By: Jerromie S. Walters
Liberia: The ideology and thought of the electoral understanding of Lofa County being the political stronghold of Amb Joseph Nyuma Boakai, appears to have condition (critical thinking), especially with the results of the just ended Lofa County Senatorial By-election.
Former Vice President BOAKAI is a son of Foya, Lofa County and has had influence, traditionally and politically in that part of Liberia.
Independent Candidate Cllr. Joseph Jallah beat Boakai’s candidate Galakpai Kortima in the By-election, there by creating skepticism over the stronghold and traditional play in terms of the former VP alliance within Lofa. The county is considered as the bread basket of Liberia due to its rich agricultural soil and produce. The county has five (5) electoral districts, namely Voinjoima, Kolahun, Vahum, Zorzor and Foya.
The Senatorial By-election showed that the winner, Cllr. Jallah pulled votes from contested areas described as Boakai’s strongholds, including Foya.
Many have attributed the election defeat to ‘card not played well’ and the intense interference of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) within the county By-election.
The likes of Montserrado County district 5 Representative Thomas Fallah, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee, Maritime Boss Eugene Maybe and other prominent government officials of the CDC flooded the Lofa,preaching anti-traditional slogans and engaging electorates to vote Cllr. Jallah based on development instead.
The campaign process of the senatorial by-election in Lofa County also displayed a very huge delegation from the opposition community, which was led by amb. Joseph Nyuma Boakai who has unarguably been considered over the years as the political godfather of Lofa County.
The presence of Amb. Boakai in Lofa for the electoral process, showed how essential the senatorial seat was to the Unity Party, especially considering the fact that it was previously occupied by Mr. J. Brownie Samukai who was overwhelmingly voted in 2020 on the UP/CPP ticket.
But completely contrary to what many thought, Amb Boakai’s delegation failed on delivering the deliverables.
However, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has declared Independent candidate Joseph Jallah as the winner of the just ended Lofa County senatorial by-election even with the presence of Amb Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, Mr Benoni Urey and other stewards of the opposition community throughout the process.
Addressing a new conference early Friday, July 1, 2022, National Elections Commission Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah disclosed
the total of 454 pulling places, constituting 100% of the elections, Cllr Joseph Jallah won a total of 22,019 votes constituting 36. 6%.
The Commission’s result shows Cllr. Jallah major contender Galakpai Kortimai of the Unity Party at the second place, with a total of 21,229 constituting 35.15%.
Howbeit, results from the just ended Lofa senatorial election, put a dot on the supremacy of UP Boakai, as many believe that Lofians have entered a new stardom of politics.
Social media posts and comments from both supporters of the opposition and ruling as well as non-party suggest that the road to 2023 in Lofa County will have to be redefined if Boakai should retain and or win seats in Lofa.
The ruling party has indicated in comments at their party headquarters in Celebration of the win of Cllr. Jallah on July 1, 2022, that Lofa is no longer a stronghold of anyone; as such, more seats will be delivered to CDC in 2023 in Lofa.
Surprisingly, criticisms surrounding UP’s defeat also points to the breakout of the Collaborting Political Parties (CPP). In 2020, the CPP jointly pulled Senatorial seats across the country during that election. Many believe one party outside the strength of the CPP may not pull win in the face of the ruling party.
As it stands UP has pulled out of the CPP and the unsettled internal wrangling within the Liberty Party also is an issue for remaining parties, All Liberian Party and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) on the other hand is also alone within the Collaboration.
The fight to win and retain seats within the opposition Bloc remains deem outside a joint fight against the ruling establishment.
The senatorial by-election in Lofa County recorded 60,394 valid votes, and 2125 invalid votes, counting a total of 62,519 votes.
NEC has challenged party (ies) dissatisfied with the election results to take up a legal action as provided by law, which the Commission stands ready to confront and justify the results.
However, the ruling establishment CDC which was seen campaigning for independent Candidate Cllr. Jallah, have venerated his victory as it appears as an intrinsic achievement to secure a seat in Lofa, as report has it that Cllr. Jallah is expected to join the party in the coming days.
Moreover, critics have seen the lost of Unity Party in Lofa, as a clearer picture of their weakness, and inability to singlehandedly win the 2023 general election.