Gbarnga, Bong County – Regional and tribal politics has played a big part on the 2017 presidential and legislative elections in Liberia.
One regional politics that has been high is that of the central region politics. Supporters of Vice President Joseph Boakai have been using the traditional politics of Lofa County to prevail on the people from Bong and Margibi Counties to support the Boakai-Nuquay ticket.
According to them, the Boakai-Nuquay ticket presents the best option for the central region to produce the next president should the current Unity Party ticket succeed.
With Bong County now believed to be one of the deciders in the runoff election, the two political parties, Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Unity Party (UP), are strongly rallying for Bong votes, but one defining moment of the campaign is the ambition by the people of Bong County to for the first time produce an elected vice president.
Citizens say with the 10 per cent vote difference between the CDC and the UP during the first round of voting, Jewel’s CDC has the clearest chance and the people of Bong see this as the best opportunity for the county to produce the first democratically elected vice president of the county.
The citizens told FrontPage Africa that it was time that it is high the county rally behind the CDC to ensure Bong gets its first vice president.
Amos Barbu, a resident of Gbarnga, told FrontPage Africa Thursday, “This is the best chance we have as a county to have a vice president as a county,” he said.
Many key supporters of Vice President Boakai in Bong have been pushing the tribal card of a Kpelle presidency with the ambition that Speaker Nuquay is the apparent heir to Vice President Boakai in the case of a Unity Party presidential victory.
For people like Senator Henry Yallah, the Kpelle people should combine forces and support the Boakai-Nuquay ticket as the beginning of getting Nuquay, a kpelle to the presidency in the future.
It now appears that the politics of producing a Kpelle vice president with the hope of getting a Kpelle president is not convincing the people of Bong, who believe with Jewel, the county has a better chance than a Nuquay.
Kusee Armstrong, a youth leader of Bong County also told FrontPage Africa: “Senator Taylor has an impeccable record for working for Bong County and I think when she is elected vice president, Bong County will benefit than a Emmanuel Nuquay as vice president.
Another youth leader of Bong, Kunan Vesseley, told FrontPageAfrica that Senator Taylor’s vice presidency would attract a lot to Bong County than Nuquay, whom he claimed has not done much for Bong over the years.
The situation seems to be putting the odds of winning Bong County again in favor of the CDC ahead of the runoff election slated for November 7, 2017.
In the first round of election, the CDC accumulated 61,520 or 40.6 per cent, while the Unity Party finished second in the county with 51, 536 or 34.0 per cent from the total 163,000 people who registered to vote from the 201,508 registered voters in the county.
Instead of concentrating on reducing the 9,000 votes deficit it trails the CDC, the Unity Party is embroiled in serious internal wrangling, while those who supported the party during the first round of election are poised to declare for the CDC.
The level of fragmentation within the ranks and files of the Unity Party in Bong County continues to increase with future political ambitions of senior UP officials making things difficult for the party at the moment.
Senator Henry Yallah, who, from all indications, has grown unpopular feels his re-election quest is in jeopardy with Representative Prince Moye emerging as one of the early favorites for the senatorial seat which will be up for grasp in 2020, about three years from now.
Sources say current Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpah is also eying the seat but it is highly unlikely for Moye to contest if Dr. Tokpa should decide to contest.
Moye and Dr. Tokpa are very close and some say Moye might be pushing to protect the interest of Dr. Tokpa against incumbent Senator Yallah.
Instead of fighting the battle at hand, the Unity Party campaign in Bong County has been hindered by personal interest and differences.
It seems difficult how the Unity Party will try to settle all these individuals’ differences existing between its members and at the same time campaign in a county it lost to the CDC during the first round of polling.
Unity Party is facing the problem of personal ego versus party success in Bong County and the coming few weeks to the runoff will be a make or break for the party in the central vote rich county.