Nuquay’s Triple Loss

Outgoing Speaker and vice standard bearer of the defeated UP

House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay, one of the key figures who have lost their seats in the two nights of shocks following the 2017 presidential and representatives elections, turns out to be the only person who sustained three political strikes at a go, when he lost his incumbent seat as Representative from Margibi County, Speaker of the 53rd Legislature and, finally, as vice presidential candidate.

Speaker Nuquay and eight other Representatives did not contest, wile 34 other incumbent Representatives lost the elections, but 30 of their colleagues were re-elected, including 43 new ones.

The two-term Margibi County District #5 Representative failed to seek re-election as an incumbent, which would also have allowed him to seek re-election for the Speakership.

Statistics show that efforts to re-elect Nuquay for the third term would have been successful, had his supporters built good rapport and lobbied with his colleagues, including some of the incumbents or the newly elected ones, who would have caused his re-election as speaker of the House in a near-unanimous vote that might reflect a unified opposition.

Unfortunately, his decision to throw his hat in the presidential race as the vice standard bearer on the ticket of the Unity Party fragmented his political sojourn. Nuquay is now recorded in history as the shortest-stayed speaker of the House of Representatives in more than three decades. His days are numbered — 96 days from October 5, 2017, to January 8, 2018.

Now, being completely out of the political limelight will be the test of Nuquay’s political mettle — what assets and influence can he leverage from his political playbook to remain relevant and actively engaged from the outside.


Speaker Nuquay was born on October 24, 1968, unto George (deceased) and Kpannah Nuquay in Sein Town, Dinningta Clan, Borlorla Township, Margibi County. He obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree in Economics from the University of Liberia (UL) in 1998 and  LLB from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, UL in 2009.

He entered politics in 2005, and developed the novel development concept of “Gbaisue,” a Kpelle name for reserved corn that would be planted the next season.

The Kpelle people believe that this reserved corn hanging over burning firewood is sent by God, who is the only one who knows where it will germinate.

Some naysayers, judging from the number of “heavy-weights” in the race, wrote Nuquay off completely and felt that it was a pity that the young man would decide to put himself up for political destruction. To them it was like a rat trying to compete with leopards. But Nuquay was not deterred by the critics. He had worked with his people and knew what his people were actually yearning for.

Nuquay contested as an Independent candidate in 2005 and came from relative obscurity to emerge as Representative of the then District #5 of Margibi County. The people of Margibi were moved by the promise of the Gbaisue campaign, made through the motto: “Prepare for the harvest.” In the 2011 elections, Nuquay was overwhelmingly elected by citizens of his constituency, becoming one of very few representatives who were elected with an absolute majority.


  1. Nuwuay is a triple loser. He fought a good fight, but in the bitter end, the stars did not line up in his favor. Politics comes with all kinds of issues. Sometimes, politicians do well and sometimes, politicians encounter headwinds. Nuquay’s loss was without doubt an embarrassing headwind attack.

    Fortunately, Nuquay may not be out of the loop yet politically. Given his political background, Nuquay could negotiate for an ambassadorial position or he could run to become a Superintendent of his county. In the private sector, Nuquay could work for a multinational company in Liberia or when push comes to shove, Nuquay could easily start a business of his own. There are many options available to him. But, the headwinds may continue to affect his chances.
    All said, it is hard to comprehend why Nuquay could not win his own county on his vice presidential run. It is appalling that a native son was badly rejected by his own people not once, (October 10) but twice, (December 26). Such a snub by one’s own people speaks volumes. At least, Nuquay could have brought honor and dignity to Boakai’s ticket. Of course, VP Boakai himself won his county of birth, that was good and dandy!

    Given Nuquay’s trifecta loss, particularly in the area of politics, maybe his political ambitions are permanently dead. So, although he could negotiate for an appointed political position, Nuquay’s chances of running for an elective office are weaker than “a dead duck”. Again, no one brought this bad luck upon him but his own people and maybe Nuquay himself. With such a humiliating defeat, maybe it is fair to say that the Margibi people are not Nuquay’s people. So what’s left for the lawman?

    Perhaps starting a business of his own will restore Nuquay’s tarnished prestige. He is young and vibrant. Who knows? Maybe Nuquay could become a multimillionaire if he starts a business of his own. In any case, I as well as the Liberian people wish him well.

    The Kpelle Ethnic Group is the largest in Liberia. Well meaning patriotic Liberian Politicians should, by all means, advocate that this tribal dialect be widely taught at the university level and spoken as a national language to replace our colonial tongue (ENGLISH). I may be wrong here, like any of my comentry, I also stand corrected here.

