Liberian radio personality Bernard Benson, known popularly as DJ Blue, has expressed interest in the Montserrado County senatorial by-election due in May after two weeks of speculations. The Montserrado senate seat became vacant after Senator George Weah emerged victorious in the just-ended presidential runoff election.
Article 37 of the Liberian Constitution states that in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer will within 30 days notify the Elections Commission.
The constitution also says that the Elections Commission will, not later than 90 days thereafter, cause a by-election to be held, provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy will await the holding of such general elections.
DJ Blue in an interview yesterday said his quest to become a senator is the result of lack of interest being exhibited by lawmakers to promote or create an enabling environment for the entertainment industry in the country to foster growth.
“I’m running to fight for the lives of people with talent. These people have suffered for too long because those they elected to represent them don’t care about them. If I win, my focus will be lobbying with my colleagues to recognize the creative industry as an engine for growth, which has a great potential to create jobs and create policies to grow the economy.
“Some of these policies I’m going to push include a five-year loan scheme with no interest for people that work in the creative industry to improve on production quality movies, music and more, as well as enforcing copyright laws, setting policies for royalty generation and fighting copyright infringement,” he said.
He added, “Frankly speaking, the entertainment industry in Liberia has been neglected for years, and despite outcry from creative individuals, nothing has been done. So I’m contesting to bring the needed change I want to see in the industry.”
Meanwhile, there are several other heavyweights interested in the vacant seat. They include Acarous Gray, and Saah Joseph of Montserrado districts #8 and #13 respectively, both from the Coalition of Democratic Change, the party with overwhelming support in Montserrado County.
Since 2005, CDC has won the county’s two Senate seats and almost all the representative seat in the county.
DJ Blue will be the third major player from the entertainment industry who will be contesting elections. The last two, Kanvee Gaines Adams and Jonathan Koffa (commonly known as Takun J), who contested the representative seats of districts 6 and 8 respectively but lost.
Although the two entertainers were unsuccessful in their bids for the Capitol, they campaigned about putting forth a legislation that would help promote the country’s music industry.
Born and raised in Brewerville, Benson started his disc jockey career in the late 90s and went abroad but returned to Liberia in 2005 and after six years, he opened the Hott FM, one of the nation’s biggest entertainment radio station.
According to Benson, his radio station just added a television arm, now reaching a population of over 100,000 and is helping Liberian music to reach almost every part of the country employing over 50 people with branches in Ganta and Gbarnga.