Circle Pines: Liberians in the State of Minnesota went to the polls yesterday, Sunday January 15, 2017 to elect four of a-Nine-Member-Board of The Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM). There were seven hundred fourteen ballots casted. However, there were three disqualified ballots in line with electoral laws. The three discounted ballots had five instead of four candidates chosen. Under its electoral regulation, if a voter mistakenly marked an unintended candidate, that voter must return the marked ballot to election commissioners for a replacement. According to Commissioner Minerva Grant, this particular rule was reechoed to voters as they picked up their ballots. In all, 86 of the total 800 printed ballots were unused. Generally, the election was peaceful. Voters who made their ways into the polling station before the cutoff time of 8 p.m. Central Standard Time were allowed to cast their ballots. The polls closed at exactly 8:15.
In all, there were six male candidates and two females bringing the number of contestants to eight. All of whom were fully represented throughout the process. Wish Info Network-WIN tallied the following outcomes through our exit polling and projections-Arthur Biah got a total vote of 408; Ronald Free-238; Elmes Mulbah-215; Tarnyon Nyenon -338; Florkime Paye-418; Victoria Pour-Peabody-453; Aloysius Seeyon-280; and George Taylor-163. Those announced as winners were the four candidates with the highest votes-Vic Peabody 453, Florkime Paye: 418, Arthur Biah: 408, and Tarnyon Nyenon: 338.
It should be noted, that biannually, Liberians in Minnesota return to the polls to reelect or replace members of their community organizational leadership.
This round of election is said to have been competitively braved by a number of professional Liberians with nonprofit management skills.
Others have equally projected that if the bulk of the individuals with knowledge of spearheading nonprofit organizations are elected, the OLM will definitely redeem the community into higher heights.
Nonetheless, while sampling the general hysteria of the election’s outcomes, we noticed little resentment among a group of individuals who saw the election as another wave of rivalry between two splinter groups in the Grand Geddeh Association in the Americas. Accordingly, these individuals have expressed their firm determination to once more stall any efforts of one arch candidate in particular, Tarnyon Nyenon. When contacted by WIN to provide his overview of said rivalry, Mr. Nyenon promised to do so when time permits him, but was on his way to work.
It should be noted, that over the past seven years, the OLM has been mired by acrimony and infightings among its 9 member board. Some have squarely blamed the lack of progress within the OLM, by these senseless acrimonies among those who are supposed to secure the wellbeing of the Liberian Community here in the State of Minnesota.
Others are also sensing the use of the OLM by board elements to influence our national politics at home. When asked by WIN as to the individuals concerned, one female board member pointed fingers to the current board chair and the outgoing chair, Eurasmus Williams and Momodu Kemokai respectively, both of whom are members of the Unity Party at large. Other members and ex-members of the OLM did confirm that some of their colleagues use the OLM as a springboard for national appointments in Liberia.
“As a matter of fact, Momodu Kemokai abandoned the organization for seven months to lobby for a job in Liberia,” one board member said. While Mr. Kemokai was away, the current chair Erasmus William held the organization hostage by completely failing o call for any meeting for the duration of Mr. Kemokai abandonment of the OLM,” one outgoing member of the board complained. It should be further noted, that these concerns were aired on Facebook in mid-November 2016, during a contentious live town hall forum.
Many Liberian residents in Minnesota have expressed their dissatisfaction with the OLM over its inabilities to capitalize on “our English Language advantage and ties with Minnesotans compared to our Somali counterparts. Unless we end our infrequent differences, elections of new members of the OLM will be the only gain we as a community in Minnesota are making. It should be noted that all of the four newly elected members of the OLM have ties to Grand Geddeh or South Eastern Region of Liberia.
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