Post-Senatorial Election Violence In Bomi…Lahai Lansanah, Several Arrested; Sen. Johnson Accuses Pres. Sirleaf Of Influencing Results, But Press Sec. Reacts
By Varney K. Sirleaf from Tubmanburg, Bomi County
The recent confusion over the results of the just ended Senatorial Election in Bomi County is continuing as Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson has called for the immediate resignation of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her alleged involvement in election fraud.
According to the Senator, President Sirleaf and Speaker Tyler were seen distributing food and assorted items including money on Election Day in the county; which prompted him (Sen. Johnson) to send a text message to the Speaker to put a halt to what they were doing and he said following his text message, the Speaker replied him that he has stopped the distribution.
He narrated that on Monday while Senator Lansanah was resting at his Tubmanburg residence a Pick-up full of PSU officers entered the city and allegedly manhandled and arrested Senator Lahai Lansanah, paraded him through the principal streets of Tubmanburg and took him to the Monrovia Central Police Headquarters where he was charged for Criminal Facilitation which the police later changed to Disorderly Conduct.
“The PSU officers led by one Alex went to the home of Senator Lansanah Monday morning at 10:A.M.upon the order of President Sirleaf and Speaker Tyler which they called ‘Executive Order and arrested him like a criminal, breaking the chair and stool he was sitting on. They also vandalized his house and made away with several items including four Laptop Computers, two flat screen televisions and other valuable items,” Sen. Johnson further narrated.
Sen. Johnson said one of Sen. Lansanah’s sons arm got disjointed in a scuffle and that his wife was also beaten and her blouse torn apart, something he said was an ill-treatment against a sitting Senator. He added that Sen. Lahai is the third lawmaker that has been treated inhumanely by the Liberia National Police. “This is an action orchestrated by both President Sirleaf and Speaker Tyler to publicly disgrace Senator Lansanah,” he angrily stated. The Senator said that even the NEC official who is currently under police custody admitted that there was a fraud in the electoral process.
“We, with our lawyers are preparing our complaint which will be filed soon. But I want to conclude that we will only remain calm if President Sirleaf resigns as President of this country,” the Senator emphasized.
He said the citizens of Bomi who were arrested by the Police are currently languishing in jail at the Monrovia Central Prison and are being vomited upon by other prisoners fearing that they could contract the Ebola virus.
For his part, Mr. Ndoma Mark Ngebla, Chairman of the Friends of Lahai Lansanah and also Caretaker of the Senator’s residence in Tubmanburg disclosed that he was bathing in the morning on Monday when a Pick-up full of PSU officers led by Officer Alex went into the home of the Senator and arrested him and his wife and took them to Monrovia.
He explained that the Senator’s chair and table were broken by the police because of the force applied by the officers in arresting the Senator. “Prior to the arrest, some of our election observers were intimidated on election day by the police officers. We beat Mr. Saytumah in the two strongest districts (Senjeh and Klay), but we later found out that Swen Mecca, a district that is among the least in the county produced the highest number of votes,” he lamented.
Mr. Ngebla further stated that one of the polling centers was not formally closed as stated in the electoral law of Liberia. “Our observers were not allowed to see the final stage of the closing process of the center; the district supervisor only came and ordered everyone out of the center, and whatsoever that was done in our absence we don’t know,” Ngebla explained.
He concluded by stating that four lap top computers, two Samsung galaxy phones, two flat screen televisions, US$450 and a check worth US$350 were all taken away by the police officers.
When contacted, the Presidential Press Secretary, Jerolimick Piah, denied the claims by Senator Johnson saying the President has no saying or hand in the arrest of Senator Lansanah.
He further said that the claim made by the Senator is mere balderdash. On the claim that the President campaigned on the day of election by distributing food, Mr. Piah described the claim by Sen. Johnson as completely untrue and far from reality.