Saclepea, Nimba County – By no doubt, Nimba County is a major decision maker in presidential elections in Liberia.
The vote rich county comprises 17 districts with a population of over 462,026 (2008 population census), making it not only the second largest county but also the second most populated county in the country.
Gaining support from the county in post war elections in Liberia has been cardinal to deciding the fate of presidential candidates.
In 2005, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was catapulted to the presidency in a run-off with a massive win in Nimba over George Weah who won the first round by 8.5%.
President Sirleaf’s win in Nimba was orchestrated by Dr. Joseph Korto, a son of the soil, who campaign immensely to ensure her 77.1% against Weah’s 22.9%.
The presidential elections in 2011 presented similar scenario again in the favor of President Sirleaf.
Senator Prince Y. Johnson, known in Nimba as the godfather of the county, turned over the county to President Sirleaf after he came third in the presidential elections, leaving the race to Sirleaf and Winston Tubman who headed the CDC ticket in that election.
In the first round, Senator Johnson had 67.7%, Sirleaf got 25.2% and Tubman acquired only 2.8% of the votes in Nimba.
But the runoff was staged between Sirleaf and Tubman, but Tubman, feeling cheated in the first round, called on his supporters to boycott the runoff elections.
In Nimba, Sirleaf, after a vigorous campaign by Sen. Johnson acquired 96.7% in the county compared to Tubman’s 3%.
Liberty Party is poised to make Nimba its second stronghold, with Grand Bassa being the first. And through Nimba, it might capture southeastern Liberia with its new vice running mate.
In Saclepea, hundreds of partisans and supporters of the party gathered at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf City Hall for the announcement of the Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine’s running mate in the October elections.
Harrison Karnwea, a native of vote rich Nimba County, was selected vice standard bearer of the party which poses major challenge to the continuity of the ruling Unity Party from whence Karnwea came.
In the small but jammed packed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf City Hall in Saclepea City, the political leader of the party, Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine, standing before hundreds of partisans and supporters, said it was high time that Nimba produces a vice president and in this instance, according to him, Karnwea is the most suitable.
But Nimba produced two vice presidents – Enoch Dogolea and Moses Z. Blah. The latter became president of Liberia for a brief period of three months when President Taylor abdicated his seat for the sake of peace in 2003.
This decision, according to Brumskine, was the result of vigorous consultation with executive members of the party who carefully screened all options presented to them.
“At this point in time, it’s my pleasing duty to announce to you that Nimba County has been selected to produce the next Vice President of the Republic of Liberia.
It is therefore my honor to inform Liberia that the honorable Harrison Karnwea as my running mate,” Brumskine added.
In his rather brief remarks, Cllr. Brumkine said there can be no better vice president than Karnwea.
In his acceptance, Karnwea, who is so far the first announced running mate in the October presidential elections, said, “I see no ticket so unifying than our ticket that sends out a clear message that united we stand and divided we fall.
I see no ticket deserving victory than our ticket. I see no ticket that can be easily entrusted with the future of this country either than our ticket.
I see no ticket that sends out clear and loud message of peace, reconciliation, and unity than our ticket. In our ticket, I see a Liberia of the best and proper trajectory for progress and development.
On our ticket, I see giants and real warriors in the war to effectively minimize corruption. On our ticket, I see real patriots with the minds and hearts to put Liberia first.
On our ticket, I see a better future for the old and young Liberians no matter which village, town or quarter you find yourselves.
I can say that this ticket is indeed a vote magnet. That will attract the votes to push the Liberty Party to the leadership of this country of ours in these 2017 elections.”
Perfect Pick – Nimbaians
Reacting to Karnwea’s selection, natives of the county described Karnwea as one of the most influential Nimbaians who would attract citizens to the county to the Liberty Party.
Edith Kou Tokpa, a resident of Sanniquellie, said the Brumskine-Karnwea ticket would be the perfect combination in 2017 to ensure that Nimba produces a vice president.
Describing Karnwea as a humble character whose tenure as Superintendent of Nimba united the county, Edith said they would tour the nook and cranny of the county to ensure that Liberty Party wins the county.
Another Nimbian, Narlea Karkpo, said she was glad that the next vice president would come from Nimba in Karnwea.
“I am very much glad today that in Karnwea, I feel that our long -awaited dream in seeing one of our kinds becomes a vice president is coming to an end. We believe in Karnwea and by his selection today, we are grateful.”