Nimba County   Citizens caution security actors to stop foreigners from coming to vote in their election during the day election.

By Kortee Nagbe | Internews Fellow |

Sanniquellie- As citizens of Nimba County go to the polls on April 23 to elect  their senator in the upcoming senatorial Bi-Election, residents are  calling on the joint security to remain vigilant at the various ports of entries  in preventing illegal or Foreigners from participating in the election.

According to oldman Zarwolo Tokpah who is the town chief of Gbor Yella town, a town that is bordered with Liberia and Guinea, people are always coming from Guinea to register and vote in our country during elections, something he said, causes hardship for people living in the district or county. He alleged that these are the people who make the wrong decision because they do not live here.

According to him some candidates can allegedly take people from guinea and give them cash to come register in Liberia to vote during our elections period, so he’s cautioning his people to report anyone coming from Guinea during the pending senatorial bi-elections to the requisite authorities for further actions. Oldman Tokpa is meanwhile calling on the national government to support the gallant men and women of the security with the necessary logistics to carry on their work smoothly and efficiently during the day of the election.

At the same time, the youth Chair Abraham Dolo, asserted they have noticed on so many occasions people who are from Guinea always trooping into the country to take part in the   elections. He said they will organize men to help aid the joint Security to stop people who are from Guinea to not take part any elections again.

Speaking to journalist, Dolo calls on his fellow youths to work along with the joint security especially the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) to report anyone who looks strange in their communities during the day of election. He also urged the Joint Security to listen to them and work along with them because they are the ones who know where those Guineans can pass and come vote in Liberia during elections day, as they are not everywhere at those various borders’ points.

Madam Yei Dolopaye who is the commander for the Liberia Immigration Service Nimba County detachment calling on all LIS officers who are assigned at those borders point to be very careful with those who are entering into the country before or during the day of election to curtail illegal voters during election day. She is also calling on all citizens who lives along the borders to cooperate with officers who are assigned at the borders as they will be carrying on their work on the day of the senatorial bi-election.

According to Madam Dolopaye her men and women of the service are ready especially the borders patrol officers to carry on their duty professionally with the citizens’ cooperation. She also called on citizens who lives along the borders to not interfere in the operation of the officers.

She further explained that whenever officers make an arrest family members who lives along the borders can come to appeal for them in the name they are related, that’s the reason she’s calling on them to not interfere into their operation. Madam Yei Dolopaye who doubles as the county commander of the Liberia Immigration Service in Nimba reassured people of the county of rigid border protection during the electioneering time.

“We are making sure that people do not come from across our borders from neighboring countries to interfere with our election. We will not allow that, because if anything happens here, they will be sitting in their countries while we feel the heat here. Liberia is for Liberians, therefore, it is our business to protect our election”, Madam Dolopaye insisted.

The Upper Nimba Elections Magistrate, G. Milton Paye, has indicated that the NEC is poised to conduct what he called a free, fair and transparent election on April 23, 2024.

Eligible voters in the county are expected to go to the polls to elect a senator in the upcoming Senatorial Bi-election to fill in the vacancy created after the election of Jeremiah Kpan Koung alongside President Joseph Nyumah Boakai as vice president of the Republic of Liberia.

Speaking to journalists in Sanniquellie Wednesday, Magistrate Paye said the NEC in Upper Nimba has concluded the replacement of lost and damaged Biometric Voters Registration cards and that all modalities leading to a free, fair and transparent election are on course.

“The ‘replacement of lost and damaged BVR cards’, which was conducted from March 20-25, 2024 saw the participation of about seventy-one eligible voters (52 males and 19 females). As we speak, the materials used for that exercise have been returned to NEC headquarters in Monrovia”, Magistrate Paye asserted.

He maintained that following the replacement exercise, there are several trainings that should be conducted ahead of the Election Day to ensure best practices by the polling staff.

“As a matter of fact, we have concluded the ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) and the training of Electoral Supervisors is next and it is expected to take place on April 13. From April 17-18 will be the training for the polling staff while the deployment will be from April 19-20, 2024 ahead of the Election Day. We are doing early deployment to avoid the late arrival of election materials on the day of the polls. Additionally, the Community Based Organizations contracted to conduct Civic and Voters Education are doing well to educate our people about the impending election”, magistrate Paye intimated.

The Upper Nimba Elections magistrate was not only concerned about the training and deployment of polling staff and election materials. He was also concerned about security on Election Day when he said his office is working with the joint security and the four contesting candidates to ensure that the ongoing campaigns and the April 23, 2024 polls are not disrupted.

“As part of efforts to ensure violence-free campaigns and election, our office in Upper Nimba is working with each of the four candidates to bring in their campaign schedule timetables, and they are cooperating well. So, in events where the schedules conflict with each other, we call the parties concerned to amicably resolve the situation by synchronizing and harmonizing the schedules and it has been working well”, the Upper Nimba election boss averred.

He also noted that the issue of security cannot be overly emphasized.

“Even when there is no election, we need security to protect lives and properties. So yes… there will be security presence on Election Day. We are working with the joint security to ensure sufficient security presence before, during and after the election. So the joint security is in full control of the security situation while the NEC is in full control of the credibility of the election”, Paye noted.

Meanwhile, some citizens of Nimba are calling on their compatriots to go to the cities, towns and villages where they registered to cast their ballots on Election Day. They sounded the call on a local radio phone-in program when they said a violence-free election was what they envisaged for Nimba County on April 23 this year. Some of the callers were more specific to the Beo-Lantuo and Zor Zualay impasses when they said they did not want the reoccurrences of those fracases.

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