coalition of Democratic Change candidate Susannah M. Seton votes increased, followed by incumbent Robert Flomo Womgbaof the Unity Party maintaining almost his 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 Womgbaobtained 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, a group of aggrieved citizens in the district, said they want Magistrate 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 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 citizens are 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, its 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, Karmue who the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in his favor, said he stands with the citizens to call for the immediate resignation of Newland.

He said after he (Karmue) filed a complaint of discrepancies Magistrate Newland said he did not have a case and he (Newland)  took to radio stations to reportedly fabricate the evidence, but the same evidence that was presented to the NEC office 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.

“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,” he said.

“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 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.”

When Magistrate Daniel Newland was contacted regarding the allegations, he described the allegations as false and misleading.He said it is the citizens’ right to test the legal process of Liberia adding, “It is good for them to 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 QuanuquaneiAfred 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. NEC also revealed that after the October 10 elections, the turnout of reported polling places was 25,708 (85.61%).

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