One of the candidates in the Nimba County District #9 race, Johnson Gwaikolo, has been accused by one of his opponents of using ‘devil’ to intimidate voters as part of his campaign tactics. Making the disclosure over a local radio station in Ganta on Monday, August 21, incumbent Representative Mankinokay Tingban said Mr. Gwaikolo and team are using the Poro and the Sande societies to get voters to vote for him. Rep. Tingban described the behavior as “counterproductive, intended to cause fear in the minds of voters so as to vote for him.” He said Mr. Johnson’s behavior is likely to undermine the campaign process in the district, where most of the people or citizens are traditionally rooted.
Nimba County Electoral District # 9 includes Doe Administrative District, Gbi and Doru and the Yarwin Mensonnon District. Both Rep. Tingban and Gwaikolo are from the Yarwin Mensonnon end, where Liberia’s future capital of Zekepa is situated. Rep. Tingban has been criticized for not doing enough for the district during his six years as a representative, representing three administrative districts. The usage of the Legislative Support Fund is one of the cardinal issues for which Rep. Tingban has been heavily criticized.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gwaikolo, via mobile phone, denied ever using the ‘devil’ to campaign or intimidate anyone, saying that he has rather been following the traditional means to get the support of citizens for the October elections. He said Rep. Tingban is maligning him to cause confusion in the district because of his failure to deliver to the people over the past six years, and his lack of understanding of the tradition. “The citizens know our track record and so we are telling them our platform, which includes youth, women empowerment, education, infrastructural development and unity,” he said.
There are several contenders in the race for District # 9, including Rep. Mantinokay Tingban, Johnson Gwaikolo, Tilekpeh Wehyee Johnson, Cllr Cooper Kruah, Michael Slawon, and Chris Toe among others. District #2 representative aspirant Emma Wuoh has complained of being harassed by traditional leaders from the Garr Clan for breaking their agreement.
Early this year, the citizens of Garr met to come up with one candidate to contest for the representative seat and in the meeting, all the contenders from the clan agreed to go through a voting process, where Nyan Flomo was victorious. But, Emma Wuoh criticized the process and said it was orchestrated by Mr. Flomo. Refusing to abide by the ruling, she went ahead to register as one of the candidates. She said since declaring her candidacy in the representative election, the traditional leaders of the Garr Clan has pursued her to pay fines for not respecting their decision.
Meanwhile, Mr. Flomo has denied any charge of orchestration, stating that the agreement allowed one person to contest from the clan, which decision was signed by all contenders, who also agreed to abide by the ruling. He said he cannot be blamed for “the action taken by the old people.”