Liberia: Replacing Moye -Twenty Aspirants Jostling for District Two By-election in Bong

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Gbarnga, Bong County — Politics is in the air in Bong’s District Two. No fewer than 20 aspirants are jostling to replace the district’s former representative Prince Moye, who won as senator in the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial elections.

Since the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced April 27 as the date for the by-election, the political atmosphere in the district has received fresh vigor.

Expectedly, the timetable released by NEC has triggered a flurry of candidates with likely contenders showing interest in the race. FrontPageAfrica has gathered that Moye has reportedly identified his former Chief of Office Staff, Joshua Better, as his successor.

FrontPageAfrica now weighs in on the strengths and weaknesses of some of those expected to contest the by-election.

Sayblee Weyea: As secretary general of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), a constituent party to the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Weyea will be hoping to contest on the party ticket when party nominations get underway. Weyea’s major strength is his character and sense of purpose as a young man hailing from the district with enough exposure to tackle the developmental needs of the district.

His age is an advantage for him as young voters who form the bulk of District Two seem to want someone as their own as representative.

Weakness: He doesn’t have the required financial muscle to prosecute ambition. And he doesn’t have a political structure of his own in the district.

James Saybay: As the current chair of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) in Bong, Saybay will be hoping to contest on the CPP ticket as candidate. But he faces a challenge from Edward Gboe, who’s likely to represent Liberty Party, another party making up the CPP.

The by-election in District Two will be the fourth time Saybay will be contesting for an elective position in Bong.

In 2011, he debuted his political ambition in District Two as representative candidate and lost to Moye. In 2014, he contested for the position of senator and lost to former senator and now Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and in 2017 he contested in District Three for the representative slot and lost to Marvin Cole.

Strength: For Saybay, his major strength is the political relationship he has cultivated over the years. He has friends in the the three political parties in CPP both at local and national levels. There are many politicians who may feel indepted to him like Senator Moye whom he supported during the December 8 Special Senatorial elections, and many of them – with the exception of Moye who has reportedly endorsed Better – seem ready to reward his friendship by supporting him.

Weakness: Saybay’s major weakness is his inconsistency by jumping from one party to the other in a bid to realize his political ambition. Since 2011, Saybay, chairman of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Bong chapter, has changed three political parties – Liberty Party in 2011 and All Liberian Party (ALP).

Political pundits believe this would cost him the needed support as those core supporters of those parties he has left say the beginning of his political career seem not to stand by him.

Jerry Kollie: Kollie has been a loyal political friend to Senator Moye but he may be disappointed by the lawmaker’s reported decision to endorse Better at his expense. Like many of those contesting in the district, Kollie is said to have played a major part in making More senator in 2020. How he copes with his bid without Moye remains to be seen.

Strength: Kollie, a native of Mortar Clan pushing for power shift in the district,  is a forceful character who is not a push-over in the politics of the district. His modest achievements in the district over the years would be a reference point for him when campaign begins.

Weakness: Kollie has always been painted as an arrogant political by opposition elements and that toga seems to have stuck even if there is very little proof to back the claims. Also, Kollie’s popularity in his clan of origin seems to be a weak line. He doesn’t seem to enjoy massive support by residents of the clan, something that could dent his chances of becoming representative.

Jefferson Blackie: He’s a victim of Moye’s political trickery. At an elaborate program in 2011, Blackie surrounded his political ambition to Moye with an agreement that he would have been chosen as Moye’s successor during the end of Moye’s two-term as representative. 

Strength:  An erudite lawyer and a native of Samay, Blackie is popular with some traditional leaders of the district. He hopes to leverage on this to be lawmaker of the district. Blackie has been engaging stakeholders in the district for the district for the last few months, assuring them that he would sustain the legacy of Moye, if elected.

Weakness: It’s unclear whether the lawyer is popular enough in the district to win the by-election.

Matthew Siakor:  Siakor is a protege of the late Hezekiah Siakor, a former aspirant for District Two who died in months to the election in 2017. Siakor contested and finished third amassing over 3,000 votes. 

Strength: He has the ears of some youths in the district mainly from his native Samay. Siakor hopes to leverage on his late uncle’s popularity in combination with former Bong County senator Franklin Siakor, who is said to have endorsed his bid for representative.

Weakness: He doesn’t have the finance to execute his ambition.

Joshua Better: Better has reportedly gotten the nod of his boss, Moye. Moye reportedly unveiled Better to his team at a recent retreat in Gbarnga. Better has served Moye as Chief of Office Staff for the last night years and will be hoping that his boss will be on the campaign trail with him to reward him for his service to him over the years.

Strength: With Moye by his side, Better seems to stand a better chance of replacing his boss.

Weakness: Even in Moye’s circle the agitations of his endorsement for better is glaring. Better, insiders say, can’t be a better replacement for Moye given the likes of qualified people in the race. Besides, Better, a native of Seanshue Clan, has more aspirants contesting the race which could be a minus for him. Even more worse for him is the emergence of his brother, Joe Better. Better would obviously divide the votes in the clan.

Edward Gboe: His first attempt at politics in 2017 was futile as he lost to Marvin Cole in the race for electoral District Three. If the election in District Two were about qualification Gboe would win unopposed. Of all the aspirants, Gboe, according to many in the district, is qualified and prepared for the job.

Strength: After a futile attempt in 2017, Gboe, a native of Gbansiah Clan, is back with a bang and has demonstrated that by commissioning people-centered projects in the district. 

Representative-in waiting? Gboe’s major strength is the support he continues to garner in every nook and crannies of the district. Gboe has received mammoth endorsements from key stakeholders in his native Gbansiah Clan, an area agitating for power shift in the district. In fact, key political actors are planning to summon Moye over his reported decision to endorse Better over Gboe. Gboe’s major strength is in Gbarnga, a place that constitutes 60 percent of the voting population.

Weakness: Gboe’s major weakness is that he doesn’t have the finance to execute his ambition.

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