Gbarnga, Bong County – Former Bong County Senator Henry Yallah said he may not support President George Weah’s re-election bid should he fail to appoint a native of the county as a cabinet minister ahead of this year’s presidential elections.
As of the 2008 Census, Bong had a population of 328,919, making it the third most populous county in Liberia. The county proved crucial to President Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in the 2017 presidential elections, winning the county in both the first and second rounds.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The last native of Bong to have served in President Weah’s government was former Agriculture Minister Dr. Mogana Flomo, who was appointed in 2018 and got dismissed in 2019.
And Yallah, who joined the CDC in 2020, believes it is “unthinkingly wrong” for a county with a huge population to be ignored by the government. “This is not about me, it’s about the relevance of Bong in the body politics of the country. The government is being dominated by people from the South-east, a geographically irrelevant region of the country, “he said.
“I will not go out and campaign this year when campaign starts. What will I tell my people? Vote for the party that has marginalized you over the years at the expense of smaller counties? Those people from the smaller counties should be the ones fighting for President Weah’s re-election, not those from Bong”, he said.
Asked whether he would join any political party if offers were available ahead of this year’s presidential elections, he replied. “It’s not out of the cards.”
Yallah garnered 25,000 votes in his failed re-election bid in 2020, and he believes he still has the political relevance in Bong to make any political party win the county. “No senator in Liberia who sought re-election accumulated that number. Besides, I have managed to remain engaged with my people since I lost the election.”
Like Yallah, prominent sons and daughters of Bong County have shared similar views about the “marginalization ” of county in the current government despite have a vice president and a native of Bong County in Jewel Howard -Taylor.
FrontPage Africa gathered that former Liberian Ambassador to the United States of America, Jeremiah Sulunteh, is reportedly feeling “betrayed” by the government despite reported assurances to have him appointed.
Sulunteh, however, could not confirm nor deny this information, but a relative to the Suakoko born told FrontPage Africa: “Ambassador Sulunteh is really disappointed in the government for failing to appoint him and he’s considering parting ways with the CDC.”
Last year, a 19-year-old student of a Bong County school embarrassed the vice president during a town hall meeting in Gbarnga when she asked this question: “Madam Vice President, why is it that there is no cabinet minister from Bong County in the government you’re serving in? Is it that they aren’t qualified or what?”
In response, a disappointed Howard-Taylor said: “The people of Bong should be patient, because with or without Bong County, CDC will still win re-election.”
The CDC has struggled to win Bong County, losing all three elections.
Some of the reasons include, reliance on overrated political points, internal wranglings within the Bong chapter of the CDC, and conspiracy of some party elites.
In 2014, the party lost the senatorial election by-election to independent candidate Henrique Tokpa and the 2020 Special Senatorial election to Prince Moye of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
Like Koung, like Yallah, Sulunteh?
Three months ago, Nimba County Senator Jeremiah Kpan-Koung said he and his political leader, Senator Prince Y. Johnson, are unsure about their support for President George Weah’s second term bid in the 2023 presidential and general elections.
Senator Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) was pivotal in securing Pres. Weah’s victory in the 2017 runoff election.
Speaking on Voice of Gompa, a local radio station in Nimba, said he and Sen. Johnson are not happy about the treatment Nimbaians (residents of Nimba County) are getting from the CDC-led government.
Sen. Koung: “I am not happy with the CDC Government. “Up to now, I am supporting President Weah but, this could change depending on the result of the negotiation on behalf of our people. Sen. Prince Y. Johnson, my political leader, is not also happy with the government, we are reviewing the MDR marriage with the Coalition, in terms of what have we benefited as a party.”
According to the Nimba Senator, he spoke the minds of most Nimbaians who feel betrayed by the CDC government, especially in the allotment of positions in the government. He said Nimbaians are disappointed that most of the appointments in government have gone to the South easterners where the President hails from.
The Nimba County Senators believed that over the five years of Weah’s administration, his Nimbaians (people of Nimba County) have been denied opportunities including appointed positions in the CDC-led Government.
Koung’s statement comes in the wake of rumors that Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) was considering picking Koung as a running mate in the pending 2023 presidential and general elections.