Meet The Youngest Candidate Looking To Become Bong County’s Next Senator
Gbarnga, Bong County – Prince Kollie is building the foundation for his senatorial campaign right where he played with his friends as a child.
Interview by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Sunday, he shook hands with people in Jorquelleh district, letting those in the area know he is setting his sights on the vacant Senate seat.
Kollie believes those critics who consider him unqualified as a candidate for Senate should give him a chance.
A graduate of Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County, Kollie is the youngest senatorial candidate in this year’s election at 35 years old. He thinks he age puts him at an advantage.
Kollie is battling CDC candidate Marvin Cole, who is also the sitting representative of electoral district three; former Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpa, former legislative contestant in district three Orando Zarwolo and former Budget Analyst of Bong Couny, Fairnoh Gbilah.
At 35, Kollie brings a young face to this election. FrontPage Africa caught up with him to talk about his life and politics.
FrontPage Africa: What inspired you to run for political office at such a young age?
Prince Kollie: I have been in youth leadership for a while and have interacted with many young people nationally, regionally and internationally.
The hunger of young people to participate in these spaces is evidently clear but there are also many stifling and frustrating obstacles. I decided to move away from the rhetoric of demanding youth participation and engagement to actually doing something about it.
This is also with the hope that I will birth the seed of serious youth participation in political processes where it matters.
FrontPage Africa: The older generation believes young people have no place in the field that you are going into? What do you think qualifies you to be that young person?
Prince Kollie: That assertion is untruth and really doesn’t hold any water! The truth of the matter is that young people have been disenfranchised and disempowered for far too long. They have been abused and exploited because they are not in decision-making positions.
The participation of youths in decision-making is an urgent matter of national socio-economic justice and should thus be treated with the urgency it deserves. Politics is about representation, so who can better represent the interests of young people than young people themselves.
That being said it is my will to speak out for my generation, regardless of the blocks, my patriotism and my passion to see all people, young and old living fulfilling lives that qualify me to be that young person.
FrontPage Africa: What do you have to offer the Bong County you want to represent?
Prince Kollie: For too long people have been taken for granted by politicians, who are voted in but never return to the people. Prince Kollie is guaranteed that they have a senator who will restore genuine representation that involves them, is accountable and accessible to them and above all transparent. They can also harness my youthful innovation, energy and creativity in addressing the issues that are before us as a constituency.
FrontPage Africa: You claimed that you hail from Lower Bong and the information is that that area has chosen Fairnoh Gbilah as consensus candidate. What’s your thought about that?
Prince Kollie: No one can defeat me in Lower Bong. Assertions that Fairnoh Gbilah is the consensus candidate of Lower Bong are a misrepresentation of the reality.
I am the single most popular candidate in Lower Bong and it will be manifested on the day of voting.
FrontPage Africa: Contesting against the likes of Marvin Cole, the CDC candidate is something that should be a concern to you because of the ‘Jewel Howard-Taylor’ factor. What’s your fear?
Prince Kollie: Bong County is no man’s land. I trust the people of Bong County and I know the Vice President’s influence won’t be a deciding factor in the senatorial by-election.
FrontPage Africa: Your message to the electorate ahead of the by-election?
Prince Kollie: Bong County is greater than our individual interests and partisan interests. Let us remember that Bong is what brings us together as a county.
Let’s rally together. In exercising our democratic right to vote let’s remember that we may differ in ideologies and perceptions but we remain Bongese (citizens of Bong). Let us vote in tranquil peace.
FrontPage Africa: Your message to other young Liberians
Prince Kollie: God has Liberia at heart and he is planning a major resurgence of our great county. At the center of that change is young people whom God is developing now.
Let us not abrogate our responsibility to Liberia as a nation because it is this generation, our generation that will take Liberia into its next glorious chapter.
Let us participate and let us not be afraid to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to the table.