Liberia: Brownie Samukai Emerges as CPP Candidate in Lofa County ahead of December 8 Senate Race
Voinjama, Lofa County – Former defense minister Brownie Samukai has been picked as the candidate of the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) in Lofa County, FrontPageAfrica has gathered. Samukai was preferred to the party’s vice chair, Cole Bangalu, following consultations with members and stakeholders from both within and outside of the party in the country.
Bangalu, in his reactions to Samukai preferment posted on his Facebook page, saying: “I tearfully disagreed with the party, but as a vice chair, I must accept.”
However, District Four lawmaker Mariamu Fofana and one of the longest-serving members of Unity Party in the county had earlier resigned to join ranks with the All Liberian Coalition Party. She cited “personal reasons” behind her decision.
It is still unclear whether Bangalu will contest the Senate race against Samukai, but the same can’t be said about Fofana, who has made she will contest as ALCOP candidate.
Samukai, in his acceptance speech, expressed optimism of winning of the December 8 senatorial elections in Lofa County. “This is just the beginning of the many great things ahead. My support in Lofa is growing everywhere – from district to district. There have been tons of endorsements coming from just everywhere of the county,” he said.
Lofa – a Unity Party county?
The outcome of previous presidential elections in the county has attested to the fact that Lofa is the stronghold of Unity Party. During the 2005 presidential elections, Unity Party obtained 26, 875 votes, which amounted to 60. 2 per cent of the total votes compared to Congress for Democratic Change’s 17, 733, which amounted to 39.8 percent of the total votes.
Also, during the 2017 presidential elections, Unity Party obtained 79, 258 votes, amounting to 84 per cent of the votes, while President George Weah’s CDC secured 14, 860, which amounted to 15 percent of the total votes.
A popular journalist in Lofa, Arthur Korwah, thinks the acceptability of Unity Party in the county might become another albatross to the re-election effort of the senator. Korwah said Tengbeh appears to be in the toughest spot of all Coalition for Democratic Change candidates facing re-elections, and his defection to the ruling CDC appears to make matters difficult.
“Tengbeh is running for re-election in a county known to the stronghold of the Unity Party, so that’s a calculated political risk,” said journalist Korwah.
Odds favor Samukai?
As of yet, there are more than eight aspirants jostling for the Senate seat in the county. While each of the candidates brings credible antecedents, the odds appear to favor Samukai.
Samukai has been engaged in commendable activities across the county. He is extremely popular in Foya District, the largest district in the county with approximately 75,000 votes.
Though the incumbent senator George Tengbeh hails from the same place along with the three others who are said to be having interest in the race, Samukai seems to be the most popular aspirant in Foya as far as opinion polls are concerned.
One key factor that may play in Samukai favor is the fact that he has the financial wherewithal to pursue his political ambition given the fact that finance remains a critical factor in the nation’s political sphere.
To a large extent, Samukai is expected to count on the popularity of the political leader of Unity Party, Joseph Boakai, who is regarded as the “face” of Lofa County politics.