GBARNGA, Bong County – District Five lawmaker Edward Karfiah is facing mounting criticisms for calling on residents of Bong County “not to elect chickens and nincompoops” in next year’s senatorial election.
Asked by a reporter Saturday about the names of aspirants vying to become senator of Bong County, Karfiah, a senatorial aspirant, replied: “Bong County is not a place for chickens and nincompoops. The people of the county have learned their lessons.”
The lawmaker’s statement has drawn the ire of residents, with many calling on him to apologize or face their consequences at the ballot box next year October.
Jefferson Gbaryan, a former senatorial candidate of Bong County, told FrontPageAfrica: “Politics is about the exchange of platforms and not insults. To have branded his fellow aspirants as “chickens” and “nincompoops” shows the lawmaker’s desperation for power,” he said.
“How can a man who claims he wants to reconcile Bong County be calling his fellow contestants with such a name? How will he reconcile Bong County when he’s elected? I’m calling on residents of Bong County to reject Edward Karfiah because by that comment he has proven not to be the best choice for the Senate.”
Jerry Forkpa, a resident of Gbarnga, told FrontPageAfrica: “Rep. Karfiah spoke as if he had planned to target a particular aspirant whom he sees as his rival in the pending election. He may have spoken out of frustration. If he doesn’t apologize to the people of Bong County I will campaign against him.”
Former Bong County Inspector William B. S Kollie told Premium FM, a local radio station in Gbarnga. “You know someone is desperate for power when a remark of such is made without any remorse. Being political rivals doesn’t mean hate and animosity. What the lawmaker has said shows who he is.”
The criticisms directed at the People’s Unification Party (PUP) lawmaker come at a time he’s facing mounting backlash from his own partisans and residents of the county for declaring support for the re-election bid of President George Weah.
Partisans of the PUP are condemning the lawmaker’s decision, saying it wasn’t in the interest of Liberia. Partisan Samuel Flomo told FrontPageAfrica: “For our lawmaker to declare support for the re-election of President Weah when the current living conditions of the people of Bong County and Liberia are worsening by the day due to poor governance says it all about his vision for the country. For me as member of the PUP, I won’t support his Senate bid because he has clearly demonstrated he supports the hardship being meted against us by this government.”
Eric Tokpa (not a relative to incumbent Bong County senator Henrique Tokpa), also a member of the PUP, told FrontPageAfrica. “Declaring support for a government that doesn’t pay civil servants on time, a government that hasn’t done much for the people of Bong County since it came to power in 2018, and declaring support for a government that has failed to appoint any cabinet minister from Bong County since the dismissal of former agriculture minister Dr. Mogana Flomo in 2019 says it all about a man who wants to represent the people of Bong County at the Senate,” he said.
Why the odds for the Senate against Karfiah
With less than a year to the much-anticipated Senate race, there are a lot of factors playing against the District Five lawmaker.
His decision to support representative aspirants against incumbent lawmakers seeking re-elections appears to be taking a toll on his ambition. In District One, Karfiah’s decision to support Wamah Kuteh at the expense of Representative Albert Hills has reportedly forced the lawmaker to endorse former senator Henry Yallah, who finished second in the 2020 senatorial election.
Such decision has reportedly put him at loggerheads with influential representative aspirant Prince Kwenah, who’s poised to support the Senate ambition of businesses Johnny Kpehe.
In District Three, relationship between the PUP lawmaker and Rep. Marvin Cole has gone frosty after they were involved in a spat in the Plenary of the House of Representatives. Rep. Cole has vowed to campaign against Rep. Karfiah.
District Six lawmaker Moima Briggs-Mensah has already gone public with her endorsement of Kpehe at the expense of Rep. Karfiah, while Senator Prince Moye, the only lawmaker in Bong County not going for election in 2023 because of his nine-year tenure, could campaign against Rep. Karfiah.
Senator Moye’s growing influence in Bong County, following an overwhelming victory in 2020 senatorial election, could be a concern for Rep. Karfiah, according to political pundits.