Even though, the occasion at which the Collaborating Political Parties’ (CPP) endorsement of Edith Gongloe-Weh was well attended, with members converging at the Ganta United Methodist Gymnasium from across Nimba on September 28, some have raised concern as to why officials and well-known members of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), one of the four political parties that make up the CPP, were conspicuously absent the endorsement ceremony.
Hundreds of Nimbaians and others from Monrovia had stormed Ganta to see former Nimba Superintendent, Madam Edith Gongloe Weh, receive her certificate of endorsement to contest on the ticket of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) for the upcoming senatorial mid-term election.
While the high momentum of the ceremony cannot be ruled out with the presence of members and sympathizers of the CPP, it was, however, observed that officials and other well-known members of the ANC were not seen, unlike members and officials of the other parties.
Some of those attending the ceremony including, Mr. Benoni Urey of All Liberian Party, Mr. Musa Bility, Senators Steve Zargo, and Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, all stalwarts of the Liberty Party, and Rep. Roger S.W.Y Domah of the Unity Party, representing the CPP caucus, among others.
The absence of officials of the ANC created some uncertainties in the minds of political pundits that the CPP may not be as strong and unified as it was expected.
At the primary in Sanniquellie in September where Taa Wongbe of the ANC and Madam Gongloe-Weh of the Liberty Party had gone with their supporters to decide who runs on the CPP’s ticket in Nimba, the entire process ended in chaos, leaving Wongbe’s vehicle partially damaged. Report from the investigation showed that the primary was marred with fraud and recommended that the primary be repeated. However, recently the Chairman of the CPP and political leader of the ANC, Alexander B. Cummings, came out to disclose that the CPP had endorsed the candidacy of Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh.
Suspicion surrounding the strength and unity of the CPP in Nimba is, in fact, beginning to manifest itself as some disenchanted members have pledged their support to the independent movement of Mr. Taa Wongbe.
Taa Wongbe and his supporters have been touring Nimba, on what they consider as an acquaintance visit, ever since the controversial CPP primary in Sanniquellie and also to re-solidify his senatorial bid.
A day or hours after Wongbe had affixed his signature on the endorsement framework, he received a letter from the National Elections Commission (NEC) declaring him as an independent candidate. Wongbe defended his decision that candidates who could not make it in the CPP’s primaries are all contesting independently, and he was not the first to make such a decision outside the framework of the CPP.
However, in the presence of the huge crowd of supporters on the day of the endorsement, Madam Gongloe Weh pleaded for their votes, giving a parable that “When the shoe is burning your feet nobody can notice it until you bend down and take it off.”
In a highly euphoric mood due to the huge crowd, Madam Gongloe-Weh urged the citizens, especially the women, to make the decision come December to “Save their children’s lives.”
Meanwhile, the political maneuvering to gain popularity and votes continues to intensify among aspirants desiring to contest the upcoming senatorial election, and one of Nimba’s popular sons and businessman, Tomah Sei Floyd, has thrown his support behind Rep. Jeremiah Koung, one of the seemingly formidable aspirants in the impending election.
Speaking to reporters in Sanniquellie on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, Mr. Floyd said he will provide all necessary supports to Rep. Koung, because Koung is his son, and he was the one who made him.
“I made Jeremiah Koung who he is today, and I believe that he is able to deliver good leadership when he is elected,” Floyd said.
“It will surprise many because normally I don’t take part in politics, but in this case, I am supporting Jeremiah Koung because he is my son and I made him who he is today; so, I cannot bring him halfway and leave him alone,” he said.
In terms of making Jeremiah Koung as claimed, Floyd said he is the godfather to most of the young businessmen in Nimba and, prior to Koung getting into politics, both of them had a close business link.
If the businessman’s support to Koung’s senatorial ambition would mean anything for his victory, it will only be more influential economically because Floyd is economically potent and the money he may provide would influence many voters who are driven by money and other gifts to support a candidate.
Currently, Rep. Koung is touring Nimba District #3, distributing zinc and cement as support to some ongoing community projects.
Critics are concerned about the excessive spending Rep. Koung is carrying out; wondering from where he gets the cash to spend. Koung has been in the House of Representatives for nine years now where lawmakers make huge salaries with other benefits. It has also been widely reported that lawmakers receive extra money (otherwise brown envelopes) for signing concessions and other legislations of interest. It can also be recalled that Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson, who is also a supporter of Koung’s senatorial bid, came out a few months ago to state in an audio recording that “Jeremiah Koung is greedy; he was given nine years to serve as a Representative which he has not completed and yet wants to become a Senator. Senator Johnson also disclosed that Koung is on the House’s Committee on Ways, Means, and Finance where they get money from ministries and agencies for every budget that passes. “Well, he has money, so let him divide some among the people to eat too.”
Meanwhile, supporters of immediate former Superintendent, Dorr Cooper, recently appeared on the local radio to clarify that Mr. Cooper still remains a potential candidate in the pending special senatorial election and has never pledged his support to any of the contenders in the race as it has been speculated.
Supporters are now relying vaguely on his achievements as Ganta City Mayor years back to convince the public about his leadership potential instead of the immediate position of Superintendent, which he left a few months ago.
Mr. Cooper continues to receive support from kinsmen in his home district of Yarwin Mensonnon, where his rival and close relative from the same town and quarter, Edith Gongloe Weh, hails.
Meanwhile, preparation is underway for supporters of incumbent Senator Thomas S. Grupee to welcome him to Ganta on Saturday, October 3, 2020. One of Grupee’s supporters briefed the Daily Observer that they are mobilizing and bringing supporters from across the county to receive the Senator since he arrived from the USA some weeks ago.
Senator Grupee’s membership was suspended in the Unity Party last year following his concession to vote in favor of the impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh; a decision that the party was strongly against and described it as “Unconstitutional.”
Former District #4 Representative, Atty. Garrison Yealue, continues to pay visits to towns and villages in Nimba, criticizing the present lawmakers for their slowness in pressing on the central government for Nimba’s share of the Social Development Fund.
For Edith Weh, the issue surrounding the usage of the US$800,000 intended for the July 26, 2010 celebration in Nimba still remains an issue, concerning her credibility to handle the county top.