It can be recalled that recently, the National Elections Commission(NEC) declared the political campaigns in the election opened and and will continue until Sunday the 26th of June 2022 at twelve in the morning.
The two rival candidates in the race are Mr. Galakpai Kortima of the former ruling Unity Party(UP) and Cllr. Joseph K. Jallah, an independent who is heavily supported by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC)
Over one hundred thousand eligible voters will on tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28, 2022 go to the polls to cast their ballot for the candidate of their choice in a move to occupy the vacant position at the Liberian Senate.
Beside the two rival candidates, the other candidates are Mr. Momo Cyrus , Mariamu Fofana, Mr. , Sumo Kupee and Dr. George Semah. They are all vying to fill the vacant Senatorial position for Lofa County. It was gathered that the other candidates are forces to reckon with in this election, as they also have huge supporters.
According to statistics, Lofa County has over four hundred polling centers and 162 voting precincts, which are all expected to be very busy and active on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 by both staffs of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and Lofians who will especially be seen in queues to make a wise decision for the next seven and a half years’ time.
The Tuesday By-Election came after previous changes as well as postponement due to legal battles. The legal battle, which lasted for about one year and a half finally prevented and disqualified Brownie Samukai from being a legitimate Senator of Lofa County, thus creating the vacuum that is expected to be filled by one of the six candidates.
Following days, weeks and months of political engagements as well as campaign by the six candidates, the ball is now in the coat of the people who have the power to decide on their next Senator through the democratic process , the ballot box. Lofa has five electoral districts. They are Salayea and Zorzor as one , Voinjama as two, Kolahun as three, Foya as four and Vahun as five respectively. The county in Northern Liberia used to be the bread and basket for the country but has lost said status, according to statistics due to some unexplained reasons.
Currently, deplorable roads , hardship leading to growing wave of poverty and hunger , poor health care and educational facilities as well as infrastructures , tribal, regional and land disputes are challenges Lofians are struggling to address, unlike before. However, the six candidates are of the conviction that if anyone of them is elected to the Liberian senate will work to improve the general living conditions of the people including the county in general.
As polls are expected to close by 6pm on Tuesday evening , the counting process will subsequently begin at the four hundred and fifty four polling centers and one hundred and sixty two precincts across Lofa County.
The NE both Voinjama and Kolahun sub offices headed by their respective magistrates are also expected to release preliminary results from the June 28, 2022 polls by June 29, 2022, while the Election House in Monrovia will release the final and official results to be followed by pronouncement for the winner and the new Senator of Lofa County.
The entire process is expected to be completed fully after the official certification by NEC and the oath of office to be taken by the new Senator of Lofa County in the plenary of the Liberian Senate, which will eventually see him or her begin work at the house of elders late July or early August holding everything constant.
Already, the two rival candidates with support from their respective supporters have boasted that they win the race.
According to a press release issued by the Office of the former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the UP, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who is said to be in the vanguard of the UP’s candidate campaign, a realistic picture of who is favorite in the Senatorial By Election in Lofa emerged Friday, June 24, 2022 as the entourage of the UP entered Kolahun and Foya Districts following rallies that drew mammoth crowds in Salayea, Zorzor and Voinjama Districts.
“It is now abundantly clear that Kortimai is set to win the polls Tuesday following a show and demonstration of support that has so far been demonstrated in the County. Number four (4) is on the lips of most Lofaians from Salayea to Foya the position associated with Unity Party candidate on the ballot for the Senatorial by election,” the press release asserted.
Speaking at the rally in Kolahun District, UP Strongman, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai, told the mammoth crowd that the unity of Lofa County matters and that Lofaians should not settle for cheap propaganda and that the togetherness that has always characterized the life of the people of Lofa will continue to prevail. He pointed out that Lofaians should go for a leadership that will benefit its people and county. He said despite the divisive tactics of detractors Lofa County will not be divided and that with the support he has seen in this election "redemption is coming for Liberia." Ambassador Boakai praised the Elders of the County for their support given the UP in this Senatorial By- Election. He decried the deplorable state of health and education system in the County and added that most schools and health facilities in the County are not functioning as they should because of corruption and bad policies. He said conditions must be created in the country for the achievement of a secured future for the youth of Liberia. By the thousands that showed up in Friday's rallies in Quardu Gboni, Voinjama, Kolahun and Foya, the message that the people of Lofa are sending is that they have been marginalized by the CDC led Government.
On the other hand, the CDC supported candidate and supporters have also bragged of winning the race.
According to report, the oldest son of Former Paramount Chief of Foyah District Tamba Taylor has turned over the keys of Foya district to the CDC supported candidate Cllr. Joseph K. Jallah at a well organized campaign launch of the CDC.
