As President George Weah remains in Nimba County on his nationwide tour, the political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) and Senator of Nimba, Prince Y. Johnson, has called on the President to appoint more Nimbaians in ministerial positions.
Senator Johnson made the request on Monday, February 15, 2021, during a citizen’s engagement meeting held in Gompa City. Defending his request, Senator Prince Johnson whose MDR is dominantly comprised of members of the Gio and Mano tribes said this will help to provide more jobs for citizens of the county.
Senator Johnson said the CDC-led government has only Posts and Telecommunications Minister, Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah Sr, as a senior official from the county, a position he said is not very significant now as posting activities are in contemporary days takent over by technology.
“Mr. President, you know that no one is posting again because of technology. Everyone is now using email and social media for the delivery of information. No way to employ our people from Nimba; therefore, it will be important for you to appoint three persons from Nimba as cabinet ministers and they will help to employ our people,” Senator Johnson said.
Senator Johnson further argued that Nimba County is the second largest county and also second most populated county in the country, and that it will be proper to have three ministerial posts given to people of the county, adding, “Many of our people are thirsty for job opportunity.”
The Nimba Lawmaker and “political godfather” said the county is too big to have only one person as Minister, stressing, “Many of our people are yearning for job opportunities and we want to appeal to you to urgently look into the situation.”
The Legislature has not created any law frowning at tribalism or sectionalism as mandated in the Liberian Constitution; however, Article 5 (c) of the Constitution notes that the republic shall take steps to discourage the practice of sectionalism and tribalism and other activities that have the propensity to set the basis for division in the country.
With this demand by the Nimba Senator to prioritize people of the county, mainly Gio and Mano who dominate the county, seems to contradict the mentioned constitutional provision. Since President Weah entered Nimba, social media posts have indicated that Nimba itself is now grossly divided on tribal line with the Gio and Mano people expressing hate for each other. This tribal hatred according to citizens of the county began in recent times right after the December 8 senatorial election that brought dispute between Representative Jeremiah Koung and his supporters on the one hand, and Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh and supporters on the other hand. The election dispute case is currently before the National Eelections Commission and the ruling is expected any time.
In the tribal feud in the county, many people in social media posts blame Senator Johnson for what is unfolding. Some blame him that his side with Representative Koung and the alleged inciting of the Gios to vote for his candidate whose mother is a Gio clearly depicts his tribal stance. Also, a lot of people have expressed on the radio that Senator Johnson, from the days of former President Sirleaf, has been expressing his discontentment in seeing the Manos appointed in Government, something for which callers claim Senator Johnson and a large segment of the Gios has decided that no Mano candidate will ascend to the county’s senatorial seat as long as the Gios are in “Majority.”
Some hearing the request by Senator Johnson to the President also deduce that the Senator himself will be contesting for his senatorial position in the 2023 presidential and legislative elections and that his plea does not really reflect the interests of citizens of the county but a strategy of precampaign.
In response to Senator Johnson’s plea, President Weah has asked him to submit a list of educated Nimbaians, stating “We will employ those who are educated to help our government.”
Ahead of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, Senator Prince Johnson has also committed Nimba to President George Weah for his re-election.
Senator Johnson, though, had critized the Weah Administration for underperforming, he indicated that the people of the county are resolved to throw their political weight behind the ruling CDC political leader and President of Liberia.
President Weah, being accompanied by Senator Johnson and a host of lawmakers and county officials, toured Sanniquelle, Karplay, and Yekepa, and he has received an affectionate welcome in the county.
Meanwhile, Senator Johnson has called on President Weah to construct the road leading to his Church in Paynesville near state radio, ELBC. However, Senator Johnson has been criticized for pushing personal interests instead of the county’s.