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Weah maintains lead

Posted by Femi Makinde on 2005/10/13 | Views: 597 |

Weah maintains lead


The Former World Footballer of the Year, Mr. George Opong Weah, established a clear lead in the Liberian presidential election, scoring 23.7 per cent of the votes counted as at Thursday morning.

The Former World Footballer of the Year, Mr. George Opong Weah, established a clear lead in the Liberian presidential election, scoring 23.7 per cent of the votes counted as at Thursday morning.

The Chairperson, National Elections Commission, France Johnson Morris, at a news conference in Monrovia, said that out of the 38,080 votes counted from 278 polling centres, Weah, who is the standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change, was in the lead, while Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party had 14.9 per cent with Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party amassing 11.8 per cent.

Morris said the polling stations from where results had been received as at press time on Thursday included Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Margibi, Maryland, Montserrado, Nimba and Sinoe.

She added that the turnout at the polling stations stood at 75 per cent, though she said the preliminary results did not tilt victory in any candidate’s way.

A candidate must obtain 51 per cent of the votes to emerge the winner.

The result showed further that Togba-Nah Tipoteh of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy secured 6 per cent, while Winston Tubman of the Democratic Party of Liberia gathered 5.6 per cent.

The Liberia Destiny Party’s Nathaniel Barnes had 1.2 per cent; Sekou Damate Conneh of the Progressive Democratic Party, 0.6 per cent; Samuel Devine, an independent candidate, 0.2 per cent; and David Farhat of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) 0.5 per cent (See the results on page 50).

The NEC also said seven persons were arrested on Tuesday for electoral fraud.

While four were arrested for attempting to vote twice, others were nabbed for impersonation.

All over Monrovia, anxious residents clustered around radio sets at restaurants, inside taxicabs and other places to listen to results announced by local radio stations.

In a swift reaction on Thursday, Johnson-Sirleaf said that she would accept the result of the elections.

She promised to stay in the country and work for the good of Liberians.

Johnson-Sirleaf said, "If I lose the elections, I will stay in the country but I will remain a formidable force by working in the interest of our people. These elections mark the end of the nightmare our country has endured. The voters turn out certainly expressed their trust in us and their hope that if it is not me it would be a good person with whom we can all work."

A United States election-monitoring group, International Republican Institute, said in a preliminary statement on Wednesday that it was important for all candidates to "work towards inclusion and avoid disruption to enable the Liberian people to move towards a possible run off election."

The body said it found Tuesday’s election peaceful with an overwhelming turn out.

It also commended the NEC for its efforts in making the poll a success.

The IRI delegation was led by a board member, Ambassador Richard Williamson, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Constance Newman; and a member of the National Assembly from Kwara State, Maimuna Adaji.

Meanwhile, former leader of the disbanded rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, Prince Yelue Yormie Johnson, has denied killing late President Samuel Doe.

Johnson was the leader of a group that captured the late president at the Freeport, Monrovia, in 1990.

According to a local newspaper, Daily Observer, Johnson made the denial at a news conference in Ganta, Nimba County, on Sunday.

Johnson however, admitted blame for Doe’s death.

He said, "I did not kill Doe nor did I order his execution. But I will take the blame because he died in my custody."

He accused Doe of dumping 300 Liberian children in a well on the outskirt of Monrovia at the outset of the war in 1990.

The ex-rebel leader is currently in the race to pick one of the 30 senatorial seats in the country.

It was reported that fighters under his command tortured and killed Doe.

The late president was killed with his ears chopped off alive.

He said Doe’s ear was cut because when the children were thrown into the well, they were crying, but Doe did not listen to their cries.

"So, when he was captured, the soldiers said Doe did not deserve ears because he could not hear with his ears whenever others were crying his name," Johnson said.

He said that all that happened were the evils of wars, appealing to Liberians to forget the past and work together to move the country forward.

The PUNCH, Friday, October 14, 2005

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