Suakoko, Bong County – Renowned land right advocate Silas Siakor told hundreds of supporters in Bong County District #5 over the weekend that he would give them a leadership never seen before if they replace their current lawmaker by electing him in October.
A spokesman for the incumbent said Representative Edward Karfiah would only respond via the ballot box on the day of election.
Siakor is one of more than a dozen candidates going against Representative Karfiah for the Bong County District #5 seat.
The launch of his campaign began with a parade throughout the district, with his supporters chanting slogans and carrying banners with inscription “Our future is now”.
“On the campaign trail, I am constantly reminded that our people deserve a leadership that believes in equity and Justice,” he told a crowd of supporters on a soccer pitch in Suakoko, “a leadership that does not seek to put their personal interest above the interest of the public, a leadership that does not seek to put one group above the other; and a leadership that treats everyone fairly and justly.”
Siakor said he came with a wealth of experience in advocacy that took him to the Legislature to rally its support on the passage of people-centered laws.
“For 15 years, I critiqued government policies and practices,” he went on to say.
“For 15 years I challenged different governments to do better. From President Charles Taylor, to President Gyude Brayant and now President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf – I challenged them to use the resources of this country to improve the living conditions of our people; I challenged them to ensure that the wealth of our country benefits all,” he said.
Siakor resigned his position as lead campaigner at Sustainable Development Institute he founded to focus on his political career.
Before then he won the Goldman Environmental Prize for Outstanding Environmental Achievements in Africa in 2006 and other prestigious accolades for his advocacy.
“I am already championing the interest of our people and representing them while on the outside. I have engaged members of the House of Senate and the House of Representatives, appeared at various hearings, and made inputs to various legislative debates. None of the others in this race have that experience.
“I am already mobilizing resources from the international community to improve the situation of our people."
"I have the ability to bring significant donor resources directly to District #5,” he added."
"He referenced a local effort, the Ka Paa Kwa Geh Development Association that has erected a community radio station and established a promising village saving and loan scheme with a turnover of over LD$2 million in the last two years.
Accompanied by his family, including his wife Marlay Siakor and brother Franklin Siakor (former Senator of Bong County), Siakor told the crowd he would use his network of professionals with whom he worked while still a civil society actor to inform decisions that he would make him an exemplary lawmaker if elected to the 54th Legislature.
“To advocate for or make good laws or policies, you need informed analysis backed by deep reflections, and a desire to advance the public’s interest.
Over the years, I have built a strong network of lawyers and legal experts, development practitioners, social scientists, economists, agronomists, and social justice campaigners across Liberia, Africa and the world. I will put that network to work for District 5.
“For the first time in Liberia’s history, you will see a Representative whose political position will be informed and backed by expert analysis – not by sentiments, not by deception, and not by falsehood.”
But the Chief of Staff in the offices of Representative karfiah said the Bong lawmaker was confident that he would retain his seat.
The issue of elections lies with the electorate. No matter how confident you think you are, which type of rhetoric you think you can use, the final judgment lies in the hands of the electorate,” Lincoln Klemin told FrontPage Africa.
“In the case of District #5, Bong County, the work we have done for the past five and a half years now will speak for us.”
Klemin said a lot happened during the administration of Representative Karfiah, and said the Bong lawmaker could not do all.
He named the autonomous agency status of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI), scholarship for students across the district and the construction of mini hydropower plant on the Kpatawee Waterfall as some of the developments.