Who Is Behind Bid to Split Nimba County?

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Rep. Nagbe Sloh, right with Rep. Gwaikolo at the program

Nimba County has been the subject of intense power struggle (bickering, squabbling), since the 2017 presidential and general elections came to an end. This has been attributed to some individuals, especially the young people of the County, who may be mostly job seekers that are proposing the split-up of Nimba County for personal reasons.

However the internal strife is also believed to be masterminded by some influential people, especially members of the Legislature from the southeastern part of Liberia.

They are pushing for the implementation of a law that would see Nimba County divided into two counties. They claimed it would create an avenue (way, path) for more seats in the upper house of parliament (senate).

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

But those pushing for the implementation of the law have said that if Nimba County is divided into two counties there will be four senators, instead of two.They said that this will enable the County to become more developed, affecting every sector.

Nimba County is one of the leading revenue generating counties of Liberia. However the budgetary distribution by the national government is said to be uneven with respect to the County, something which has been viewed unfavorably by the citizens, who feel cheated of development projects as compared to other counties that are not contributing as much.

On March 10, 2018, Representative Roger S. W. Y Domah held a reconciliation program in Saclepea City, intended to bring the citizens together, following the 2017 elections and the ensuing bitterness.

The occasion brought together scores of lawmakers, as well as some prominent past and present local authorities, including Nimba County Rep. Younquoi, Rep. Togbah, Rep. Sonwabi, Rep. Gwaikolo as well as Sinoe County District #3 representative Nagbe Sloh and Rep. Barshell of Mountserrado County. Nimba County superintendent-designate, Dorr Cooper, including some prominent citizens, also attended the event.

Cross section of Nimba citizens at the program

Nimba County’s leaders spoke against the division of the County, calling on all those responsible to desist from increasing argument and think of unity and development.

But Rep. Sloh said: “I am not supporting the division of Nimba, but Montserrado has six senators today, because they divided themselves.”

He said Bomi, Marshall and Gbi 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 still maintain your unity,’ he said.

Rep. Sloh himself is part of a majority bloc in the Sinoe County Legislative Caucus, chaired by Sen. J. Milton Teahjay, who has been many times accused by Rep. Matthew Zarzar (District #3) and others of fueling a long-standing conflict between the Kru and the Sarpo tribes in Sinoe. Representative Crayton O. Duncan of District #1 is also part of the majority bloc, while Sen. Joseph Nagbe stands with Rep Zarzar on the minority bloc.

But Rep. Sloh’s statement at the Nimba meeting was met with disapproval, sparking a chorus of boos, followed by confusion in the jam-packed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf City Hall in Saclapea.

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 thought to be one of the main men pushing for the division of Nimba and the ultimate collapse of the County.

In an interview with Senator Thomas Grupee concerning the threats of a Gbi and Doru departure to River Cess county, he (Grupee) pointed fingers at Senator Francis Paye. He said that Paye orchestrated the splitting of Nimba so as to gain political relevance, based on promises made to voters trucked from Nimba during the senatorial election of 2014.

“California is the world’s forth economy, it is part of the USA and has two senators,” said one Darius outside of the Hall.

“Our greatness as a county comes from the population size, if we allow ourselves to be divided, we will no longer have Nimba County; each side will have different names, administration, and ideology, and not as one Nimba,” Mike Samah, a local journalist, said.

At the end of the 2011 elections, similar disagreements started in the County. However it did not meet the approval of the majority of the citizens.

Those pushing for the division have since had lengthy meetings across the County. However these have been met by physical violence or verbal insults from the majority of the citizens, as well as those with access to social media.

“If Nimba is divided and has four senators, as they are suggesting, it will be for the four persons and their immediate families. What benefit will the masses get?” said Darlington Kotee, a teacher. “Is it for the senatorial position that we want to divide our county? Is it only senator work the educated people can do to earn a living?” he asked.

18 COMMENTS

  1. I share Rep. Snoh’s sentiments on this Nimba separation not division. And Nimba is already divided naturally, with the Gios on one side and the Manos on the other side. It has been this way forever with no irreconcilable differences, aside from minor skirmishes every now and then, as would be the case in every large grouping of people with deep tribal cleavages.

    But more importantly, Njmba herself has abused this cherished but envious elephant size in recent Liberian politics, by throwing the majority of its votes behind unscrupulous characters in the name of sectarianism. The merger of former “territories” into counties and division of larger counties into two, were the result of outcries of the neglected portions of those counties for their own administrative destinies. So the Nimba situation is no different.

    After all the separation of the other counties did not create any major animosity or rift between toes citizens. So why would the Nimba situation be any different? Whereas Nimba has been taking advantage of other smaller counties because of its size. That has to change.

  2. Shame on all of you that are supporting any political division in Nimba county. No matter how beautifully you address this issue, the cause is worhthless.

    The foreigners are taking every significant sector of our economy and you guys talking about dividing a county for more political positions?

    Get your butt off the couch and get involve in commerce and trade. Remember, those who control the means of production will dominate politically, economically, and socially. What a shame; you guys are continuing to give the educated class a bad name.

    • Gbason, you believe the comments people make here or the side they align with on issues determine their worth, or lack thereof, in terms of their contribution to Liberia? Were that the yardstick then cums and riffraff like you would obviously be inconsequential, if not extinct. So you better stick with why you believe Nimba should remain one docile county, compared to the dynamism inherent in a proportionately stratified empiricism. Good luck with whatever the choice.

  3. An anonymous philosopher once said, “If all the people in this world, in which we live, were as selfish as a few of the people (politicians) in this world, in which we live, there would be no world in which to live.”

