Bong County District #3 Aspirant Identifies Governance Gaps

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Liberia’s year of political competition is here, and contestants are making preparations to face one another through the votes of the electorate on October 10.

One of the new faces coming into the representative race in Bong County District #3, which comprises Gbarnga and Jorquelleh, is Edward Emmanuel Gboe, a son of that district who began his groundwork two years ago under
“Team Jorquelleh,” a pro-democracy group he established to bring his people together.

He told the Daily Observer that he is motivated to contest the race in his district in order to close four governance gaps which are social exclusion, lack of integrity in governance, lack of a development agenda for the district, and the absence of a network.

He said social discrimination in the district is at its peak, so much so that non Kpelle speaking groups are not privileged to take part in the social development fund allotted to the district.

“Non-Kpelle speaking groups are residing in Gbarnga, paying their taxes and undertaking some self-initiated projects, but are excluded from benefits of the social development fund on the grounds that they are not natives of the county,” he protested.

Mr. Gboe added that hate messages are preached against members of the Mandingo ethnic group, “making members of that tribal group to feel inferior and stigmatized.”

He identified integrity as one issue highlighted in the 2012/2013 audit reports, which revealed financial improprieties to the tune of millions of dollars being unaccounted for in the district.

He said the governance structure was implicated when a bogus Chinese construction company received US$6 million from the Bong County Technical College, but is yet to complete the work.

According to Mr. Gboe, the local governing structure of the district has failed to carry on oversight and to seek the interest of the people, citing the contracting of a bogus company by the leadership.

The district is currently represented at the Legislature by two-term Representative, George Mulbah.

The district, Gboe said, lacks a development agenda and because of that, health promotion, education and other social services are stifled.

He said the residents are unable to work together for their common good because there is no network mechanism.

In order to address these gaps, Mr. Gboe said if elected, he will promote the participation of the people in governance; promote local initiatives that will help residents appreciate and maintain what they have; promote policy and law reform and private-public partnership that will link people in the agriculture sector with financial institutions to access finance to plant cash crops.

He said factors of production such as land and labor are available in the district, “but residents do not have the tools.” Therefore, Mr. Gboe believes that connecting the people to financial institutions will enable them to obtain farming implements.

Mr. Gboe’s principle is social inclusion and equity, for which he called on voters to make use of their constitutional obligation to crosscheck every candidate to establish whether they are people-centered.

Background
Edward Emmanuel Gboe was born and raised in Gbarnga, Bong County, where he also completed his university studies, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Economics from the Cuttington University in 2003.

Later, he enrolled at the Cuttington Graduate School and graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration in 2009. He is currently doing his second Master’s program, this time online through Walden University.

Gboe has participated in many other training programs in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America, including the Caribbean, in the areas of Resource Mobilization and Networking, Organizational Development, Organizational

Management and Leadership for Service, Career Mentoring and Education Service Provisions for Youth.

He has also served as keynote speaker, panelist and facilitator at a number of international seminars and conferences, and has worked as a development program manager andr consultant with local and international organizations for over 15 years.

In 2015, Gboe served as Consultant on Government Liaison and Public Relations for the Last Well Project, based in Rowlett, Texas, USA, delivering water solution projects to rural communities in Liberia.

In 2010, he served as consultant for Organizational Re-engineering and Strategic Planning for Zimbabwe YMCA, in Harare, for which he was hired by the Africa Alliance of YMCAs based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Representative hopeful has also served as Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, European Union Community Rehabilitation Program, Liberia, and a number of independent consulting services in 2008 to 2009.

Prior to declaring his intention for the House of Representatives, he served as National General Secretary/CEO of the Liberia YMCA, a position he has occupied since 2009.

Mr. Gboe has also been engaged in farming, especially in the areas of fishery, cash crops, tubers and rice production.

He has distributed about 22,000 textbooks to schools in Gbarnga, the latest being 7,000 on January 30, and said that the resources to facilitate these gestures came from members of Team Jorquelleh and friends in the Diaspora.

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