Winners, Losers of Bong Senatorial By-Election
Gbarnga, Bong County – The senatorial by-election in Bong County has been won and lost. Those from the other side of the political dived – the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and Unity Party (UP), three opposition political parties that supported Independent candidate Henrique Tokpa, have been reflecting on the outcome of the keenly contested polls.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
They are basking in the euphoria of Tokpa’s victory. But, for members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), last week’s polls have not only demystified the party in Bong, it has left a sour taste for its partisans.
Tokpa’s quest for the senate is finally successful. Lost to now Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor in 2014 by a thousand vote, Tokpa remained in Bong County and built his political cells in all of the county’s 13 administrative districts.
He described his election as historic and said he will fight to unite members of the Bong caucus for the collective interest if the citizens.
The opposition bloc in Bong
The three biggest opposition political parties have enlarged its coast. The three parties became a subject of mockery in Bong County when the CDC won Bong County during the December 26 runoff election by 42 percent of the votes.
The opposition bloc failed to unite to upset Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor as she, through her influence, won all of Bong’s 13 administrative districts in 2017.
But the situation changed for the better last Tuesday for the better as Tokpa won 10 of the 13 districts in Bong.
Deputy Speaker Prince Moye’s wish is that Bong County becomes a home to the opposition bloc. As head of the “majority bloc” of members of Bong lawmakers, Moye has been the pillar of support for Tokpa’s campaign.
He personally campaigned for Tokpa. On campaign trails, he urged citizens of Bong to reclaim the county and asked them to ponder on their fate.
The election at one point in time appeared like a proxy war between Moye and Vice President Taylor. So, has Moye gotten the last straw?
Sesay is a prominent businessman in Bong. His longtime wish to see Tokpa become a senator of Bong came to fruition on last Tuesday.
As a political leader of the Muslim community in Gbarnga, Sesay’s influence in the election of Tokpa was a major factor.
Not only was his influence key, Sesay is said to have bankrolled Tokpa’s campaign, especially during the dying minute, transporting reluctant voters from one place to another.
The Election Magistrate
If the tempo of achievements is sustained by the umpire, the names of Barsee Kpangba, magistrate of Lower Bong and Upper Bong County magistrate will be written in gold.
The preparation for the poll by the National Elections Commission was encouraging. NEC staffs were prompt and regular. There was no lateness to duty. Three of the five candidates and citizens said the process was transparent.
Coalition for Democratic Change: The calculation of the CDC was to use the Bong County senatorial by-election to maintain the base of the party.
As a key election before the 2023 presidential race was widely expected to signpost the “love” partisans have for the party in Bong and the much-touted popularity of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, a native of Bong.
Losing to the opposition would be painful to the CDC, because Bong was described by the party as a strategic vote rich county for the party’s re-election in 2023.
The party’s Bong County chairman Victor Wesseh, said: “Bong is very strategic to our party and we hold our partisans here in high esteem and their untiring efforts in ensuring that the party flag continues to fly.
The vice president is perhaps the biggest loser of the Bong County senatorial by-election. Although her name was not on the ballot, she contested the election through a proxy candidate, Josiah Marvin Cole.
Howard-Taylor would have been disappointed by the victory of Tokpa, who she defeated in the 2014 senatorial election. She stormed Bong County in the build-up to the election. The vice president said there was no way the CDC would have lost a free and fair election with Tokpa.
Describing Cole as the man who has the courage to lead the people of Bong, the vice president said the district three lawmaker has never compromise anything that had to do with the interest of the people of Bong.
Cole relied one hundred percent on the vice president’s political clout to win the election. The vice president would have preferred to see her protégée in the Senate House.
With the triumph of Tokpa in last Tuesday’s election, 44-year-old Cole, has lost the opportunity of becoming the first youngest senator of Bong County.
Cole was aiming to eclipse Senator Henry Yallah record, who became the youngest ever elected Bong County senator at the age of 45.
Benedict Sampson: One man that is likely to be disappointed with the turn of events of Tuesday’s by-election results is businessman Benedict Sampson, manager of the Moon Light garage in Gbarnga.
Sampson’s calculation would have been for Cole to win the by-election so that he can replace him as representative of electoral district three.
With the defeat of Cole who is still a lawmaker, the prospects of Sampson’s representative ambition are gone.