Liberia: Mixed Reactions over Deputy Speaker Prince Moye’s Senate Bid in Bong County
Gbarnga, Bong County – The Senate ambition of Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye continues to face scrutiny from residents of Bong County with many describing his bid as “unnecessary and greedy”.
Moye, who was elected for a second term in 2017 as representative of electoral District #2, has three years left on his current tenure.
In 2018, Moye criticized the decision of his colleague Marvin Cole, lawmaker of District Three, to contest for a vacant Senate position in Bong County created by the ascendancy of Jewel Howard-Taylor as Vice President in 2017.
Cole contested against Moye’s longtime ally and “political godfather,” Dr. Henrique Tokpa – who would go on to win as Senator, replacing Howard-Taylor.
During that election, Moye campaigned that Cole’s desire to seek a Senate seat was “unnecessary”. Moye said Cole’s election would have cost the country a huge sum of money for the conduct of another by-election.
During that election, Moye bombarded Cole with similar criticism he now faces himself.
“I don’t see the reason why my colleague Cole is contesting for the Senate position. In my mind, it is not timely. In fact, it’s unnecessary because it would cost the country huge sums of money to replace his vacant representative position in the district if he won as senator,” Moye said during his appearance on a local radio station in Gbarnga back in 2018.
Now, justifying his decision to contest the Senate race scheduled for December 8, Moye claims that there are “unnecessary and “necessary by-elections”.
He said he has been under pressure from residents of the county to contest the election because “there is no one capable of defeating incumbent Senator Henry Yallah, whose tenure is five months away.
Moye said there are lot of things he wants to do for the county and cannot achieve that dream as a district representative.
“I have been doing a lot for my district since my election in 2011 and I intend to replicate similar development across the county,” Moye told Super Bongese, a local radio station in Gbarnga.
In fact, some of Deputy Speaker Moye’s loyalists are defending his decision to contest, stating that the CDC-led government of George Weah supported sitting legislators to contest legislative elections.
“Saah Joseph was a sitting lawmaker when he contested the Monsterrado County by-election in 2018 and was endorsed by the government,” said Prince Bedell, a resident of Gbarnga.
Peter Forkpa, another supporter of Moye, said the Deputy Speaker has his constitutional right to contest despite his comments on by-election.
“Rep. Moye should be allowed to contest despite what he had said against sitting lawmakers contesting legislative election. Though I have problems with his position as Deputy Speaker and wants to contest, it’s his constitutional right,” he said.
“Moye is greedy”
But their defense has met stiff resistance from potential voters like Thomas Peters, a resident of Panta District.
Peters says though the Deputy Speaker has his Constitutional right to contest, his ambitions could bring division among people of the county.
Peters made specific reference to the way supporters of Moye and Yallah are throwing invectives at each other on social media to market their aspirants, a situation he blamed on the deputy speaker’s decision to contest the Senate race.
“Moye’s ambition has brought serious division among residents of the county who support his bid on one hand and those who support Senator Yallah on another hand. I strongly believed this could never have been the case had Moye not declared his intention to contest,” he said.
Peters promised to campaign against the election of Moye to set a precedent that leaders of the county should be pleased with whatever position they were elected to serve.
Beatrice Kollie, a resident of District Two, described Moye as an “overly ambitious person” seeking a Senate seat for his own interest rather than the county’s.
Kollie wondered why Moye has not accomplished as deputy speaker that he hopes to achieve as senator, adding that the position of Deputy Speaker gives Moye an oversight of the entire county that can enable him to develop the county.
“I think he is not being fair to us as residents of his district. What has he not done as deputy speaker that he can do as Senator of the county? I think he is being greedy,” she said.
“Moye served as chairman on Ways, Means and Finance in the 53rd National Legislature, a lucrative position that could have benefited Bong County at that time, but Bong County still remains the way it is.”
Like Kollie, Sekou Kamara, a resident of Gbarnga, has vowed not to support Moye’s Senate bid.
His election would create a similar by-election to the one he preached two years ago when Cole was contesting as senator, he said.
“What is good for Paul should also be good for John. The deputy spoke against by-election two years ago then why does he want to create another bye-election?” He asks.
“In fact, his election as senator of Bong County could result to two bye-elections: one in his district and another for the position of deputy speaker, something that will cost the government more money.”
Derick Jones, a student of Totota Lutheran High School and a resident of Electoral District 6, says Moye’s bid for the Senate is about seeking a longer tenure of nine years rather than “developing Bong County.”
He urged residents to oppose Moye as his quest would undermine unity among members of the Bong County Legislative caucus.
With these assertions clamoring against Mr. Moye, political observers say Moye must now convince residents of the county who have given him the nickname “greedy hunter” in order to market his ambition for the Senate.