BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The National Elections Commission has declared incumbent Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence as the winner of the special senatorial election that was held on Dec. 8.
The commission did so on Saturday following the completion of a progressive tally report from all 417 polling places in the county. The tallying was done at the sub-office of NEC in Buchanan on Friday in the presence of local and national observers.
Turnout in the county stood at approximately 34 percent, with 56,891 registered voters participating in the election. Karnga-Lawrence obtained 42.0 percent of the valid votes counted while her main contender, former Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Findley of the Coalition for Democratic Change, received 38.0 percent of the valid votes. Valid votes numbered 53,506 while invalid votes amounted to 3,385.
Karnga-Lawrence is the first senator of Grand Bassa to be reelected since 2005 and the only female senator in the history of Grand Bassa. The Liberty Party senator has been the lone female senator since 2019, when the late Sen. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff passed away in February 2019.
Karnga-Lawrence entered the Senate in 2013 through a by-election created by the death of former senator John Francis Whitfield.
Appearing on a Buchanan radio station on Monday, December 14, she thanked voters for allowing her to represent them.
“There is a reason why the people gave us another opportunity,” she said. “In 2013, I said that my focus was going to be on oversight responsibility because, for a country to do well and for you to work in the interest and well being of the people, we have to make sure that all the ministries and agencies are performing to the expectations of our people.”
She continued, “We did that very well – we pushed for the balance that is needed in the government and I think we were recognized for that and we were rewarded in these elections for that. We will continue the oversight – we didn’t win most of the cases that we pushed in the Liberian Senate because we were the minority. Today, from the results that we have heard, we will be the majority at the end of the day for what we have counted so far.”
The Grand Bassa senator further noted that the new class of senators would work to protect the constitution, unlike what was done in recent years when former Supreme Court justice Kabineh J’aneh was removed by lawmakers and COVID-19 aid packages were significantly delayed and may have even been wasteful.
“Now, it is a different case because the [Collaborating Political Parties] is winning more seats and we are going to guide the decision,” Karnga-Lawrence promised.
Since her victory was announced, Karnga-Lawrence says she has been receiving numerous text messages and phone calls from top government officials, including President George Weah and her closest competitor, Findley.
Rep. Vicent Willie of Grand Bassa’s fourth district, who also ran against Karnga-Lawrence and placed third, also congratulated the senator. He said his team would not have accepted any other winner in the election, suggesting that there attempts to manipulate the election.
Grand Bassa’s Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh also congratulated Karnga-Lawrence: “I am pleased to, for and on behalf of the county administration, congratulate Honorable Madam Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence on the historical occasion of her reelection as senator of Grand Bassa County. Your reelection shows the overwhelming confidence the people of Bassa reposed in you to represent them at the Liberian Senate. We remain fully committed to working with you for the common good of the People of Bassa.”
Featured photo by Onesimus Garway