Mrs. Janet K. Sumo, chairperson of the Bong County Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in Electoral District #1, has refuted a report that she stopped hundreds of her members from supporting the presidential candidacy of Dr. J. Mills Jones, standard bearer of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), led them to join Charles Walker Brumskine’s Liberty Party (LP).
In a press conference yesterday in Monrovia, Mrs. Sumo said she was surprised to hear about a newspaper report claiming that she had defected to another political party, along with members of the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). “I never said anything like that, and I am here to set the record straight. I did not tell any journalist about what was reported in Monrovia,” she said.
She explained that at a recent program held in Tomato Camp, Bong County, by Liberty Party Representative candidate for the district Mr. Wamah Kuteh, she was invited to speak in her capacity as chair lady of the VSLA. She said she only expressed the community’s happiness for the visit of Brumskine’s wife, Estelle.
“We are not a political organization, though we have our right to vote. We would never declare support to Liberty Party, and even if we are allowed to do so, we would do it for someone who has helped us before to improve our businesses. Though we are bitter ball sellers, we know right from wrong and we are not ungrateful people. We know what we want,” said Madam Sumo.
It may be recalled that Mr. Kuteh contested and won the just ended MOVEE primary to vie for the District #1, Bong County Representative position, but later decided to join the Liberty Party.
When Mr. Kuteh decided to leave MOVEE to join the LP, Mrs. Sumo said “we told him that it was his choice but he could not take our organization with him.”
“Radio stations in Gbarnga recorded my statement. I did not mention anything about defecting to support another standard bearer. This is political season and journalists would have to be careful how to carry out their work,” she cautioned.
A report on the Monday, July 3 edition of The Inquirer newspaper reported that Mrs. Sumo had led hundreds of women from numerous village savings and loan groups from Electoral District #1, who are partisans of Dr. Jones of MOVEE, to support Charles Brumskine’s presidential bid.
The Village Savings and Loan Association (VLSA) of District #1 in Bong County is a 9,480 member-strong organization that came into existence following Dr. Jones’s financial inclusion policy during his time as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia. The members received loans to improve their farming activities, including growing bitter balls, pepper, okra, among other cash crops.
In his trips throughout the country, Dr. Jones impressed on the minds of the majority, who are poor, that they were not born to be poor. “Poverty is not your destiny,” is his message that has endeared many to the man they describe as “Poverty Doctor.”