Liberia: Former Bomi County Senator Lahai Lansanah is Dead

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Monrovia – Mr. Lahai Gbabye Lansanah, a former Senior Senator from Bomi County has died.

Mr. Lansanah was elected to the lower house of the legislature during the 2005 general elections on the ticket of the National Patriotic Party. Six years later, he ran on the ticket of the then ruling Unity Party.

Mr. Lansanah sought a second stint as Senator when he contested in the December 20, 2014 Midterm Senatorial elections but lost a controversial race to Morris Saytumah.

The loss proved to be a bitter pill to swallow for Lansanah. At the time, Alex Tyler came under fire and was accused of manipulating elections workers to influence the outcome of the election in the hometown of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Lansanah, who protested the results, was arrested along with his wife following clashes between supporters of the two camps.

Mr. Lansanah refused to concede defeat when the National Election Commission (NEC) announced that he had been beaten by Cllr. Saytumah.

“On November 6, 2015, in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, I announced to the people that indeed I have made a return to the Unity Party,” former Bomi County Senator Lahai Gbagba Lansanah has disclosed in Monrovia.

The pronouncement by former ranking Senator Lansanah comes in the wake of mass exodus of lawmakers and political leaders from the ruling party. 

Mr. Lansanah, who ran on the ticket of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), was defeated by Unity Party candidate Morris G. Saytumah, but refused to concede defeat. He was arrested along with his wife and others, brought to Monrovia and detained at the Liberia National Police (LNP) headquarters.

Speaker Tyler, who was linked to the arrests, denied the accusation saying he did not have the authority as Speaker of the House to order the arrest of any citizen as alleged by supporters of Senator Lansanah.

In an interview in Monrovia yesterday, the former Chairman of Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration said he was returning to the Unity Party in fulfillment of the 2011 merger involving the Liberia Action Party (LAP), of which he was a member, the Liberia Unification Party (LUP) and UP, adding that “besides, things and those who became hurdles to my association with UP are no longer around…it’s time I go back home.”

As someone “who believes in institution”, Lansanah said he decided to return to UP in spite of the ill treatments he suffered there. “I went back there because I know I came from LAP, which together with LUP and UP merged during the 2011 elections,” he added.

Lansanah said the departure of Speaker Alex Tyler and other members of the party is like creating avenue for good people to come in.

“If you spend close to ten or twelve years in UP, and decided to leave and go to another party, you will meet people there who want positions that you have abandoned your party for,” said Lansanah.

He said it was just a matter of time before Speaker Tyler decides to leave the party he just helped to establish.

On the question of whether he harbors future ambitions for a return to legislative politics, Mr. Lansana said the future indeed will decide.

He said the citizens of Bomi are proud that their daughter is president of the country and will always cherish that achievement. 

Since his return to UP, Lansanah said he has developed a renewed confidence in the party, and has even been touring the county, and warning his kinsmen that Speaker Tyler’s action was not in their interest. 

Lansanah bragged that despite his defeat by current Senator Morris Saytumah, he considers himself the doyen or godfather of legislative politics in Bomi. 

Former Senator Lansanah said reconciliation must be holistic, and not be based on pocket side reconciliation. 

“I have decided to accept the result and I told my people since June. I took Cllr. Saytumah to Sime Darby, my backyard, and told the people there to accept Senator Saytumah and let bygones be bygones. Whatever happened has happened; it was time to marshal the people of Bomi,” he added.

On the decision by Vice President Joseph Boakai to succeed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the former Senator said: “I Gbagba Lansanah of Bomi County, I support Joseph Boakai. I will give him my vote if we go to the convention and I want to be clear on that.”

During his time in the Senate, Mr. Lansanah served on various Senate committee including Chair of the Rules, Order and administration and member of the Foreign Affairs; Defense, Intelligence, Security & Veteran Affairs; Internal Affairs and Governance; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Autonomous Commissions and Agencies and the Joint Legislative Modernization.

Snowe, who resigned from the former ruling Unity Party last week, was during the weekend petitioned in Bomi County by former senator Lahai Gbabye Lansana to contest in the December 08 midterm senatorial election.

The petitioner in a colorful ceremony in Tubmanburg, Bomi County noted that Snowe’s contribution in his district is overwhelming, so he needs a bigger space for the entire county to benefit from his good work.

In recent weeks, there were feud between Rep. Snowe and some executives of the Collaborating Political Parties, which comprised the former ruling Unity Party, the Liberty Party, the Alternative National Congress and the All Liberian Party over Snowe’s choice of former Sen. Lansanah to contest for Bomi County senatorial seat that eventually led to his resignation from the UP.

A confidant of Rep. Snowe, Kelvin D. J. Matadi’s post on social media indicates that Representative Snowe will be battling against his former colleague, Ex-speaker Alex Tyler and incumbent Senator Sando Johnson for the senatorial seat.

It is being rumored that Tyler will contest on the ticket of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change of President George Manneh Weah, while Senator Johnson would vie on the CPP ticket following his resignation from the National Patriotic Party.

It is not known which platform Snowe intends to use to contest or perhaps he may contest as an Independent candidate. However, there are also speculations that his resignation from the Unity Party is to allow him join ranks with long-time friend from the Liberia Football Association to the ECOWAS parliament, President Weah.

According to reliable source from Bomi, in a live press conference, former Sen. Lansanah said he is stepping aside to give Snowe the opportunity because the CPP had earlier endorsed Senator Sando Johnson without according courtesy to Rep. Snowe, who is seen as the political godfather of the county.

Prior to his endorsement, Rep. Snowe has persistently expressed verbal for Lansanah as his choice for the Bomi senatorial seat.

The former senator has been Snowe’s political ally since the lawmaker relocated from Montserrdao County to Bomi County district#2 where he contested and won in 2017. Lansanah was elected to the Senate in 2005, and one time served as acting pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate in 2009.

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