barnga, Bong County - Angry youths of the All Liberian People Party (ALP) Bong County chapter on Thursday besieged the compound of Radio Gbarnga – a community radio station in Bong County - demanding their former chairman Emmanuel Lomax to restitute money he reportedly received from them as Identification card fees.
Lomax had gone to the station as guest of a morning talk show to raise more awareness for his official defection to the Liberty Party slated for Friday.
Lomax’s impending defection to the Liberty Party has been provoking fury and disappointment from Benoni Urey’s supporters in Bong County and an equal measure of delight from his supporters also in the county. Lomax, a native of Sanoyea District in lower Bong County and a two-time failed contestant of its legislative seat, few months ago broke ranks with Presidential hopeful Urey, citing personal problems.
As FrontPage Africa reported two weeks ago, tension brewed among supporters of the Liberty Party and the All Liberian Party since the standard bearer of the Liberty Party Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine unveiled Lomax two weeks ago at a program in Gbarnga as new recruits ahead of the 2017 Presidential and legislative elections.
Since then supporters of both parties have been trading invectives on community radio stations in the county.
And prior to Lomax’s Thursday appearance on Radio Gbarnga, FrontPage Africa had gathered that the ALP had reportedly paid people to disrupt Lomax’s official turning over program.
Disturbance at Radio Gbarnga
Immediately as the host of the morning show, Clarence Jackson announced that Lomax would be his guest on the show at 08: 30 am local time; a bevy of placard-wielding youths thronged the compound of the station and began disrupting normal activities.
Some of them demanded that the station discontinued the program with Lomax while others attempted throwing stones at the station’s premises to claim the management of the station attention. Efforts by staffers of the station to calm the protesting youths proved futile and the station was subsequently cut off.
The failure of the management to heed to the protesting youths’ demand prompted further disturbance by the youth, a situation that forced the management of the station to invite the presence of the police on the compound of the station.
ALP supporters threaten to disrupt Friday program
Fielding questions from journalists, the ALP supporters said their protest on the compound of Radio Gbarnga was just a glimpse of what to expect Friday when Lomax is expected to officially join the Liberty Party.
“Since Lomax is leaving our party, he should give our ID card money we give him one year ago or else we will disturb the program tomorrow at the administration building,” demanded Clarence Gaylor.
“Because we feel this is the right time to ask for our money. When we disturb tomorrow Cllr. Brumskine will know who Lomax really is,” he added.
Another partisan of ALP only identified as Joshua said Lomax’s refusal to pay their money will force them to disturb today.
Lomax not wary over protest
But despite threats of disruption of his official ceremony to join Liberty Party, Lomax said he was quite aware of the plans by the ALP and urged his supporters to turn out and grace the program.
“This is just a scare tactics designed by the Standard Bearer of the party Benoni Urey. I have said that I made the ALP popular and I am prepared to carry my followers to the Liberty Party.
The actions today by these young brothers of mine are not unconnected to Mr. Urey,” Lomax said.
Lomax further said that the youths’ action is a testament of their outrage and showed strength of his growing influence, particularly in Bong County.
‘Open arms' Unsurprisingly, Liberty Party supporters in Bong County found it hard to contain their joy when news of Lomax’s declaration of support to the party broke. Silas Tokpa, the Secretary General of Liberty Party Bong County chapter welcomed Mr. Lomax’s move.
"Everyone in Bong County knows Emmanuel Lomax is a highly effective politician whom we the citizens of Bong County have great respect for. He brings a lot to the party," he said. John Willie, chairman of Liberty Party Bong County chapter, told FrontPageAfrica: "I'm delighted our party managed to get Lomax."
"We respect him and know what he’s capable of doing. "I welcome him with open arms. He is clearly one of the most impressive and talented politicians not just in Bong County but Liberia," Willie said. He added that Lomax’s decision confirms that the ALP can no longer offer any solution to their quest of winning Bong County.
"Given Mr. Lomax’s influence in Bong County, it is a great joy that we have him on our side rather than the Unity Party or the ALP.”
Muslim council hails Lomax’s defection
The planned defection of Lomax to the Liberty Party has been hailed by the Bong County chapter of the Muslims Council as a giant step in the right direction.
Hailing Lomax’s move, Hajah Swaray, an elite member of the organization, noted that Lomax had always advocated and practiced the unique brand of progressive, forward looking and grassroots oriented politics that the ALP is well known for.
Madam Swaray, told journalists in Gbarnga Thursday, that Lomax’s “rejection of the parochial and oppressive policies of the Unity Party has placed him unwaveringly on the side of the people of his constituency.”
She further applauded Lomax for his “dynamic and people oriented leadership style”, noting the numerous constituency projects and welfare schemes he has initiated, particularly in his native Sanoyea District to provide assistance for youths, women, farmers and the physically challenged members of society of the district.
“We sincerely urge him to continue in his progressive and compassionate activities and endeavors while pledging unflinching support for his future political aspirations in the present and upcoming dispensations,” Madam Swaray said.