The ruling Unity Party (UP) conducted rallies across the country over the weekend, creating earth-shattering results for incumbents and political sympathizers.
In Lofa County, incumbent Sumo Kupee’s hopes for party’s endorsement became history when the party instead selected his rival, former National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) boss, Francis Carbah, to stand on its ticket.
Kupee could not convince district heads and even top executives of the party that he was the right man for the job, as majority of the delegates expressed their strong anger against Kupee at the polls.
Kupee had enjoyed a long relationship with UP executives, which earned him a position of Chairman of the Senate's Ways, Means and Finance Committee, a job responsible to oversee all financial matters including the National Budget, financial agreements between Liberia and other partners, as well as running the affairs of the senate's operational budget in consultation with other leadership members. He has served in this capacity since taking office in 2006 and as such had high hopes of the party's endorsement.
But his hope of riding again under the UP political umbrella in order to clinch party’s full support now remains history.
Defeated 12-8 votes, Kupee knows that he fought a good battle but was never the favorite. A four-vote margin means a lot in any political struggle. However, this does not put an end to Kupee's career. He seems determined to fight. When asked for response to his defeat, Kupee declined to comment on his next move, saying; "I will officially announce what is next shortly."
Carbah, whom the party welcomed under its umbrella, has had a long standing relationship with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, who remain influential figures in both party and county politics, despite their lame duck status.
In Bong County, UP downplayed previous political agreements with incumbent Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and announced that the party’s political weight rests on the shoulders of Dr. Henrique Tokpah, president of Cuttington University.
Madam Taylor of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) had hoped that she could collaborate with the UP in order for the party to support her bid by fielding no candidate in the region, but the former first lady was disappointed.
In Nimba and Montserrado counties, Dr. Peter Wheato and Aliue Sylla grabbed their share of the cake as the party’s endorsement fell steadfastly in their favor. Sylla defeated Madam Cecelia Cuffey Brown, a strong critic of CDC’s George Weah. Sylla joined the race along with Liberty Party's Benjamin Sanvee and CDC's George Weah, both of whom have received their parties’ endorsements, respectively.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) announced that the Special Senatorial Election will be conducted early October, and political parties are keen on electing their candidates through primaries or party executives’ endorsement to stand in the polls.