Taa Wongbe Presents Himself for Nimba 2020 Senatorial Seat
Monrovia – Ahead of the 2020 Special Senatorial Election in Liberia, some influential Liberians have begun raising their hands, informing their constituents that they are getting in the race to woo their votes.
One of such persons, who is relatively new on the political stage is Mr. Taa Wongbe of Nimba County.
Appearing on the OK FM evening talkshow Tuesday, October 8, Taa as he is affectionately called, announced that he was getting in the race to represent the people of Nimba in the Senate because he thinks that leaving Nimba yea Liberia better generations after him is one that worries him. Taa believes that like many places in Africa, Liberia has a leadership challenge and that challenge starts with putting people first.
Touching on some of this present engagements that he thinks might move the nearly 300,000 registered voters in the county to turn his way, he indicated that he is presently engaged in agriculture activities in most parts of the county.
“We have been involved in agriculture, that one of my passions. We have been involved in supporting women’s sustainable programs; we have also been involved in youth development typically education and skills building,” he disclosed.
Taa said he engages with farmers in the county so as to make the county and the entire nation self-sufficient in food as Liberia at moment is not capable of feeding itself.
“Right now things are really tough in most of rural Liberia. People depend on farming so we have been investing in agriculture a lot,” he stated.
According to him, his track record over the years stands him apart from the present cream of politicians in the county.
Taa believes that because he has been able to develop a company, The Khana Group (TKG), that is inarguably Liberia’s largest consulting firm, which has more than 300 Liberians in its employ, this sets him apart and could be one reason why Nimbaians should make him as their next Senator.
“We are focused in terms of how we achieve our objectives. That track record of result, I believe that is what our county needs going forward.”
He emphasized that the track record of getting things done is what Nimba needs. He further stated that the present amount of money that the county gets around US$3 million for development is so small that he doesn’t see the reason why a county with more than 700,000 people will be arguing over such amount for development purposes.
“I have great ideas how we can use those funds to develop the county and impact lives.”
According to him, when he travels around Nimba, people have told him that they are going to elect him because he is not one of the typical politicians, who come and make promises but that he (Taa) is straight forward and tells the people what the reality is of certain projects.
Trying to differentiate politics in Nimba from other parts of Liberia, Taa stated that the people of the county has to see someone who intends to run for a seat of the county as their “son” and “as their own, their brother and they have done that me.”
According to him, because the people now see him differently and not being a typical politician, some of those in the political class of the county are trying to rebrand themselves to follow his steps ahead of the 2020 race.
Being a newcomer in the county, Taa indicated that he is not afraid of some of the names that have so far surfaced in the air for contesting for the seat in the county. At least two of the noticeable names is former Nimba County Superintendent Edith Gongloe Weh and incumbent Senator Thomas Grupee, who is going to do all to retain his position.
But Taa laughed off the insinuation that he is terrified, adding: “When you ask them they are going to tell you that they are terrified of Taa because of the work we have been doing with our people over the years.”
According to him, his relationship with the people not as a regular politician, has made him able to win a lot of hearts in the county and this love his going to translate into votes for him in 2020.
On the perception that before anyone gets elected to a post in the county that person has to befriend Senator Prince Y. Johnson, he stated that while he looks forward to the senator endorsing him, he, however, stressed, “Nimba people make decision on their own and some people don’t seem to understand this.” He narrated that during the 2017 elections, nine candidates ran under the banner of Sen. Johnson and all lost but one, who had to obtain his win following a legal battle that the Supreme Court granted in his favor. He emphasized that in spite of that, no one can doubt the influence that the senator has in the county. He added, however, “But when it comes to the voting, the people of Nimba make decision based on their relationship with the person.”
According to Taa, who is an advocate and an entrepreneur, he has built a massive movement across the nine districts and in more than 200 towns across the county.
On his plan for the county if he becomes senator, Taa, who is also a philanthropist, disclosed that agriculture is the center of his “economic development plan.” He narrated that a few years ago, he planted 60 to 80,000 plantain trees, from which one of his harvests landed him more than a hundred thousand dollars.
“This was done just in one town, imagine what we can do across the entire Nimba County. We can be able to actually use agriculture in terms of creating more avenues for money for development of the county. The county budget is small, so we really need to develop ways to get money for the county. With agriculture, we can employ more young people, we can send more children to school; we can be able to do some sustainable developments in our county.”
He further stated through agriculture, the county can be able to raise money for other sectors, including health, education and infrastructures.
He disclosed that he attended the recent United Nations General Assembly and was able to acquire about US$1.4 million in funding to support agriculture projects in the county.
“This is a five-year engagement all across the county. We are going to add some parts of Bong and Lofa Counties.”
Taa emphasized that the role of a lawmaker in Liberia should be not only be about lawmaking, oversight and representation, but should also include providing services for their constituents because the national government doesn’t have the resources to reach to every citizen.
The senatorial aspirant further emphasized that while he will rely on partners to support his plan, he is going to put his own money into the venture and hopes that the central government would do likewise so as to create self-sufficiency.
Taa is originally, from Graie, Nimba County, the most populous county outside of Montserrado. Taa was 10 when the civil war started in Liberia and he moved to the United States after being a refugee in Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire for several years. Having experienced the devastation of the civil war and living in poverty, Taa developed a passion for development and people, especially empowering youth, women and society’s most vulnerable. That passion led him to return home in 2007 for the first time after the civil war where he quickly discovered the gaps in the development activities in his country, Liberia.