    The Kpelle Belt extends from the Eastern flank, from Lower Lofa (Bo Polu), to Swen-Meka District in Bomi County. This section of Kpelle is spoken with mix Mandingo and a bit of Vai-Gola. On the North-Western flank, it extends from Lower Nimba , ( Zowehnta to the high land of the Gibi Mountains, down to Salala). Then we have the Gorkweleh Kpelle ( inside Middle Bong County. Thats Totota, Palala, Giangue, Sanoryea, Gboh-qwenemy etc. ) This group speaks the original Kpelle. The last group is the Saita Kpelle ( extends from upper Margibi spread to Bong Mines, across the St. Paul River, down to Todee District, Carey’s burg to Mt. Barclay including Eastern Firestone plantation). This group of Kpelle speak with a mixture of Pidgin Enlish.

    Mr. Nukuay concentrated on the Margibi Kpelle, which constituted only about 25% of the total Kpelle speaking people. The strategists for the UP 2017 election left the party wide open for defeat. Any politician wanting to win the KPELLE VOTE, must attack it from all the four fronts that mentioned. A well season- politician, is an Anthropologists, that knows the people, their hobbies, food, religion.

    I adore the view of a Pan Africanists. “One has to go to the the people, and know the people, if one need power from the people”. If Liberians will not communicate in any tongue, besides English, we will have no secrete to pass on to our children, in the face of our enamy. Swahili is widely spoken in East Africa…Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi ,Uranda etc. All Ghanian speak Tre, as a mode of communication. If you are a foreigner in Ghana, you better learn how to speak Tre in other to survive.

    • MB; there are just too many different Kpelles. Your idea was once proposed; back in the 70s. Not Acceptable! To the rest of Liberia’s many diverse ethnic groups. ‘can’t blame them. Liberia has better things to do. Anyone have a choice. Whoever wants, may learn any other dialets in Liberia. Just don’t impose it on everyone.

  3. The Kpelle and Bassa dialects should be considered by the Liberian National Legislature during its
    January 9, 2018 session for an open debates as the appropriate national dialect to be taught from kindergarten to college.

  4. I disagree for Kpelle to be taught in the schools of Liberia. On the other hand, maybe Kpelle could be taught in private schools that are set up by the native sons and daughters of the Kpelle tribes. A Grebo derivative as I am, I would prefer for Grebo to be taught in Maryland county schools. I cannot and will not in good conscience impose Grebo on any Liberian child.
    I think it is appropriate to ask the following questions:

    (1) Why learn how to speak Kpelle?

    (2) What would be the economic, political
    or social benefit to the Liberian peo-
    ple? In other words, if the government
    said that Kpelle should be taught,
    how would that enhance our

    (3) Which of the Kpelle dialect would be
    suitable for the schools of Liberia?
    Bah has informed us that there are
    various types of Kpelle.

    (4) If Kpelle were taught, would the
    Liberian people be forced to learn the
    culture of the Kpelle people?

    (5) Finally, do the Kpelle people want all
    Liberians to be subservient to the
    Kpelle people? The Grebo, Kru, and the
    tribes of Gee county do not send our
    girls to the Sande bush. Never! It’s not
    part of their culture. So, why learn the
    language if the practice of the Kpelle
    culture will not be adopted?

    I’d say this: Kpelle people or supporters of the Kpelle people, please leave us alone. We don’t want to be dominated by you like that. With the election of Weah as our next president, demoncracy is on its way to Liberia. So, let’s talk about scholarships for our youth. Also, let’s talk about computers being brought to our schools across the country. The youth of Liberia deserve to know something about the internet.

    May God bless the people of Liberia as well as the small Liberian community in Sidney, Australia. By the way, young boys and girls in Liberia……….Can you hear meeeee? Have you kids read about kangaroos? Is a duck-billed platypus a mammal, reptile or a crustacean?

  5. We already have a national language in Liberia. It’s called Lenglisg. Most Liberians, from the formal educated to the least formal educated, have some knowledge of Lenglisg. Lenglisg can be further developed to include vocabularies/words consisting all of Liberia’s 16 dialets/languages. Yes! It can be done. Some words of any of Liberia’s 16 dialets/languages can easily be adopted to Lenglisg. It will make us more wholesome; if we can understand and speak a little of one and others’ Languages/Dialets. Picking one dialet/language over everybody else’s dialet will not fit too well with all of Liberia’s diverse ethnic groups. I remember, back in the 70s; when the then President proposed that every LIBERIAN learn Kpelle. There was an uproar from the rest of Liberia’s Tribal groups. There were people complaining: why not my language/dialet? You bet! The proposal that every LIBERIAN learn and speak Kpelle or for that matter, select one of Liberia’s many dialets/languages over all the others, was not wholely acceptable. Let’s just develope LENGLISG; include a bit of everyone’s language/dialet. “We Will Over All Prevail”. God Bless The Republic Of Liberia. Our Home–Sweet Home.

