Liberia: Ruling Party Establishing Firm Base in Unity Party’s Stronghold – Lofa County
Voinjama, Lofa County – During the 2017 general and presidential elections, Lofa County was the only county that overwhelmingly voted the former ruling Unity Party and its standard-bearer, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai.
During the first round of the 2017 elections, the standard-bearer of the Unity Party obtained 91,324 votes representing 78.5% of the total valid votes cast in Lofa County with the Congress for Democratic Change getting just 8,194 votes about 7.0%.
In the runoff which was contested between Boakai and Weah, things did not improve for the CDC with the Unity Party getting 79,258 votes representing 84.2% and the CDC getting 14,860 votes or 15.8%.
The results from the runoff indicated that Lofa was the only county where the Unity Party and its standard-bearer defeated the CDC massively, while the remaining fourteen counties were all won by the CDC.
Statistics indicated that the votes from Lofa contributed hugely to the election reaching a runoff.
With the 2020 midterm senatorial election nearing and 2023 general and presidential elections not far away, it seems the ruling CDC is making frantic efforts to reduce the wide gap between the support for the Unity Party and the CDC in Lofa County.
In recent months, officials from the CDC hailing from Lofa County have been frequenting back home and building strong political bases in what looks like a clever political game plan.
Prominent amongst those making headways in Lofa County are Monrovia City Corporation Mayor, Jefferson T. Koijee and Montserrado County lawmaker Thomas Fallah.
Koijee made his presence known or rejuvenated his presence in Lofa County during the 2019/2020 edition of the National County Sports Meet, where he attended all the group stage games played by Lofa County in Voinjama and up to Monrovia became one of the highest donors to the county teams.
The CDC official was seen everywhere with the Lofa County football team and even took them to hotels and other places for lunch as a sign of motivation for the team.
After the National County Sports Meet, Koijee and Fallah have now taken Lofa County as a place for weekends where they are building strong bases in Foya and other parts of the county.
A youth group has already been established by Koijee in the County, which is being used to carry out massive mobilization for the CDC Youth League chairman every time he pays a visit to the county.
At the same time, the two CDC officials are forming smaller groupings in support of the CDC and holding meetings with chiefs, elders and other prominent citizens of the county.
One resident of Foya confided in FrontPageAfrica that Representative Fallah is opening all the major streets and alleys in Foya much to the admiration of citizens from Foya. Some citizens say Fallah is doing what UP’s political leader, Boakai did not do during the 12 years reign of the Unity Party.
According to sources, Representative Fallah during multiple meetings with chiefs and elders promised that he would ensure that President George Weah pays a visit to the county very soon for the President to assure the people that he is interested in carrying out major development projects that will benefit the people.
Some chiefs and elders are said to have embraced the idea of the county moving away from the belief that it is only the Unity Party that should be supported with some saying what they want is development and not political loyalty that will yield no dividend.
Representative Fallah is said to have constructed a private resident in Foya, which is now convincing the people that he loves the county.
Besides constructing a private resident, the CDC lawmaker is also said to be engaged in multiple initiatives in Foya and other parts of Lofa County which is getting him many followers.
Representative Fallah recently launched a program in honor of the late Eugene Fallah Kparkar who was a very popular youthful politician in the district and died while serving as a lawmaker on the ticket of the Liberty Party.
Followers of the late Representative Kparkar, according to sources, have taken to Representative Fallah and the CDC lawmaker is using “foot soldiers” of the late Kparkar to make himself a central figure in Foya and other parts of Lofa County.
Since the death of Representative Kparkar, no young politician has taken the mantle to woo the voters from the district.
Political game plan
Political observers believe that no matter how strong the Unity Party remains in Lofa County, the strong push by Koijee and Fallah could make a significant impact for the CDC in Lofa County thereby diminishing the popularity of the Unity Party and its Standard Bearer, Boakai in the county.
Such a move could likely reduce to a larger extent the wide margins of support between the CDC and the Unity Party as shown by the results of the 2017 general and presidential elections.
The CDC Lofa headache could be solved with such early move by officials of the CDC hailing from Lofa County.
With the Unity Party now at the helm of political power to enable the party to match the financial strength of the CDC to make an impact in Lofa County, the UP is at risk of having its popularity reduced in Lofa County by the CDC.