After a period of bitter feuding, leading to a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Fong Zuagele and the departed Assistant Superintendent for Development, Teeko Yorlay, the Nimba Legislative Caucus Chairman, Senator Thomas S. Grupee has pledged to renew cordial working relations with the county authority.
In a 15-minute address during the induction of the newly confirmed Assistant Superintendent for Development, Dorr Cooper, Senator Grupee emphasized that the caucus’ decision to pass a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Fong Zuagele and former Assistant Superintendent for Development Teeko Yorlay was being reconsidered for the sake of unity and development in the county.
The Senator stressed that they were arguing on reason and not prejudice or animosity, noting that their points were misinterpreted by some people in the county who did not understanding the issues involved.
According to him, they at the caucus level have planned to organize a county meeting where all stakeholders would be invited to discuss, hammer out differences and suggest a way forward for the sake of development and unity in the county.
Matters to be discussed at the planned meeting include the reopening of feeder roads in Nimba and the use of some of the County Development Funds for other infrastructures and human development.
Senator Thomas Grupee was the first to raise skepticism about Dorr Cooper’s nomination to the post of Assistant Superintendent for Development.
The Senator said both Dorr Cooper and his boss, Superintendent Zuagele are of the Mano tribe, which gave the impression of tribal dominance in favor of the Mano. Senator Grupee said it was necessary to prioritize minority tribes that are not represented in the county administration. Among these minority tribes are Mandingo, Krahn and Gbee, which include a number of sub-ethnic groups, including the Bassa.
This remark by the Senator, made last December, brought him serious criticism from other groups, who accused him of engaging in “tribal politics.” The Senator has since apologized to the people of Nimba for having made statements that they termed as “tribal politics.”
Nimba, like all the other 14 counties of the republic, is entitled to two Senators, both of whom, Senator Grupee and Senior Senator Prince Johnson, are of the Gio ethnic group. The Gio comprise the majority in the county.
In an interview Nimba District 9 Representative, Matinokay Tingban, expressed explicit confidence that the caucus and the county authority would work together for one common purpose, “the Development of Nimba.”
He pointed out that roads leading to Kpablee and Gbee statutory districts, which are currently inaccessible, will be given priority, in order to link them with the Nimba mainstream.
According to Representative Tingban, who is Mano, the recent overwhelming election of Senator Prince Johnson to succeed himself in the Liberian Senate clearly manifests that tribal sentiment is not a barrier in Nimba, because all tribal groups in the county willfully cast ballots in Senator Johnson’s favor.
Speaking earlier, Superintendent Fong Zuagele called on the caucus to allow the flow of cash to major development projects in the county in order to fulfill the expectations of Nimba citizens.
Mr. Zuagele said a greater portion of the county’s funds will go toward road rehabilitation to enable the majority of farmers to have access to markets.
He further assured that the county administration will be very prompt in 2015 to work out all modalities associated with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law, so as to avoid procrastination in funding projects.
He commended outgoing Assistant Superintendent for Development, Teeko T. Yorlay for the principles he stands for, stressing that it takes a brave man to withstand tensions that often come into conflict with such principles in a politically charged county like Nimba.