Tension is said to be brewing in the mining city of Bahn, in Nimba County, over the position of City Mayor, for which there are four persons, including the incumbent Angie Dopoe.
Because of the confusion, a community radio station in Saclepea City, which is about a stone’s throw from Bahn, has reported that residents in Bahn are now gripped with uncertainty as government is yet to name a new City Mayor, ever since the Senate rejected Madam Dopoe’s confirmation, following her appointment by President George Weah in February this year.
Residents claim that under Madam Dopoe’s reign, the effective running of Bahn City has remained dormant, after President Weah declared in January that those in public offices should be replaced by their human resource officer until new appointments were made.
Based on that, Bahn City Council Chair, Thomas Garr, was appointed as Acting City Mayor. He has, however, been accused of collecting municipal taxes. But Mr. Garr has denied the allegation.
At a recent town hall meeting, Representative Roger Domah of District #7, acting upon the citizens’ request, instructed the Administrative Assistant to the embattled Mayor, Africano Kwehmie, to act as City Mayor until Madam Dopoe’s fate at the Legislature was addressed.
Shortly after Representative Domah’s instruction, there was commotion in the city on Saturday, August 4, when County Inspector Reginald Mehn ordered the reinstatement of Mayor Dopoe.
Inspector Mehn argued on Radio Sacleapea that President Weah’s declaration at that time has since expired, “therefore, Madam Dopoe remains the mayor until the Senate can deny her confirmation.”
However Representative Domah had earlier told residents that his replacing Madam Dopoe as City Mayor was on President Weah’s mandate.
“Since Mayor Dopoe was still awaiting her confirmation, the rightful person to act is her Administrative Assistant,” Domah argued.
There are claims and counterclaims, with some residents arguing that Madam Dopoe has lost relevance while others continue to respect her legitimacy.
The situation has created serious tension among the citizens, with many of them calling on the central government to identify the main person that will steer the affairs of the city to avoid the situation degenerating into full-blown conflict.
“We don’t know who to actually pay our city tax to,” said Jacob Karnay, a prominent citizen of Bahn.
Supporters of the embattled City Mayor are blaming Representative. Domah for appointing an Acting Mayor, when he does not have the power to do so, and have therefore threatened to take their complaint to Monrovia for redress.
Drama ensued when Inspector Mehn overturned his support for Madam Dopoe, thus recognizing the legitimacy of Acting Mayor Kwehmie, to whom he had earlier denied entry to the office, the Daily Observer gathered.
In another development, the citizens have called on the government to speedily appoint people to vacant positions in the county, including the development superintendent, district and township commissioners, to avoid a power vacuum in the county.
The lack of a development superintendent, since the CDC-led government came to power, is said to be undermining most of the county’s development initiatives.
The rejection of Peter Karngbaye by the Senate as the county development superintendent caused resentment among the citizens of Kparblee, a hometown of Mr. Karngbaye.