As the Special Senatorial Election draws near, citizens of Grand Bassa County are urging politicians and their supporters to do away with what they termed as “antagonistic politics” and discuss substantive issues that would bring development to the county and improve the lives of its citizens.
Liberians across the country are expected to go to the poll on October 14, 2014 to elect 15 senators representing each of the 15 political sub-divisions (counties) to replace 15 other senators whose nine-year tenures come to an end this year. There is likelihood that some senators may retain their posts due to their popularity with their constituents, while others won’t be re-voted into office.
There have been recent wars of words between stakeholders within the Bassa politics, with specific reference to the one involving senior partisans of the Liberty Party (LP) and the incumbent Senior Senator seeking re-election, Gbehzongar M. Findley. Some are saying that the Senator is not an indigenous member of the Bassa tribe so he should not be re-elected.
The Daily Observer interviewed a cross section of citizens of Bassa in the county capital, the port city of Buchanan recently. The citizens said the impoverished lives of the Bassa people and the under-developed state of the county should be the major issues of concern during this electioneering period and not individuals.
One of those interviewed, James Garsaydee, said it was time for the people to rethink and change their mentality about leadership in the county. He believed, “Electing a good leader is not about ‘my brother, my father or my uncle is contesting.’ The right person for the job is one who holds the county and its people at heart, whether that person is related to your or not. It is not about who is a son of the soil, but who can do something for the soil.”
“The ‘this man da Bassa man, this other man da na Bassa man’ mentality has been with us for a very long time and is not solving our problems. We continue to be the same year in and year out because we are not electing people who have the vision and love of the county and its people. If we continue to attack each other it won’t solve all of the numerous problems that we have.”
Another resident, Janjay Gbejay, said: “Despite all of the companies we have operating in this county our lives remain unchanged. All of the big companies you have in this country are operating in Bassa, yet we are still lingering in poverty and our ‘so-called leaders’ are fighting amongst themselves. What makes a good leader is not where you come from or who your grand father was, but whether you have the vision and aspiration for the people.”
“It is now time that we come together and forge ahead for the common good of the Bassa people. Let us not forget that our capital (Buchanan) is known— though unofficially— as the second capital of the republic, but we have nothing to show for it,” said Marie Joe of the Grand Bassa Community College said.
Many Liberians still live in impoverished conditions even though many concessions continue to extract their resources without tangible impacts.
A high school student, Monica Dehnue said, “Let us forget divisive politics because it is not helping us. We must unite to build our county; no one will do it for us unless we do it for ourselves, our children and future generations.”
Ms. Dehnue said the recent county meet trophy celebration held in the county should serve as a rally point for every Bassonian; irrespective of political, social, or religious background.
“The trophy celebration we had in this city proved that Bassa people love each other, but it is politics that is keeping us apart. Let that trophy victory serve as a rallying point for us now.”