As December 8, 2020, senatorial election draws closer, the Sierra Leonean Government through its Embassy in Liberia has strongly warned her citizens along the borders with Liberia to stay away from political interference in any political process of Liberia.
According to the Deputy Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Liberia, Joseph Mustapha Hazeley, they as the mission will not and cannot or provide any assistance to an individual or political party for political reason
Ambassador Hazeley said, “We as the mission will not interfere or give support or provide any assistance to an individual for political reason.”
Ambassador Hazeley said despite the two countries sharing common borders, it doesn’t in any way give his citizens or Sierra Leoneans the rights to participate in the decision making processes of Liberia.
The Sierra Leonean Deputy Ambassador said it is forbidden for his country and citizens to participate in Liberia’s elections, noting that those involved are during such at their determent
He added, “If they are interfering in the Liberian politics, they must desist as the Liberia law will have no other alternative, but to come down on them if caught.”
He said his country is a friendly nation to Liberia and such relationship has flourished over the year and will continue to grow and as such; no one citizens from his country will be the cause for such relationship to get sour.
Ambassador Mustapha Hazeley made the assertions on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, when the Sierra Leonean Government, through its Embassy in Liberia was petitioned by a group of citizens from Grand Cape Mount County under the banner ‘Concerned Cape Mount Citizens Against Electoral Fraud.’
Presenting the petition on behalf of the group, Boima Kondo said their attentions have been drawn to several high levels of interference into Liberia’s electoral process by Sierra Leonean, more especially those along the borders with Liberia, allegedly facilitated by a Sierra Leonean businessman operating in Mano River Congo, Idrissa Mansaray.
Kondo said during the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections that produced Grand Cape Mount County District #1 Rep. Bob H. Sheriff, Idrissa Mansaray allegedly influenced said election that brought Rep. Sheriff in power.
Kondo alleged that Idrissa Mansaray who is alleged to be a Sierra Leonean has influenced elections in the country many ways including him trucking voters from town and villages in Sierra Leone to participate in elections in Liberia.
He said during the by-election in 2019, Idrissa Mansaray allegedly traded voters and influenced the process that brought Victor Watson as Senator.
Boima named Zimmi Makpehe, Fairo, Gonohun, Ndomdu, Gofor, Gisswolo, Gbah, Makpala, Ngegbema, Mano Njeigbla, Teegbema and Njama as those towns and villages normally influenced by Idrissa Mansaray to use illegal crossing points into Liberia.
The group in their petition maintained that reason prompted by their petition to the Sierra Leonean Government is to underscore the need to preserve elections’ integrity in Cape Mount including freedom of legal citizens to elect their representatives and senators, free of interference by foreign nationals “as the National Elections Commission (NEC) in action over the years continue to exert tremendous influence and pressure on the country’s nascent democracy.”
Kondo averred that recalling recent ruling in the protest filed by Candidate Sando Wayne of the United People’s Party (UPP), following October 5, 2019, senatorial by-election against Victor Watson and the National Elections Commission (NEC), the commission reminded that the conduct of Victor Watson and Idrissa Mansaray of the Hard Work Company, deploying yellow machines for civil works during the election period was in total violation of Article 81 of the Liberian Constitution.
Article 81 states that “Any citizen, political party, organization or association, being resident in Liberia, of Liberian nationality or origin, and not otherwise disqualified under the provisions of this Constitution and laws of the land, shall have the right to canvass for the votes for any political party or candidate at any election, provided that corporate and business organizations and labour unions are excluded from so canvassing directly or indirectly in whatsoever form.”