    Liberia is a small country about the size of the State of Tennessee. Liberia has 2 million people less than the population of Tennessee (6.7m). It is regrettable to see how this small Nation (Liberia) is now practicing what is called “Gerrymandering” ( the intentional drawing of political boundaries), for political expediency and for selfish interest of putting more “do-nothing politicians” into office in Liberia at the expense of poor voters.

    Under the combined Administrations of President Doe and Taylor, Liberia has been divided into 15 political subdivisions (counties). Since the splitting of these counties, what economic benefits have the people of these new political subdivisions achieved? More counties, more selfish politicians: Senators and Representatives are going to emerged seeking their own economic welfare.

    Now, some members of Nimba legislative caucuses and other Representatives are calling for the splitting of Nimba County for their personal aggrandizement. The issue in Liberia is not county breaking apart, or dividing the counties into ethnic enclaves at the expense of economic prosperity and national unity; the problem in Liberia is selfishness on the part of those who were elected to serve the people; the representatives who were elected to seek economic development for the people they represent.

    The 1986 Constitution was tainted to give more corrupt officials longer time (9 and 6 years) for Senators and Representatives to accumulate enough wealth before leaving office.

    Corruption, selfishness, and our unitary form of Government, with a Centralized system and its inability to disseminate wealth to other parts of the country for rapid economic development will always be barriers to development in Liberia.

    If we don’t correct these daunting problems in a country smaller than Tennessee, it does not matter how many political subdivisions or “Gerrymandering” tactics politicians come up with, Liberia will continue to remain a backward country. It is the Liberian voters who will become economically deprived in the end with all these political maneuvering calling for more divisions: be it Nimba or any other county in Liberia.

  4. Why should revenue that belongs to a County go first to Monrovia for redistribution? MONEY(S) allocated for a County/Region should go directly into a special account; set up, just for that purpose. Remember, Money is like Honey. It’s sticky. The more people that TOUCH the MONEY, the more there are people who will lick their fingers; thus the saying, “STICKY FINGERS”, when it comes to MONEY.

  5. Nimba remains Nimba no matter what happens.

    Fellow Nimbaians! Remember Mohammad Gadafi died in the hands of his own people who were fooled by outsiders and today Libyans are regretting thier action.

    Similar happened to Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, amongst others around the world.

    There is no change in the Sundans (North & South) since their division. In fact tension increases daily than before.

    Think between the lines: other counties are jealous of our togetherness, continous achievements, and development. As such, they will do anything it will cost to weaken our unity and power. Don’t allow little thing (money) and self angradisement divide us. Everyone is not forced to be in government. There are many things here in the county that can be done for survivability. Get involve in business, etc.

    Remember, their plan is that Nimba falls. But ours is Nimba remains the shinning star in Mama Liberia.

    Think about this!

    God bless you.

  6. It’s too early to split the birth place of unification for West Africa when Liberia is still in it’s infancy of nation building. Nimba county was the meeting place of unifying west Africa over fifty years ago, now it’s becoming the place of dissention. What a shame. Why not focus on bring new businesses into the county, education, health and employment for the future leaders of this great county? if the benefits of natural resources are not fairly distributed, the people have a right to protest and demand inclusion of all divisions of the county. Political incorrect splits can yield bad results such as ethnic, tribal and political cleansing thus affecting the fragile peace the nation has experienced over the years.

  7. let those guys from south esat stay away from our county business. it is their counties that have several cases of ethnic disputes, so let them settle their first before interfering into other matter. what so much about funding? see how our county is developing day by day. we say no we love our county. we are proud of our county, we don”t need four senators. since the creation of River Gee and Gbarpolu what has been the difference? my people your please leave our law makers to thing on bringing us more universities, technical and vocational institutions for our brothers and sisters, with all the number of senators what can they boost of/ WE ARE GREAT ALWAyS !!!!!!!

  8. People should be talking about De-centralization of the government. That is the key to any development. I hit, when people compare Liberia to State in U.S….look in in Africa for your comparison…look at Tuesday with less natural resources then Liberia…their economy is growing. To be short, De-centralize and let every region set their development goals.

  9. Liberia’s national budget is so woefully inadequate at the moment that proponents of the two counties proposal need to explain themselves on the funding for this expansion of government. Does anyone really want to actually believe that the immediate beneficiaries of such a construct will be the citizens? I think not!

  10. This argument of dividing Nimba county is a total rubbish and senseless idea we can’t divide Nimba county because of ur Grenier pasture.Ur decision to divide Nimba county will not materialize trust me.

  11. Mr.Freeman, you are hilarious ! I like your anology and sense of humour. As you said, ” money is sticky. The more people touch it the more they will lick their fingers”. It seems to be funny but that’s the fact you point out. Lol !

  12. Look!! It’s unfortunate for a Kolonko lawmaker from an underdeveloped county like Sinoe to be interfering in matters that is far above him. After all, Sinoe is one the the pioneering counties in our republic, but still appears to be like Gbarpolu, Rivergee and other mushroom county counties that gain their county status today. The birth place of African Unity is Nimba, So why can’t Nimbians put their resources into better use to improve our lives of our people instead of pushing for Nimba to be divided?? If the only way those who claim to be marginalized in Nimba lives can be improved is to become Senator or representative, then, let us all remain poor and marginalized till Jesus comes. Together, we can surely do better.

  13. We will continue to speak and stand together as Nimbian because we are great and strong please leave us lawmakers/Liberian people. Nimba County all the way!!!!!

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