Residents of the vote-rich Nimba County erupted into joyous celebration after the National Elections announced preliminary results that placed the opposition Unity Party in the lead during the presidential runoff election.
Leading the celebration were residents of the commercial hub of Ganta. Led by the UP Campaign Manager of the county, Nyan Tuayen, the supporters gathered outside of their party headquarters to celebrate election “victory.”
As the electoral commission announced over 80 percent of the national votes, which put the Unity Party in the lead, residents took to the streets in celebration, expressing their optimism about a potential change in leadership.
The enthusiasm of the Nimba County residents reflects their hope for political change and a desire for a different direction for the country. Their enthusiasm is also partly due to the strong possibility of one of their kin being poised to be announced the next Vice President of Liberia. However, there are also critics who caution against premature celebrations, emphasizing the importance of waiting for the final official results.
Located in the northern part of Liberia, and bordering both Ivory Coast and Guinea, Nimba has historically played a critical role in the country’s politics. With a significant population and strong grassroots support, the county has the potential to heavily influence the outcome of a presidential election.
Nimba County, predominantly Dan and Mano, overwhelmingly voted for the Unity Party in both the first round and the runoff, giving the party over 125,000 so far with a little over 75 percent of the votes counted in the runoff.
“We are celebrating to give ourselves the zeal of victory or make ourselves happy, while still awaiting the final result from NEC,” said one Levi Goanue,” a motorcyclist.
On Thursday, November 16, NEC announced 86.71 percent of polling places across the country (5,107 out of 5,890).
The UP obtained 712,741 or 50.58% of the votes counted, while the ruling CDC has got 696,520 or 49.42% of the votes counted so far.
“The vote is so tight, but we need to make ourselves happy,” said a street vendor in Ganta, only identified as Esther.
The NEC also announced 78.8 percent of the polling places in Nimba, which is 580 out of 736. The UP obtained 109,694 votes, accounting for 71.57 percent, while the CDC got 43,564 votes, constituting 28.43 percent.
“We are overjoyed that George Weah is out, our suffering is finished, and more jobs are coming for us,” said one of the celebrating partisans of UP on the main streets of Ganta.
While yesterday’s announcement constitutes a substantial chunk of the total votes, it is important to note that the current vote count does not represent the final outcome of the election, because the margin between the two candidates is slim. However, critics argue that celebrating prematurely may lead to false hopes and disregard the possibility of electoral irregularities or challenges during the tabulation process.
Despite the UP lead, some supporters of the ruling party are still hopeful of victory, arguing that the final 14% of votes left will bring them victory.
“We are sure of victory,” said Josiah Gbuseh Jr, a strong supporter of CDC, “because nearly all of UP’s strongholds have been checked and what is left now is our stronghold.”
While the preliminary results show the Unity Party in the lead, it is imperative to wait for the official final results from the electoral commission, political observers say. This will ensure transparency and uphold the integrity of the electoral process. Only then can a true celebration or acceptance of the election’s outcome be justified.
As the country awaits the final official results, it is essential to encourage calm and respect for the democratic process. Regardless of individual affiliations, all Liberians should come together to support a peaceful and transparent election that reflects the will of the people.