Kokoyah District, Bong County – Businessman and senatorial aspirant in Bong County, Johnny Kpehe, brought Kokoyah District to a standstill on Saturday as surging crowds packed the routes of nearby towns and villages for his entry.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Johnny, regarded by many as one of the favorites for the Senate seat in October this year, has strong grass roots support in Kokoyah Statutory District and his entry in David Dean’s Town, the district’s most populous town, had long been expected to draw thousands of people.
But even residents were taken aback by the turnout. Youths banging drums and chanting “We want Johnny”, —- “Bong belongs to Johnny” — lined the streets. The congestion meant it took Johnny an hour to get to David Dean’s Town from Mano Wainsue Town to address supporters.
“When I become senator of Bong County, I will not disappoint you. We will work together in making Bong County a developed county,” he told cheering crowds.
Johnny Kpehe: From dark horse to a candidate to beat
The growing popularity of Johnny among the youth is gathering momentum as the youth in a show of solidarity are holding rallies across the county to show their support for him.
Since the establishment of Bong County in 1964, the issue of having a senator from lower Bong and another senator from upper Bong has dominated the political atmosphere in the county. However, the upcoming senatorial election appears to have a different scenario with the entrance of Johnny, a native of upper Bong.
While some are wondering if Johnny can really defeat his main challenger Edward Karfiah, it can be said that much of the growing support for Johnny among a cross section of disaffected young people is born out of understandable frustration of those who have served Bong County for more than nine years, specifically the fact that Karfiah is being perceived as symbolizing the business as usual brand of politics that has led the county backward.
It came as no surprise when recently, opinion polls conducted by several local radio stations put Johnny ahead of his other competitors.
The result of an opinion poll conducted by Radio Toyota Monday showed Johnny scoring 72% among those who have decided to vote.
Endorsements galore for Johnny
For his recent Suakoko rally, thousands of Johnny supporters assembled in Gokai. The supporters made a statement that Johnny has physical structures across the district. The rally attracted huge applause following the appearance of Johnny.
Fending off tribal politics
The residents of Gokai said: “It has gotten to our attention that some of your rivals are saying you’re not from Bong County. We want to assure you that what you have done for us is more than those who are claiming they are from Bong County.”
“Before you announced your intentions to contest the Senate race, you had been helping us – giving us loans to make business, sending our children to school and constructing town halls for us. For that, we appreciate you and will reward you in October.”
“For us, this amounts to the blatant lie told in the public by the same people who know the truth in their hearts.”
Reacting to the rally held by residents of Gokai, Johnny said: “To my parents, youths, and those who came from far and near, today will go down in history as a day the people of Suakoko District spoke with one united voice; the message is clear and simple – A New Bong County Is Possible!”
The ongoing rallies and overwhelming love and support from the youth and people of Bong County have shown that Johnny can no longer be dismissed as a social media politician but as a force to be reckoned with ahead of the Senate election in the county later this year.