As Liberia’s midterm senatorial elections draw nearer, at least six of Bong County’s eminent citizens from its lower districts have declared their intentions to contest the senatorial post.
The would-be Bong County senatorial aspirants made the declaration over the weekend in Salala Town, Salala District, at a mass citizens’ meeting.
The meeting was organized through the conglomeration of 3 districts including Salala, Sanoyea, and Fuamah.
It was intended to unite the citizens; particularly in the 3 districts. These districts hope to take their rightful position in the decision making process of their county and help foster development.
Several distinguished personalities from opposition political parties in Liberia, including the standard bearer of the Movement for Progressive Change, Mr. Simeon Freeman; presidential aspirant of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Benoni Urey; and others attended the meeting.
Those making declarations of intent are: incumbent senator Jewel Howard Taylor, Joseph O. Clinton, Andrew S. Allakamenin, Mannis B. Howard, James Gbarbea and former Salala District lawmaker Martin Kerkula.
These individuals are expected to go through the primary of their umbrella organization “SASAFU” (Salala, Sanoyea, and Fuamah) in order to qualify for support.
Speaking at the meeting, the acting chairman of SASAFU, Momo Tehmeh, clarified that the 3 districts have resolved to unite to support a particular candidate of their choice.
“In order to change and improve this age-old scenario (meaning traditional of Upper Bong Citizens in political positions) and to capture the needed developmental attention to improve the standard of living of thousand of Lower Bong citizens we have unanimously agreed to unite in striving for social, economic and political development,” he explained to his audience at the meeting.
He said that with all the vast potential in Lower Bong it still remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the county.
According to Tehmeh, it is important that citizens in Lower Bong receive equal participation in the political leadership of the county.
“Our advocacy is a process that is participatory, constructive and inclusive. It is designed to develop a shared vision for the betterment of our people,” he reiterated.
He said that SASAFU will remain a strong force in sensitizing the citizens to make decent decisions that will transform their lives.
“We will ensure that we select the right person to support in this senatorial race. Those who do not get the approval of the organization should understand that they are not the people choice,” he stressed.
Although Tehmeh did not state the exact time for the primary, he assured all present that it would be transparent.
“The primary will involve the participation of the elders, youths and local authorities of the 3 districts. Whoever is selected would be judged from their past performance in working with the citizens over the years. We will not elect a leader on the basis of financial status, rather, they would be chosen for their credibility,” he clarified.
He used the occasion to call on his fellow citizens to unite and bring development to the 3 districts.
Launching the SASAFU’s membership fund drive, CDC presidential aspirant, Benoni Urey, said that the establishment of SASAFU was a step in the right direction.
“Small ideas can bring about great achievements, so I want to thank you for coming together as citizens from different districts with the shared goal of development,” he said.
He urged the citizens not to be distracted in their vision and to work harder in bringing about transformation in the county.
Mr. Urey further warned them to make good political decisions that would move their districts forward.
“The political arena will be crowded with lots of people, so you must be careful in your selection,” he cautioned.
For his part, the standard bearer of the Movement for Democratic Change, Simeon Freeman, called on members of SASAFU to decentralize its activities in the 3 districts.
“By doing so the organization would always have a voice in whatever developments are taking place in the county,” he said.
Mr. Freeman also used the meeting to sound a strong warning for the citizens not to betray their districts through the election of the wrong person.
If the citizens of Lower Bong succeed at supporting a single candidate in the coming senatorial race, it is expected that individual would join seven other candidates in Upper Bong County contesting the post.
At the same time, incumbent senator, Jewel Taylor stated at the meeting in Salala that she welcomes all other candidates to contest her position.
Senator Taylor, who hails from Sanoyea District, told citizens from the 3 districts that she will be looking for their support in her re-election.