Sinoe County: Court Orders Temporary Halt to Youth Association Elections

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By Mark G. Gray

Sinoe County- The third Judicial Circuit court in Greenville, Sinoe County on Saturday placed a restraining order on the Sinoe Youth Association general elections.

The court’s decision followed after a complaint was filed by aggrieved contestants and registered youth groups headed by Mr. Terry Panyonnoh through their legal counsel.

Sinoe Youth Association is the umbrella organization for all youth organizations in the Southeastern county.

The nine counts petition which was filed on Friday, July 10, indicted the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), and the intern leadership of the Youth Association of their missteps in handling the youth electoral process.

According to the petitioners, they were unsatisfied with proceedings leading to the conduct of the election, stating that the body is corrupt and is not trusted to hold a free and transparent election.

“We are not satisfied with the election commission and the intern leadership to hold a very free and transparent election, they are one-sided. There are so many fraudulent actions that we have noticed and as law-abiding citizens, we don’t want to disturb the process, but to seek legal redress,” Norris Dargbeh, one of the petitioners said.

Patrick Bolue, Head of the IEC, confirmed receipt of the court’s stay order to halt all proceedings leading to the election.

Mr. Bolue said the commission was set to conduct the July 11, election when they received the communication early Saturday morning while preparing.

He added that they have consulted their legal counsel and waiting to appear before the court on 21 of July.

“We received a writ of summoning for retaining order from the third judicial court today while preparing this morning to have things set up for the conduct of the election, asking us to halt the entire process and proceed to court in ten days. We have contacted our legal lawyer and awaiting the 21st to appear before the court,” he said.

Oliver Clarke, Presidential Candidate and team leader of the Team Clarke, in reaction to the court’s order said: “We were shocked this morning when we received a call from the commissioner informing us that the election has been put on hold because they received an order from the court asking them to do so, due to a complaint against them by our contenders. We trust the court and we are waiting and ready for any new date that the election will be held.”

Meanwhile, some citizens of the county have alarmed over alleged interference by some top government officials of the county into the youth elections.

“We know what is happening here concerning this youth election, you can see that it is very tribal, almost like the election between Kru and Sarpo that is because some top government officials involved and it continues to cause problem among our young people,” Nagebe Wesseh, a prominent citizen said.

The aggrieved contestants and the IEC are expected to appear before the court on July 21, 2020.