Liberia: Winners and Losers of December 8 Senate Race in Bong County

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Gbarnga, Bong County – The December 8 Special Senatorial Election may have come and gone, but its outcome is likely to continue to haunt some key politicians in Bong County’s politics for a long time.

Apart from some residents of the county, whose pre-election loud voices may have been hushed by the deep pockets of politicians, there are politicians whose political fortune and relevance may have also been badly affected by the result of the poll which was won convincingly by Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, who won all seven of the political districts in the county.

The result, as announced by the National Election Commission, has reflected a clear deviation from the expectations of many who had predicted a keenly contested ‘two-horse race’ between the incumbent senator of the Congress for Democratic Change, Henry Yallah and the candidate of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Prince Moye.

The wide gap in the votes recorded by Moye and Yallah is still a shocker to many in the county who had predicted a narrow margin between the possible winner and the runner-up.

The result may have, therefore, deflated the ego of some of the politicians, who analysts had earlier predicted had the capacity to alter the scale of the poll’s outcome. 

Thus, with the outcome exposing their featherweight, the consequences may be grave for these politicians.

Leading the pack of this category of politicians is Rep. Marvin Cole of Bong’s District Three, who supported the incumbent senator, Rep. Junior Hills of District One, another supporter of the incumbent senator and Edward Karfiah, lawmaker of District Five, a long-time friend to the incumbent who reportedly bankrolled Yallah during the campaign.

With all the exciting events that characterized the December 8 Senate race in the county, heroes and villains have emerged.

FrontPage Africa weighs in on the winners and losers of the December 8 Senate race in Bong County.

Rep. Marvin Cole, District Three:

The fact of Rep Cole’s grassroots prominence, especially within the Gbarnga City area, had been seen as an asset.

This view is attested to by the story of his rise from City Major of Gbarnga to his emergence as a lawmaker in the 2017 representative election when he defeated two-term lawmaker George Mulbah. 

His political journey is also replete with records of political affiliation with current Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, whom he had worked with as Political Officer before becoming City Mayor of Gbarnga.

Considering how the lawmaker exuded ahead of the poll and the dirty fight with Moye, one would have expected a better outing for the District Three lawmaker, who served as campaign manager for the outgoing senator. 

Cole had promised to resign his post as representative if Moye wins his District. In District Three, Moye obtained 6,085 votes which constituted 44.09 of the votes compared to Yallah’s 5, 342 which amounted to 38.71 per cent.

For a lawmaker who had promised to resign if Yallah fails to win his district, failure to his district is a dent on his acclaimed popularity. For his followers, it was devastating to note that their lawmaker could not garner the deserving votes for Yallah in his own district.

Rep. Albert Hills, District One:

It is true that the lawmaker of District One, who supported the outgoing senator, was not on the ballot on December 8 but the poll was clearly a referendum on his waning popularity.

Hills and Yallah toured the nook and crannies of the district with an optimism of delivering the district to Yallah. But the result of the election may have finally buried Hills’ political relevance in the district.

Yallah’s loss in in Hills’ district made it two losses in a row for Hills, (2018 when he supported Henrique Tokpa and 2020 when he supported Yallah), a man whose life image had been painted ahead of the election.

But his associates in the district said rather than singling out his boss as a loser, the people of the district should be so regarded.

Edward Karfiah, lawmaker, District Five:

The loss of Yallah also translates to the loss of Karfiah because of the general sentiments among politicians in the county that the District Five lawmaker would do all in his power to ensure Yallah wins his district.

The results from Karfiah’s district sent a bad omen for the lawmaker’s popularity and highlighted that he wasn’t really involved with the election for his closest friend. In 2014, when Karfiah served as campaign manager for now Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, Karfiah, fresh from winning election in District Five as lawmaker, ensured that Howard-Taylor won his district with a wide margin.

But on December 8, the story in District Five changed as Moye won District Five with 7, 678 votes which amounted to 61, 01 per cent compared to Yallah’s 3,866 which amounted to 30. 76 per cent.

Coalition for Democratic Change:

The loss of Bong County to the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) is a big blow to the party because it means that a key county in Liberia has joined the broom of revolution. Regarded as a stronghold of the National patriotic Party, a constituent member of the ruling coalition.

The result of the election means the CPP is making inroads in the county. The result of the election is a blow to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and a boost to the CPP.

Winners of the December 8 election in Bong

Senator-elect Moye would still be in shock over his unexpected victory in the December 8 election. Moye and his team really worked hard and should be commended for his victory in the election.

He must now translate his campaign promises into practical development programs to take the county to the ‘next level’.

He received the support of the people of Bong County and defeated Yallah with a wide margin.

Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah, District Six:

Rep Briggs-Mensah would certainly count the positive outcome of the December 8 Senate election as one of her achievements. Though she was not on the ballot but the election turned out to be a proxy fight between she and Sonnie Yallah, the wife of Senator Yallah. With both hailing from the same district, it was expected that the district would have been a crunch contest between the two.

It would have been a disgrace on the political reputation of Briggs-Mensah had Yallah won. Happily, she has a victory song in her mouth.

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