Nimba County electoral district #1 Representative, Jeremiah Koung who has also expressed his ambition of contesting the Senate seat in the upcoming mid-term election in December, may suddenly not have the political favor among the people of Nimba who are in majority loyal to their political godfather, Senator Prince Y. Johnson.
Representative Koung who has been elected for two terms now as Representative of Electoral District #1, has been doing his usual political groundwork by reaching out to communities in the county with bags of cement, bundles of zinc, a prodigious amount of cash, while recently completing projects he touched during the 2017 election to entice voters.
Above all, the reliance has been that Senator Johnson would put his heavy political weight behind Koung but, as events unfold now, an audio of the Senator has described Representative Koung as “greedy” and that he (Sen. Johnson) has not gone to people of Nimba to support him (Koung).
In the audio, Senator Johnson said he is a principle minded person that people must study. “Jeremiah Koung, who is in my party, I have not come to the county to tell people I support him — no. Principally, I’ll tell you this: to be too damn greedy is not good. We elected Jeremiah Koung in 2017 up to 20203. Why will he want to contest against Tom Grupee for example? Why does he want to contest against everybody?”
Senator Johnson in the audio added: “I told him, I told his people. Your (you) go around and divide the money you have stolen, let the people eat. Because he is the House’s Ways and Means Co-Chair; any Minister that comes to defend his budget can pay to them. He has money; so let him spend it.”
In the Gio vernacular, the Nimba County Senator boasts of the Supreme God he claims is blessing him that all those who had challenged him from Nimba have died, while another person like Senator Thomas Grupee is handicapped now. Senator Grupee, after the impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh in March 2019, left for the United States to attend medication and has since been there.
Representative Koung did not respond to a call and text message from the Daily Observer sent on August 2, 2020, for his response to the allegation and rejection of his political ambition by his godfather. The text message sent to Rep. Koung reads: “Good evening, Honorable Koung. This is the Daily Observer. There is this audio circulating with the voice of Senator Johnson describing you of being ‘greedy’ and allegedly stealing money as a member of the House’s Committee on Ways and Means. What reaction do you have to this? I tried calling, but you’ve been busy. May you please give your response as we approach press time?”
Since the 2011 presidential and general elections in which Senator Johnson commanded a huge segment of the Nimba population and came third among several candidates, many candidates have been riding on his popularity in Nimba to ascend to representative and senatorial positions.
In 2011, Thomas Grupee contested on the ticket of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) Prince Johnson’s erstwhile political party, and whipped Edith Gongloe-Weh and others, leading him to take the seat that he currently occupies. All Representative candidates including Koung, who contested on the ticket of the NUDP, won those seats.
In 2014, Senator Johnson himself went into the mid-term election with candidates including Edith Gongloe-Weh, Dr. Joseph Korto (now deceased), Cllr. Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay (now Judge), and others, and he emerged triumphant, leading by a wide margin and giving him an additional nine years.
In the 2017 presidential and general elections, Representative Koung won on the ticket of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) Senator Prince Y. Johnson’s current political party.
Presidential candidates winning runoff elections from 2011 to 2017 received their blessings at a larger scale through the influence of Senator Johnson who remains very influential in Nimba, Liberia’s second-most populous county.
With his rejection and disdainful characterization of Representative Koung on the media, the certainty is now built in the public that Koung’s senatorial ambition lingers over a bottomless pit.
Meanwhile, after some hours of circulation of the audio yesterday, Senator Johnson was heard in another recording assuring Koung that he will endorse him in Nimba on this Wednesday, August 5. As a politician, he described himself as “Unpredictable” and said he has no one running on his party’s ticket besides Koung, and the audio circulated earlier was old audio meant to let Senator Grupee’s supporters hear what they wanted to and not anything to take seriously.
He also reminded the public that politics evolves and not stagnant, noting that his first voice was meant to satisfy those who had gone to him to give his support to them.