By Franklin N. Kwenah
A group of citizens under the banner “One Bong County Campaign” has called on citizens of the county not to support efforts to divide the county, promising to resist the bill proposed by the county Senator Henry Willie Yallah, to give Lower Bong a county status.
Sen. Yallah recently said he has proffered a bill that might give a county status to Lower Bong County. According to Senator Yallah, when passed into law, Bong County will be divided into two segments of Lower Bong County and Upper Bong County (the original Bong County).
Explaining the importance of the bill in Sanoyea Town in District 7 recently, Senator Yallah indicated that the bill is intended to bring rapid development in Lower Bong County.
The group, speaking in a press conference in Gbarnga, said the intent of Senator Yallah and his followers to divide the County is selfish, diabolical and has the proclivity of perpetually dividing their people.
The group’s national chairman David S. Kansuah said the problems in Bong are not about dividing their beloved County but the lack of adequate and united leadership that will see Bong County as a whole in decision making. This will ensure the equitable distribution of their limited resources for the sole purpose of improving the lives of their people.
“Our issues have never been about size or number but a responsible leadership that is creative and innovative in finding solutions that would seek to provide the best alternative source of funding to positively impact the lives of our people,’’ Mr. Kansuah said.
The group alleged that the senator said the landscape and population of the County are too huge and unmanageable. Because of this, he has lost the ability to provide quality leadership for the County.
Mr. Kansuah said Sen. Yallah cited Cuttington University, Phebe Hospital, the Central Agriculture Research Institute and the unfinished Bong County Technical College as the key development projects in Upper Bong; while Lower Bong County can only boast of Bong Mines Hospital and Tumutu Vocational Institute.
“The question is, as senator, what legislation and representation did Senator Yallah make since 2011 to have development projects in Lower Bong County?” he asked.
The One Bong County Campaign group said it is aware that the County received in 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 US$4.6 million as Social Development Fund and an additional US$400,000 as County Development Fund, and as chairman of the Bong Legislative Caucus, what did Sen. Yallah propose as development package for Lower Bong County?
The advocacy group alleged that Senator Yallah has acquired a huge farmland from the people of Lower Bong where he is expected to produce rubber and cocoa; and while the land is yet to be surveyed, the road leading to the farm is in terrible condition and citizens working on Sen. Yallah’s farm have not been paid for three months.
“We are informed that Senator Henry W. Yallah is against the passage of the Land Rights and the Local Government bill because he doesn’t want local leaders to be elected so as to make decisions about their development projects. We are urging Senator Yallah to put a halt to his selfish political interest and focus on delivering the promises he made to citizens in 2011 instead of dividing them.”
It may be recalled that in recent weeks, Nobel Peace Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee has promised to resist a bill proposed by Senator Yallah to give Lower Bong a county status.
Senator Yallah recently proffered a bill that could give a county status to Lower Bong County.
“We have a foot-mark called the County Development Fund, and it is cut across the country with two hundred thousand dollars. Do you see any fairness between River Cess and Bong County having two hundred thousand each? The bulk of Liberia’s budget is based on a financial plan that doesn’t regard the population and the demography of a county in terms of the distribution of the national cake,” he said.
Madam Gbowee has attributed the lack of development in Lower Bong to the inability of leaders in the region to adequately seek the wellbeing of the citizens and has accused Senator Yallah as one of the alleged masterminds responsible for the underdevelopment of Lower Bong.
Madam Gbowee promised to use all her resources to galvanize support in battling the controversial bill and has challenged those supporting the bill to show any self-initiated project towards the development of Lower Bong.