GRAND BASSA’S DESPERATE NEED FOR HEALING AFTER THE 2014 ELECTIONS

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The much anticipated 2014 senatorial elections have come and long gone but the aftermaths of the results are being felt, particularly in one county and for the wrong reasons, too.

Counties like Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Maryland, River Gee and Margibi have only been experiencing the obvious backlashes of post-electoral 'commentaries' and fight-backs of defeated candidates such as protests and 'wolf-crying,' which will eventually be resolved, be it through legal proceedings or their likes. Others refer to such as 'Commentaries after the match'.

But in the case of Grand Bassa County, the post-electoral dividends have been more division and hatred as if the county was the only one that went through the senatorial election. This has cut a rather strange feeling among the "victors" and the "losers", to the extent that even those who thought they won their rivals in the election are still battling with division and hatred as much as those who thought they lost the election.

One side continues to think that the county "threw away" a major national political identity — 'Senate Pro Temp' — and by that action, the electorates of Grand Bassa County showed 'ingratitude' when former Pro Temp Gbenzohngar M. Findley was rejected at the polls on December 20, 2014. On the flip side, it was thought that one man had been "too powerful" in deciding almost every administrative and financial aspects of the county for nine years without the "consent of the county legislative caucus" and at such it was time to have a balance.

Observers on the other end have viewed the county as having one political dominance, led by the Liberty Party since 2005, while at the same time having one administrative dominance most often influenced by the then "all powerful" Senator Findley long before he even assumed the post of the nation's fourth most powerful seat enshrined in the Pro-Temp chieftaincy.

While the Liberty Party thought it needed to collect both senatorial seats to strengthen its purported declining popularity in the county, the Findley-led camp thought it would be completely outrageous to reduce the county to what is dubbed as a "one party" county; thus, the finger-pointing as to who was (or is) responsible for the recent media spotlight on the county's notorious 'dumpsite survival' article.

The excuses "The Liberty Party has had the longest grips on the county's political landscape" versus "Senator Findley and cohorts have been the deciders of the county's administrative and financial directions" became the two justifications coming from both camps when Monrovia-based journalists who were attending an electoral workshop in the port city of Buchanan got attracted to some residents of the nation's second capital surviving on crumbs and remnants of food items on a dump-site from expatriates in the county.

In whatever way, it is the County that continues to bleed in the absence of any cohesion in moving forward the nation's second most important seaport county.

Beyond the mid-term senatorial election, Grand Bassa County continues to bubble with more hatred and division than ever before simply because some people thought they lost and while some felt they won. What people from both camps have failed to realize is that the county won and that matters of the county are the only issues that matter now.

I continue to put myself on record that the political interests of both Cllr. Charles Brumskine and now former Senator Findley were leading Grand Bassa downward a more divisive and bitter path.

Even with a year to spear to the electoral process, politicians from both camps began to attack each other's camp in such defamatory and slanderous manners that began right on various radio stations in the national capital. And so when I wrote an article entitled "Fueling Bassa Political Tension Is Needless" (http://allafrica.com/stories/201402140940.html ), the number of commendations I got from far and near were indicative of the truthfulness of the points I stressed in that widely-read and well-circulated commentary despite a few persons (of course with deep political interests) labeling me as a "hired pen pusher" of one camp. While it matters very less to me how my accusers would come up against me on this one, the truth remains that our county is in terrible need of a reconciliatory repair at the moment.

Now, below are two things that really disgust me in the aftermath of the county's mid-term election: firstly, I continue to hear supporters of the defeated Findley saying loudly that they will adopt a 'waiting on the fence' or 'folded arms' posture and will opt to not join in any county initiative until after the next round of elections in 2017.

Next disgusting (and disappointing too) is words coming from the mouths of so-called winners that "Grand Bassa has been restored to their original owners" only because former Senator Findley lost.

Taking each head-on, with politics aside, Grand Bassa was never taken away by any 'stranger(s)', as the words of the "victors" suggest. Otherwise, Findley wouldn't have won with the highest senatorial votes in 2005 when in fact slogans I vividly remember being shouted at the time included "Son of the county's poor man's lawyer" ( in reference to his father Joseph Findley). Only a stranger begets a stranger and that poor man lawyer's son who the county still hails till now is a Bassonian and so his off springs, including the former Pro Temp. This speaks to why I will leave this part to deter those claiming to "regaining their county".

The Liberty Party's utterance of "regaining their county" (chanted during its weekend ceremony) is not only divisive but threatens any healing and reconciliatory process in the county. As a matter, the Party's 'hint-throwing' political style of "victory march" held last weekend was very meaningless.

Turning to the other side, threats of non-compliance, 'folded arms' and support withdrawals from youth and student communities attitudes would only show that we are deeply hurt by the choice of the people of the county; the same people who overwhelmingly entrusted nine years of leadership to the former Pro Temp. Thankfully, the former Pro Temp himself promises to continue his work in the county despite the people's decision to replace him. That is what true patriots do!  

Let it be known that Grand Bassa existed even before any of us Bassonians were born. (The county's existence dates back to the 1800's when the entire country was being formed which makes the county one of three original counties of the First Republic in Africa). So, before us was Grand Bassa and after us will be Grand Bassa.

There have been no losers resulting from the just-ended Grand Bassa County Mid-term Senatorial election! All parties are winners. Let those who favored the former Pro Temp's continuity abandon their 'non-compliance' anticipated mode as such can in no way benefit the one and only county they have come to know since birth. Similarly, let those who supported the Liberty Party candidate desist now from the perception that they alone won and others lost and that they have "regained their county".

As a matter of fact, the county was never taken away from anybody but rather the same divisive politics in the interest of political ambitions of so-called big guns has been the only thing that may have taken the county away from the owners. And those owners are the Bassonians, who are now struggling to pay their kids' school fees because of the effects the Ebola crisis has on the country's already generally struggling economy.

The real owners of the county are those who turned out in mass last January to celebrate the county's double National County Meet victories in the football and basketball categories. The real owners are those who remained in the county during the height of Liberia’s 14 years of civil war and endured hardships coming from all the warring factions. 

With the above stated, it's now time for a Grand Bassa Unification fanfare; one that will not only be ceremonial but that will truly live out its true meaning.

Like we crafted in our National County Meet Slogan when we were privileged to serve our dear county via its Mobilization Committee, Grand Bassa will defeat 'Division and Hatred' and these backward devilish and anti-developmental elements will be made shame, as produced in the unique Bassa dialect as follows: "A Mu Wa Badian, Deh Wu Ya Yun" ('We will beat them; they will be shame').

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nat Bayjay is a Media Consultant/ Communication specialist who hails from Grand Bassa County and was very instrumental in his County's recent County Meet Glory when he served as the media specialist on the Sundaygar Dearboy-led Mobilization Committee. Doubling as a PUL Best Investigative & Best Environmental Journalist in 2011, Bayjay uses his journalistic profession to always highlight national and local issues in the country, including political, economical and socio issues through in-depth articles and news analyses.

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