Chief Momo Tailor, who currently serves as Paramount Chief of Foya District, said giving the level of unprecedented developments being undertaken by the CDC as evident of the construction of street lights and the pavement of the various streets of Foya which is strongly being supported by Montserrado County District 5 Representative Thomas Fallah, they have resolved to elect Cllr. Jallah as their candidate.
The Foya District Paramount Chief made the declaration at the launch of the CDC supported candidate campaign at the CDC Headquarters on the outskirt of Foya.
The campaign launch brought together approximately eight thousand supporters of Cllr. Jallah from several villages in Foya , Vahum and Kolahun Districts.
Vahum , Kolahun and Foya Districts are located in the lower region of Lofa which have been deprived from development for years as a result of power being concentrated in the Upper region.
" I the Paramount Chief of Foya district and all the the chiefs and elders have agreed to vote for Cllr. Joseph K Jallah, the reason for our decision is we have always supported anyone the government puts out , that is why in twelve years we supported the UP, we are not here to fight government, we will support anyone that will come after Cllr. Jallah." Chief Momo Saah Taylor maintained in an interview with Journalist after the campaign rally.
The Foyah District Paramount Chief said they continue to experience rapid developments in their district as a result of the visitation of President George Manneh Weah during his county tour, which resulted to the building of a modern house for him the Paramount chief , the first in the history of Liberia.
So far there have been no political tension in the campaign process in Lofa County
The CDC campaign is heavily concentrated in Lower Lofa, a region believed widely as the strong hold of former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.
CDC Montserrado County District 5 Representative Thomas Fallah, who is leading the campaign for Cllr. Joseph K Jallah, has told supporters of the ruling coalition that Foya will fall to the CDC in the pending election.
" Cllr. Joseph Jallah had consistently come second place in the election in Lofa, it is this district that has undermined his victory beacuse of the Boakai factor , but I can assured you that with the level of work we have done and still doing here in Foya, that Joseph Boakai thing will be history very soon, we will beat him in his own professed strong hold of Foya, what have you been looking for in a Joseph Boakai who had failed you , a man who does not even have a fitting home to sleep in here, do you want to waste your time again, I say to you it is now time to move Foya forward ." Thomas Fallah told the enthusiastic crowd.
Several officials of the CDC from Lofa's upper region including Liberia's Comptroller General Augustus Janka Kowo, Samora P. Z Wolokollie, Jessie Koboi and Pepci Yekeh have launched a vigorous campaign in the Zorzor , Feisubu Konia and Salayea areas for the CDC supported candidate.
Former Salayea District Representative Chief Moses Yarkpawolo Kollie is leading the CDC campaign efforts in the Salayea area.
The upper region of Lofa has four candidates. Observers believe that the upper votes would be divided amongst the candidates.
Observers also believe that the UP candidate is more popular in the Zorzor Region, which is predominately occupied by the Lorma, while Salayea which is occupied by the Kpelleh may likely fall to Cllr. Joseph K Jallah who has a strong base in the area due to the influence of former Representative Chief Yarkpawolo Moses Kollie.
A senior citizen of Zorzor district Elder Akoi Zubah told reporters that he is convinced that the CDC supported candidate Joseph K Jallah still maintains his votes due to the fact that three times votes have consistently given him a second place in the elections.
"The way I see things, Momo Cyrus who is not open to Lofa politics is making headwaves than Kortima who has served here as Superintendent, but all in all my son, I will vote for Jallah and I think the people still believe in him." Akoi Zubah averred.
The campaign team of the CDC has been visiting the three districts of Foya, Vahum and Kolahun making donations and making fabulous pledges and assuring the residents of better leadership.
In a related development, the National Elections Commission (NEC), will tomorrow, Monday host a one-day Interaction session with the Six candidates contesting in the Lofa County Senatorial By-election, slated for Tuesday, 28 June 2022, in Voinjama City.
The interaction with the Lofa by-election candidates, other electoral stakeholders and policy makers of the Commission, will largely focus on dispute resolution and electoral justice, as well as Election Day operations including, polling and counting procedures.
According to NEC, the 2022 Lofa County candidates meeting, brings the candidates face-to-face with the Members of the Board of Commission, led by its Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah.
The candidates’ interaction session with the policy makers of NEC, is under the theme, Sustaining Peace and Building Trust in the Electoral process in Liberia. The NEC program takes place at the Pentecostal College Hall in Voinjama City.
A statement from NEC issued Sunday, 26 June 2022 said, the interaction with the candidates on cool-off day, seeks support to enhancement of transparency, and accountability, leading to a peaceful Lofa County Senatorial By-Election, on Tuesday, 28 June 2022.