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.
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.