Liberia: Sen. Zargo Faces Backlash From Lofians over “Divisive” Kpelle Comments

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Voinjama, Lofa County – Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo is facing a growing public backlash from residents of the county over comments he made against a member of the Kpelle tribe becoming senator of the county in 2023.

Appearing on Radio Kintoma, a local radio station in Voinjama, the Liberty Party senator said: “Gbarpolu County has one senator who’s a Kpelle man; the two senators in Margibi County are Kpelle people, while the two senators in Bong County are also Kpelle people. Then a Kpelle man wants to become a senator in Lofa County 2023,” he said.

Sen. Zargo, a member of the Lorma ethnic group, said though Kpelle is one of six tribes in the county, it would be a “huge loss” for “a kpelle man to become senator of Lofa County”.

“Kpelle is one of the six tribes in Lofa County, and the Lorma is the largest of those tribes. Next is the Gbandi. How can a kpelle man dislodge a Lorma senator in his own county?”

Sen. Zargo’s comments have drawn shock and condemnation from residents of the county, along with calls for him to apologize to residents of the county.

Jerry Forkpa, a resident of Lofa’s Zorzor District, said: “I don’t blame Sen. Zargo at all. We voted him based on political solidarity which ascended him to that House, now that he has nothing to offer the Kpelleh ethnic group but rather to publicly redicule us. He has invited problems for himself ahead of the 2023 elections,” he said.

“Kpelle is one of the six tribes in Lofa County, and the Lorma is the largest of those tribes. Next is the Gbandi. How can a kpelle man dislodge a Lorma senator in his own county?”

– Senator Steve Zargo, Lofa County

Laminee Toure, of Voinjama District, said: Sen. Zargo, this clearly shows that you’re a one-time senator. I can understand your frustrations because your nine years of failed leadership is coming to an end and you have no choice but to revert to making statements against the Kpelle people. Don’t worry, your reward will be in 2023 when a Kpelle man, Moses Kollie, who has done so well for his people will replace you.”

Emmanuel Cooper, a resident of Zorzor District, said: “Politically, Senator Zargo seems to be confused, and he has nothing to offer to the peaceful citizens of Lofa County, but rather to divide us before he can leave the House of Senate. This is a clear manifestation that Senator Zargo has failed the people of Lofa County and he has to be replaced in 2023.”

Re-election Odds against Sen Zargo?

The 2023 presidential and general elections are fast approaching. In Lofa County, the Senate election will be keenly contested. 

The incumbent Sen. Zargo will fight the battle of his life, indications have shown. There are many odds against his re-election bid. For those who have been watching the political developments in the county since the senator assumed the position, they may rightly or wrongly conclude that the senator has made costly political blunders. 

These errors may likely haunt him and stop his re-election bid. Politically speaking, the senator has shot himself in the foot, according to many residents of the county. His recent statement against members of the Kpelle tribe in the county could compound his woes, with many threatening to campaign against him in 2023. In fact, in Lofa County’s District Five, comprising of Salayea and Zorzor (mostly Kpelle and Lorma ethnic groups), which has a voting population of over ten thousand inhabitants, could vote against Sen. Zargo over his latest comments.

The Thomas Fallah and Jeff Koijee factor

Over the last few years, Monsterrado County Senator Thomas Fallah and Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee have helped changed the image of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in Lofa County.

From playing key roles in constructing a youth center in Voinjama to constructing a gigantic town hall in Foya District, Fallah and Koijee appear to be changing the dynamics of the politics in Lofa County in the ruling party’s favor.

Political pundits believed if the ruling supports a senatorial candidate in Lofa County in 2023 – preferably two-term former District Five lawmaker Moses Kollie – Sen. Zargo could be on his way out because of Mr. Kollie’s growing influence in the county.

Worth mentioning is the number of abandoned projects in virtually all the districts in the county. local governments of the state. Besides sponsoring 11 students at the Lofa County Community College who have completed their studies, the county cannot boost of any completed projects since he became senator in 2014.

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