Ahead of this year’s special Senatorial Election in October, Grand Gedeh Senator, Alphonso G. Gaye, has publicly announced that he would not seek reelection but will be retiring after nine years of legislative service. Senator Gaye will still be entitled to his salaries and benefits until January 2021, when the newly elected Senator will be subsequently installed after the resumption of Legislative work on the second working Monday.
While almost all other Senators are seeking reelection this year and are praying and hoping to be given the position by their constituents, the Grand Gedeh Senator says he prefers to be on the farm now to give other Grand Gedeans the chance to showcase their potentials at the level of the Senate.
In an exclusive telephone conversation with the Daily Observer, Senator Gaye said, “I won’t be seeking reelection because I want to give other people the chance to be elected and serve. The Population of the county, coupled with the youth’s passion to excel gives me the impetus not to seek reelection. I want, after my nine years, to retreat to private life, and most especially to be a farmer. I have been envying Senator Oscar Cooper’s farms and currently, I have a farm with about 10,000 cocoa trees, hoping to reach the trees up to 50, 000.”
“In my nine years, besides agriculture which is the bedrock of the economy and way of employment, I have also engaged in hospitality and education. The Alphonso G. Gaye Foundation is an elementary school that enrolls hundreds of students with a relatively low cost.”
Senator Gaye, according to an anonymous source, has been one of the brains behind the Senate’s financial discipline stance and his retirement could be rather unpropitious.
He is the Chairman on the Senate Committee on Public Account and Expenditure, and member on the Committees on Defense, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs, as well as Gender, Health Children and Social Protection.
The Grand Gedeh Senator serves as an acting chairman on the Senate’s Ways, Means and Budget Committee. He is an executive member of the Unity Party (UP) and is one of President George M. Weah’s opponents in the Senate. He served as Campaign Manager for the UP in Grand Gedeh County during the 2017 Presidential election, but President Weah won Grand Gedeh and 13 other counties excluding Lofa County. The retirement of Senator Gaye means that among the 15 Senators, 14 would probably seek reelection.
The Senator’s retirement is speculated to be an early indicator that both the retiree and the constituents sometimes perceive far ahead defeat for the individual. Nevertheless, sources say Senator Gaye’s chances of reelection are “strong” in the eyes of Grand Gedeans and it would be termed as “incumbent lock” if he seeks second term.
The 2020 special Senatorial Election is the second after the 2014 election to be held in Liberia’s democratic dispensation after the civil crisis. it may be recalled that in 2014, three Senators retired without seeking reelection; Senators Cletus S. Wortoson, Isaac W. Nyenabo and Frederick Cherue of Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties, respectively. Out of the 12 the Senators who sought reelection, only two returned, Senators Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County and Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County.
This year’s Special Senatorial election is a litmus test for the opposition political parties ahead of the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Election, which means the final result of the Midterm election in the 15 counties might either foreshadow a steep or fertile journey for President George M. Weah.
Meanwhile, investigation has shown that out of the 73 Representatives, only Mary Karwor of Grand Bassa County District #2 will not seek reelection. She has expressed her desire to support Grand Bassa County Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh in the 2023 elections. Baikpeh contested the 2017 elections in the district but lost to Rep. Karwor before being appointed as the county’s Superintendent.
In 2017, seven incumbents in the House of Representatives did not seek reelection in their respective districts. They included Alex Tyler, J. Emmanuel Nuquay (Vice Presidential candidate to Boakai) , Moses Kollie, Worlea Saywah Dunah, George Wesseh Blamoh, Samuel Woleh and Morais Waylee.
The 2017 Legislative Election saw 31 out of 65 Representatives who sought reelection reelected, with the rest of the 42 replaced by a new breed of lawmakers.