Where Lies Botoe Kanneh’s Fate?

While the fate of Gbarpolu County senatorial candidate Botoe Kanneh is yet to be known, women organizations are raising money for her legal fees alongside that of Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh of Nimba County to appeal at the Supreme Court.  

Madam Kanneh has been projected to have won the Gbarpolu County Senate seat as an Independent Candidate ahead of her closest challenger Representative Alfred Koiwood of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) after the rerun election in Nomodatanau.

Representative Koiwood has filed an election violence case against her at the National Election Commission (NEC) but the case was referred to the Magistrate in Gbarpolu County on grounds that NEC’s Board of Commissioners has no jurisdiction to investigate matters of such nature. Therefore, the women groups took to the streets during the weekend in their “Let her take her seat” campaign in an effort to raise money for her case to be taken to the Supreme Court at a cost of US$5,000.00.

Before the rerun election in the  Gbarpolu County Electoral District Number Three, Madam Kanneh, whose two brothers are lawyers, had been in the lead with 4,767 electoral votes, while her closest rival, Representative Koiwood had 4,281 votes from the 139 polling places out of 144, as far as data from NEC is concerned.

Though Madam Kanneh’s lead against Representative Koiwood has been slightly reduced, she is still expected to beat her rival whose votes in the January 7, 2021 re-run were apparently not sufficient to surpass the only female candidate in the race. Preliminary results from Nomodatanau shows that Madam Kanneh obtained a total of 188 votes while Representative Koiwood got 217.

Representative Koiwood secured more votes than Madam Kanneh in Nomodatanu, yet she managed to keep her overall lead as the county’s projected Senator-elect due to her early lead in the race.

Nomodatanau, where the election was previously postponed due to electoral violence, had a population of 2,000 registered voters but due to the intimidation tactics by the paramount chief McGill Wleh and the country devil within the town, many of the voters did not turn out to vote.

During the violence on December 8, 2020, the paramount chief of Nomodatanau, McGill Wleh, with support from his fellow residents seized ballot boxes and prevented the election from taking place due to what he called ‘illegal attempts by aliens to vote’ in that part of the country.

The seizure and confiscation of the four ballot boxes resulted to the closure of the polling precinct until the end of the day.

After some days of electoral violence, paramount chief McGill summoned the town’s country devil, thus increasing the violence and the reported kidnapping of Madam Kanneh to an unknown location on December 14, 2020, a day ahead of the first rerun.

The action of the town chief and his collaborators was said to have been prompted by allegations of foreign nationals with Liberian voter registration cards, especially Sierra Leoneans, attempting to vote ahead of the elections.

Meanwhile, Madam Kanneh, when confirmed by the NEC as winner, will become the first female Senator of Gbarpolu County and the second female Senator apart from Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County within the current Senate.

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