Liberia: Rep. James Kolleh Haunted By 2021 Campaign Promises in Bong County

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DISTRICT TWO, Bong County – Bong County District Two lawmaker James Kolleh against all odds won the by-election in 2021 to replace Prince Moye, who won as senator of the county during the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections. 

Residents of the district are now arguing that the lawmaker’s five months in office has portrayed him as a man who had no plans before ascending into office with most of his actions so far looking more spontaneous than pre-planned.

Despite this, a few people, mainly in his native Yaindiwon Clan,  still believe he will perform well as lawmaker. But so far it has been a turbulent five months for the young lawmaker who rode to power on the divine mandate mantra.

Donating his assigned vehicle to the district

During his campaign, Kolleh promised to donate his assigned vehicle to the district as an ambulance. This promise seemingly endeared Kolleh to residents of Gbanshea and Seanshue Clans, forcing residents to abandon natives of the clans who were contesting against him.

Kolleh would go on to finish second to Gbarnga businessman Melvin Salvage in the two mentioned clan, a feat that enabled him to emerge winner of the election.

But five months into his 19-month tenure, Kolleh is singing a different tune, telling everyone who care to listen that instead of donating his assigned vehicle he would rather buy an ambulance for the district. “The ambulance will be in the county before the end of August this year,” Rep. Kolleh to FrontPageAfrica via text Monday.

His statement has prompted uproar among residents of the district, with many threatening to give him the boot in 2023. Chris Yah, a resident of District Two, said he knew Rep. Kolleh would fail because he has never been a trusted character.

“I have said it repeatedly that not every young man is a good leader and Rep. Kolleh has vindicated me by his actions since his election. It’s just a matter of time for the lawmaker to further expose himself.”

Jerry Forkpah, another resident of District Two, described Rep. Kolleh as a generational failure that continues to disappoint the many young people who supported him during the election. 

Failed driving school promise?

Another campaign promise haunting Rep. Kolleh is his failure to make true his pledge to launch a vocational school for youths of Foloblia. The lawmaker had promised that such a school would empower district residents to be self-employed.

His delay in launching the vocational school has put Rep. Kolleh at odds with many residents of the district, particularly the youths, who voiced their disenchantment at the lawmaker on Super Bongese, a local radio station in the county.

Many residents also expressed disenchantment at Rep. Kolleh for his alleged failure to bring back the dividends of democracy to the people of Gbanshea and Seanshue Clans compared to what he has done in Yaindiwon.

These agitations against Rep. Kolleh in Gbanshea and Seanshue Clans could linger for a while amid a plot to field a consensus candidate against him in 2023.

One of those said to be pushing that plan is Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, whom Rep. Kolleh branded as “anti” to residents of the district for her reported failure to stall the results of the by-election by supporting Salvage to take an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia against the result.

If such a plot plays against Rep. Kolleh in 2023, political pundits are convinced that the lawmaker would fail to retain his seat, which would make him the shortest-serving lawmaker in Bong County.

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