Barely three weeks to the Special Senatorial Election in the country, a group named and styled “Friends of Dillon,” has presented LD2.165,225 to Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County to support his campaign activities and to help pay poll watchers during this heated election.
The presentation was made on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at the Bella Casa Hotel in Monrovia after a month of financial rally the group dubbed as “Dillon Dollar Rally” held both in Liberia and in the diaspora.
Unlike the United States where citizens support a candidate by raising funds, this is the first time in Liberia’s democracy for citizens with diverse political backgrounds to raise funds to support a politician’s campaign activity, especially a sitting lawmaker. Members of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) have demonstrated their loyalty to President George Weah over time with the wish of seeing him taking power, but the fund raising support of Dillon by the citizens at this time in the political history of the country is quite the unusual.
J. Cyrus Sygbe Sr, chairman of the “Friends of Dillon,” during the presentation yesterday said the campaign was intended to reach out to friends, sympathizers, well-wishers, and partisans who value the transparent leadership of Senator Dillon to manifest their feelings by supporting what they desire.
Mr. Sygbe said, “The ‘Friends of Dillon’ felt that it was expedient enough to get out and be able to rally and support the reelection of Senator Dillon to ensure that the “light” keeps shining.”
Senator Dillon, since his election in the Montserrado by-election in 2019 to replace the late Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, has remained persistent in exposing malpractices and ills in the Liberian Senate thereby causing him to gain the people’s confidence. His presence in the Senate has made many Senators unpopular and threatened their reelection.
Among the 14 Senators seeking reelection, Dillon is so far the only candidate to receive mass citizens’ support in terms of election funding. The rest of the politicians are sponsoring themselves; a condition that puts a victorious candidate in the position not to account to his or her constituents after the election.
“Today, after several weeks of engagement with the people of Montserrado County, we are here on their behalf to present to you a deep sense of love, appreciation, commitment, and gratitude for the manner and form in which you have enlightened the number of people who are novelists to the happenings in the National Legislature,” Mr. Sygbe said.
Mr. Sygbe told Senator Dillon that his advocacy and exposure of odds in the National Legislature has earned him (Dillon) the title: “The Light.”
In a rhetorical reference to the Bible, Mr. Sygbe quoted Genesis 1:3 that says “That on the first day, God said, let there be light and there was light,” adding that God could not act dwell in darkness to create the world and to put living things in perpetual darkness.
As God separated the light from the darkness, so Sygbe indicated that Senator Dillon remains “The Light” that was separated from the darkness by God, emphasizing that the presentation of the funds comes from grass rooters in Liberia and abroad.
“We believe that you as the light will continue to brighten the Senate so that whatsoever that is hidden can be outrooted. Again, we are pleased today to present to you on behalf of the loving people of Montserrado County the amount of LD$2.165,225 as a contribution from the people of this county to facilitate the payment of poll watchers which is critical to this election,” Mr. Sygbe said.
Former Unity Party Candidate in 2018 by-election in District #13 Montserrado County, Cornelia Kruah-Togba symbolically presented the money and said: “The people of Liberia are entrusting Montserrado to you and hope that you will not let them down as they believe in you.”
Mrs. Kruah-Togba said the people cannot afford to lose you and letting them down would also shut the door for many of those wanting to be at the National Legislature to do the right thing.
“We are asking you to use this fund to ensure that our votes that will be cast on election day are guarded to the fullest. We want to also present 229 t-shirts for the campaign team, although you earlier stated that you don’t want t-Shirts,” she added.
Receiving the funds, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon expressed gratitude to the “Friends of Dillon” for their timely support of his campaign activities for the December 8, 2020 election.
“We receive this amount today with the deep sense of gratitude and it also serves as a reminder of a bigger picture as said by Mrs. Kruah-Togba,” Senator Dillon said.
Senator Dillon said he does not know if he’s the first, but knowing that it is very rare in Liberian body politics for the people to support the campaign of a politician, especially sitting lawmaker, he will remain committed to being the “Light” for the Liberian people and he hopes others with good thoughts about the country can join him to change the dynamics of doing things in that first branch of government.
“We pray to God every day that our being in public office can serve as motivation and constructive recommendation for other upcoming leaders. Any attempt for us to fail the people, we are going to hurt some genuine aspiring leaders of our country,” Senator Dillon added.
He said the December 8, 2020 election is not about Dillon as it’s a small blessing for him to be privileged for his face to be on the ballot, but it’s about democracy versus dictatorship.
Dillon recounted that in 2019 while contesting for the Senate, a young girl named Beatrice Sneder who is disabled, made a contribution to his Senatorial bid.
Senator Dillon said Beatrice Sneder went to the Costa Show in central Monrovia from Fendell to pay LD$100.00 from money given to her through begging as a contribution towards his campaign. According to Dillon, the girl also provided LD$100.00 to Telia Urey, stating, “She was touched by the campaign message and our elections would be a sign of hope for the community of people with disabilities.”
Senator Dillon said this is not about Beatrice, but the community of people Beatrice comes from that reminds national leaders and policymakers that there is a community of people that he cannot afford to let down.