Gbarnga, Bong County – When the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) named Madam Jewel Howard Taylor as its vice presidential candidate, the people of Bong County welcomed the news and expressed affirmation through their massive votes for the CDC.
Report by Selma Lomax, firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens of the county said they wanted to see “one of their own” occupying the second most powerful political position in the country.
In what was seen as a blessing, Bong County again, witnessed the election of one of its sons, Prince K. Moye as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, another very powerful political position in Liberia’s body politics.
Per constitutional requirements, the Vice President heads the Liberian Senate and at the same time the second in power to the President while the Deputy Speaker is the second head of the House of Representatives.
The election of Madam Taylor as Vice President and Representative Moye as Deputy Speaker puts Bong County on the political map, boasting of two of the most high profile positions in government.
The people of Bong County, who were hoping for this double senior position to bring them some development relief, are now seeing the contrary.
Followers of the two officials, apparently with their consent, are bitterly fighting on the social media, radio and other medium, raining invectives at their two leaders.
This situation is causing stir in the county as followers of the two officials of government not willing to settle for a truce despite calls from other prominent citizens of the county for calm in an effort to reduce the bitterness.
A former member of the House of Representatives from Bong County, George S. Mulbah, in a social media post last week, cautioned that the tension between followers of the two prominent politicians is not healthy for the county as it will stall progress.
He called for peaceful resolution of any existing tension.
Former lawmaker Mulbah’s post gained much attention from people of the county
The ongoing fight between the supporters of the two individuals has gone wild to the extent that personal lives of the two and even those associated with them have been made public on radio and on the social media, mainly Facebook.
None of the two sides seems willing to slow down as the fight to show supremacy and strength continue to distract the county from achieving some meaningful development projects.
Some elders of the county believe that although the two individuals are from different political parties, the interest of the county is paramount and should be placed far above their individual quest for show of popularity in the county.
With ongoing hearing for the fiscal budget 2017/2018, according to sources from the National Legislature, the Bong County legislative caucus has not been able to devise a plan of action to push for more budgetary allotments to various sub sectors of the county due to the ongoing wrangling between the two most senior government officials from the county.
For instance, the CB Dunbar hospital in Gbarnga did not receive any budgetary increment and irrespective of the situation that will negatively impact the health sector of the county.
The two officials are not contemplating bringing relief to their people through lobbies for budgetary increment to the medical facility, while their followers continue to engage in unpleasant exchanges.
Who will take Mediation lead?
According to observers in the county, none of the two officials seem willing to prevail on their followers to stop the bitter politics to enable them focus on the growth and development of the county.
Some observers suggest that to put the tension under control one person must be willing to take the lead and invite the other to the table for discussion.
Until then, the situation appears far from over and the county risks going for a long period without benefiting from the positions of the two individuals.
Whether Madam Taylor, who has openly called on the people of Bong County to put aside their differences and forge ahead for the growth of the county, will act first by taking concrete steps to ensure that acrimonious relationship mended is something yet to be established.
Following her election, Madam Taylor organized an elaborate program at the Gbarnga Administration Building where she said the politics of hatred, backbiting and undermining should now be over in Bong County.
Citizens expressed joy at the time that the second most powerful politician was able to realize that the county was torn apart and now needs the citizens to reconcile their differences.
Howbeit, the ongoing trend in Bong County is very disturbing to many citizens who feel the county is gradually losing a golden opportunity to make significant progress from the presence of the two senior officials of government hailing form the county.
Others believe there is still more time left for the county to reconcile the ongoing differences between the two politicians and their followers in order to set the county on the right trajectory.