  6. Mr. Henry Freeman and Brother Hney,
    I m not trying to make other tribes inferious to the Kpelles. It is only an observation and a suggested idea. Any dialect that is widely spoken by nearly a million people, in a country with a population of 3.75 million, need to be recognized. That is the reason I wrote this piece.
    The Chinese speak Mandarin in mainland China, but there are more than 350 different sub Chinese dialect spoken. Mandarin is widely spoken by over 870 million Chinese. That’s the reason the central communist party made it a national language. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, Cantonese is widely spoken, because they made the majority.

    Have anyone of you listen to Radio Moscow? If you do, on the African Service, you will listen to five popular widely spoken African languages: Youroba, Hausa, Fulani, Swahili Arabic and Igbo. The reason is that each of these languages have over 15 to 30 millions listening audience.

  7. Mr. William Jackson,
    I certainly hope you’re joking. If the Liberian National Assembly ever mandates that the Bassa and Kpelle dialects be taught from the Kindergarten up to college, I would do the following:

    1. Urge the students of the remaining 13 counties to boycott classes for one whole year.

    2. Although Kpelle and Bassa girls are precious and beautiful, I would forgo that and urge citizens of the 13 remaining counties to divorce their Kpelle and Bassa spouses.

    3. I would urge the Bassa and Kpelle lawmakers be spanked with 25 lashes every day, and finally

    4. I would urge all hospitals in Bong and Bassa counties to be closed for one whole year.

    Jackson and my younger brother in Sidney, Australia, are you okay with such punishments? I urge you to drop your idea immediately.

  8. “Hahahahahahahaha”, my good brothers are taking this thing way out of context. I personally is not saying that a typical Grebo, Bassa, Gio and all other tribes in Liberia should not speak their various dialects. If Grebo, Manor, Belle or Lorma were widely spoken as Kpelle is, I wouldn’t mind if the government suggest any of them to be taught and spoken in school. Are we not ashamed that some of our dialects are fading into extinction?

    I m not a Bassa, Grebo or Krahn, but I m a LIBERIAN, with a nationalistic attitude. I cherished people who speak any of our dialect.
    Brother Hney, does any of your children born in America speak Grebo? I m sure only your siblings in Monrovia do. What will your grand children speak,……better yet, English. Millions of children are been born to Liberian parents in Liberia, and are growing with not having the ability to speak any of the 15 or 16 tribes.
    Did any one of you know Dwalue Bukala or Momolu Dwalue Bukare. He was the inventor of the Vai syllabary in 1826. It is said that our so-founding fathers of “modern Liberia”, did not invest in the promotion of such literary art. Instead, they allow it to fade. Liberians would have a written language by now.

    The people of Ethiopia write Amharic language, but not all Ethiopians are Amharic. This style of writing is distinctive. The Amhara language is widely spoken. There are so many tribes in Ethiopia: Oromo ,Amhara Somali, just to name a few.
    Let us read the book of Matthew 25:29 or Luke 8:18…It is always good to have your own. “THEM THAT GOT SHALL GET, THEM THAT DON’T SHALL LOSE.
    Let us learn to love ourselves and love what we get.

  9. Gen. Bah,
    To me, the issue of dialects is not a top priority neither should it be considered. If dialects must be taught, it should be in the counties. For example, teach Kpelle in Kpelle enclaves, teach Bassa in Grand Bassa only, teach Krahn in Grand Gedeh and so on. Finally, the teaching of dialects could spark a cultural warfare. Our Americo- and Congau Liberian brothers and sisters are amongst us. How will they feel?

    I came up with few things that I think most Liberians will agree with.

    1. Computers are needed at all public
    2. We need good motor roads in Liberia,

    3. We need electricity nationwide,

    4. We need minimum wage laws in

    5. Students need a full set of textbooks,

    6. All teachers need teacher edition text-
    books, grade books, attendance
    books, lesson plan books and red ink
    pens to grade with and

    7. Bachelor degree holders may teach
    from K-12. High school graduates
    may teach from K-grade 6. Non High
    school graduates should not be
    allowed to teach.
    Rather, non High school
    graduates should be employed as
    classroom aids.

    More to come.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here