Saclepea Lawmaker Scowls at ‘Upper -Lower’ Nimba Split

6
1983
Rep. Domah has contrasting view about the division of Nimba

-Says ‘majority Nimbaians’ will decide

The creation of 5 new counties in 1964 by President Tubman was intended to address the issue of unequal representation. Prior to 1964 Liberia was divided into five counties, Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Maryland, 3 provinces, and 4 territories namely Marshall, Bomi Territory, Gibi Territory, Kru Coast Territory and Sasstown Territory.

The provinces were Central Province, which includes present- day Nimba and Bong counties, Western Province which comprises present-day Lofa and Gbarpolu counties, and Eastern Province, made up of present-day, River Gee, Grand Gedeh, and Grand Kru counties.

Until 1964, Nimba was  part of Central Province, which included present-day Bong County. Since Nimba gained county status, it has never been divided as has been the case with Grand Gedeh, Maryland and Lofa counties. There has never even been a discussion about a division of Upper and Lower Nimba County, unlike Bong County where a presumed dichotomy exists between what is referred to as Upper Bong and Lower Bong.

Nimba, the most populous, has been making enviable strides in economic development. But since 2011, Nimba County has played hosts to an intense power struggle (bickering, squabbling), with some residents calling for a split which on the one hand would create Lower Nimba and, on the other, Upper Nimba.

Since 2017 the power play has intensified, leading to widespread debates among the County’s lawmakers and beyond.

In the aftermath of claims and counter-clams, Nimba County District #7 Representative, Roger Domah, has told the Daily Observer that though he “seriously stands against the split,” he believes that majority of his kinsmen will decide the fate of the County.

The UP lawmaker frowned on the idea of splitting the County, adding: “I support a united Nimba County instead.”

Domah has advised the leadership of Nimba County Caucus not to meddle in citizens’ politics suggesting the County’s split, but to allow the citizens to make the decision all by themselves. He however said it would be at the disadvantage of the citizens to divide the County.

Rep. Domah replaced Representative Worlea-Saywah Dunah, who did not seek re-election after serving for 12 years at the 52nd and 53rd Legislature respectively.

Reports say the “split” debate in the County is being masterminded by some influential people, especially members of the Legislature from southeastern Liberia, to relegate  Senator Prince Y. Johnson’s somehow unchallenged  role as  the sole “Political Godfather of the County.”

Even though there has not been any law up to press time yesterday to officially divide the County, there are also reports that the County Electoral District #5 Representative, Samuel G. Korgar, and some southern Lawmakers are among those pushing for the implementation of a law that would see Nimba County divided into two.

Besides seeking to oust a single man (Senator Prince Johnson) as the political godfather of the County, they also claim the division would create an avenue (way, path) for additional seats in the upper house of parliament (senate).

However, there has been  stiff resistance from majority of the citizens, who believe that the law, if implemented, would break down the unity and the political prowess of the County, increasing ethnic tension.

It may be recalled that on March 10, during a week-long Reconciliation Program of Rep. Domah, Sinoe County District #2 Representative Jay Nagbe Sloh argued that sometimes division is necessary to promote infrastructural developments, though he claims  not to support  the division of Nimba.

“I am not supporting division of the County, but Montserrado has six senators today because they divided themselves,” Rep. Sloh argued.

He said Bomi and Margibi counties have two senators each, while River Cess and River Gee, which broke away from Bassa and Grand Gedeh counties respectively, also have two senators each.

“You can still be divided and maintain your unity,’ the Sinoe lawmaker indicated.

Since March 10, Rep. Sloh’s statement has left many with the belief that the division of Nimba is being masterminded by lawmakers from the southeast. Some have pointed fingers at Senate Pro-tempore  Albert Chie, who is believed to be one of the main protagonists supporting the division of Nimba and what is foreseen by some as the  County’s subsequent collapse.

In an interview with Senator Thomas Grupee concerning the threats of a Gbi and Doru incorporation into River Cess County, he (Grupee) pointed fingers at Senator Francis Paye of River Cess for advancing the idea. He said that Paye orchestrated the splitting of Nimba in order to gain political relevance, because of promises made to his constituency.

Nimba County is located in northeastern Liberia and shares borders with La Côte d’Ivoire in the East and the Republic of Guinea in the Northeast. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division, the County has six statutory districts. Sanniquellie serves as the capital with the area of the County measuring 11,551 square kilometres (4,460 sq mi), the largest in the nation. Ganta is the most populous city in Nimba County. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 462,026, making it the second most populous county.

Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, the tallest peak in the Nimba mountain range, Nimba County is also bordered by Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, River Cess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

6 COMMENTS

  1. How about new ideas from Nimba? How about inspiring Nimba to feed itself, feed the nation and feed west Africa? The pro-split politicians are bankrupt of new ideas-my opinion! When you ask the wrong question, you are bond to get a wrong answer. There are other issues that have the potential of investing in the people and the economy; After 170 years of representative democracy we have a poverty stricken- foreign aid dependent country incapable of feeding itself, providing basic services, guaranteeing justice, security and equal opportunities-thanks to the excessive salaries and benefits of politicians. How do you fix a corrupt system?
    Get rid of it and create a new system led by the people! How about having the participatory democracy, where the people make laws directly and set the salaries and benefits of their employees? This system exists in Switzerland, a country with no natural resources, the European Union and 24 states in America. The Liberian Speaker of the House has excessive salary and benefits (US$483200.00 salary plus US$1.2 million for his office). This is higher than the Speaker of the United States Congress (Paul Ryan’s US$223,599.00 yearly salary) and higher than the salary and benefit of the president of the United States *US$400,000.000. I challenge any pro-split Nimba politician to a debate because if they can’t see this issue as a problem, they are spineless sissies, not men or women enough. The representative democracy system we have is corrupt, broken and must be replaced with participatory democracy, where the will of the people supersedes the desires of politicians. “99 days for rogue but one day for the master: http://www.mastersday.com. If we invest the excessive salaries of these politicians and lawmakers into zero interest loans for farmers don’t you think we can generate positive energy and competition to help us feed our country? I will fight any day for taking cars, free gas, free excessive salaries away from politicians and fight for an independent citizens commission to set the salaries of public SERVANTS rather than waste my time on splitting counties. We had 5 counties Liberia was poor. We increased to 9 counties Liberia is still poor. We increased to 15 counties and it’s a mess. Representation must be by population and the people given the power to have the last say. Guess what this is what we shall accomplish in Liberia, a government of the people, by the people and for the people!

  2. If the Nimbians want to be split up into two different counties, it’s all good. First of all, if the split occurs, the Nimbians will continue to be considered as Liberians, not Ivorians, neither will there be a newly created country. The sad truth is that sometimes, we as human beings ask for trouble when there is no need to do so. In that sense, I hope and pray that trouble will not hover above the unseen horizon whenever a split-up of Nimba occurs. However, the real truth of the matter is that for centuries, the Gios and Manoes have managed their internal issues in a brotherly fashion. The two tribes have cooked their gigba similarly, they intermarried, they referred to Sanequile as their county seat and did a litany of many things in order to promote Liberian patriotism. Frankly, I philosophically support their reason (s) for a split. All I say is this: Be careful. There are some who will say “oh, there’s no reason to be careful”. Well, I hope so.

    Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for a split-up of Nimba. There are two main tribes. Each of the tribes has its share of educated men and women who contribute to the development process of Liberia. Each tribal group wants to be fairly represented in the Liberian legislature. By doing so, more money from Monrovia will flow in both counties and hopefully more jobs will be created. It’s all good.

    What’s about the name? Are we going to hear such names as Upper Nimba and Lower Nimba? Maybe.
    In the US, a similar split-up of two states has taken place. For instance, there are South Carolina and North Carolina. Also, there are two Dakotas, namely, South Dakota and North Dakota. Also in Southeast Asia, a major split in the Korean Peninsula exists: South Korea and North Korea. The split-up states in the US co-exist peacefully. Similarly, the Asian Koreas co-exist, but not so peacefully. Of course in Europe, there was one Germany before WWll. After the defeat of Nazism, Germany split up into two countries: West Germany and East Germany. Germany exists today as one country because Warsaw Pact nations and West European nations, including US and Canads are at peace, some how.

    Back to Liberia:
    Instead of Lower Nimba county and Upper Nimba county, my God, can we try something else? It’s just a suggestion. So, what’s about the following:

    South Nimba county or,

    North Nimba county or,

    East Nimba county or

    West Nimba county.

    It depends on how the line will be drawn. But, irrespective of how the line is drawn, I suggest that we should go alone with a divide that does not say “Lower Nimba county or Upper Nimba county”.

  3. If you use your blessings to the disadvantage of your neighbors, your neighbors will be rejoicing when your blessings start to turn into curses. However, whether nimba county splits in two parts, using lower and upper nimbas or different names all together, making tappita the capital of the gio nimba and sanniquellie remaining the capital of the mano nimba, liberia will always remain liberia and the divided nimba will always remain part of liberia. In their endeavor to divide or stay together, i wish them the best option that will be chosen by the people of nimba, themselves. When there are no more enemies to fight, fighters must turn their guns on each others.

  4. Nimba county shall not be divided because of political greed of power which when they get there nothing they can do us just to go America that is all are fighting for.Nimba united we stand divided we fall.politician will continue to run to us if we remains united and not divided.

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