GREENVILLE, Sinoe – The Third Judicial Circuit Court has placed a restraining order barring the Sinoe Youth Association from proceeding with general elections after a group of candidates filed a complaint accusing the group’s elections body of being corrupt.
The Sinoe Youth Association is the umbrella organization for all youth organizations in the county and is an important platform for young people in the county to start demonstrating their leadership abilities.
On July 10, Terry Panyonnoh and other petitioners filed the complaint against the Sinoe Youth Association’s interim leadership and its Independent Elections Commission. The petitioners accused the association of missteps in handling the elections, calling the body corrupt and not trusted to hold a free and transparent election.
“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, another petitioner, told The Bush Chicken.
Patrick Bolue, who heads the group’s elections body, confirmed receipt of the court’s stay order to halt all elections proceedings. Elections were set to occur on Saturday, July 11, but the notice of the court order came early that same morning. Bolue said the group has consulted its legal counsel and expected to appear before the court on July 21.
Oliver Clarke, a presidential candidate for the association, said he was surprised by the court order.
“We were shocked this morning when we received a call from the commissioner informing us that the election had 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,” he said.
“We trust the court and we are waiting and ready for any new date that the election will be held.”
Meanwhile, some citizens think the tense election process is a result of top government officials in the county interfering in the youth election.
“We know what is happening here concerning this youth election,” said Nagebe Weeseh, a prominent Sinoe resident. “You can see that it is very tribal, almost like the election between Kru and Sarpo – that is because some top government officials [are] involved and it continues to cause problems among our young people.”
The aggrieved contestants and the heads of the elections body are expected to appear before the court on July 21.
Featured photo by Teahwleh Clarke Geeplay