GANTA, Nimba â€“ Ahead of the October 2020 senatorial elections, Rep. Samuel G. Kogar of Nimbaâ€™s fifth district is calling on fellow Nimbaians to look beyond rhetoric and “empty” campaign promises to carefully scrutinize the records and individual lives of contenders.
Kogar was speaking at the Nimba Intellectual Forum in the county over the weekend where he served as guest speaker. According to the representative, it is a national duty of all Nimba citizens to prioritize the interest of the county above any individual interest, by voting for individuals who have and continue to live as leaders among the people.
“While it is true that I will not tell you right now who to vote for in the upcoming senatorial election, I want to urge you to x-ray those politicians who have already started begging for your votes before going their way,” Kogar told the gathering of attentive Nimbaians.
With only seven months left until elections in October, many new and old names are expected to declare interest for the seat currently held by Sen. Thomas Grupee. But Kogar believes that before Nimbaians cast their votes, they need to be educated about their responsibilities to the county in their choice of leaders.
It is yet unclear if Rep. Kogar himself is eyeing the countyâ€™s Senate seat.
But be reminded his compatriots of the common practice of many politicians who, once elections are over, never return to the people. If Nimbaians are to avoid this unfortunate outcome, Kogar cautioned, they must base their choice of leaders not upon the value, volume, and size of gifts they receive during campaign seasons, but upon the candidatesâ€™ character and vision for the county.
Like elsewhere in Africa and beyond, elections in Liberian can be very transactional â€“ voters tend to select candidates who offer them the best gifts, individually or as a community, in exchange for their support at the ballots. But exactly why some voters are drawn to gifts instead of a candidateâ€™s records and platform, is still an unanswered question in Liberian politics.
It is this practice that Rep. Kogar seemed intent on fighting against.
“Our forefathers fought hard to earn the respect the county has today and so we have to work hard to maintain it. And that can only be done through the kind of people we elect to lead us,” Kogar reminded the citizens.
Kogar wants citizens to “shine their eyesâ€ â€“ a popular slang in Liberia which means to look carefully â€“ â€œand look at candidates for their honesty, self-discipline, integrity, tolerance, unity, and love for county.â€
He added, “If someone comes to you without these qualities in their past life, then donâ€™t vote for them. Vote against them!”
The political field for Nimba senatorial aspirants is already crowded. Five persons have already hinted at their interest in the countyâ€™s seat. Key among them are a former superintendent and two-time contestant, Edith Gongloe-Weh; former senator Adolphus Saye Dolo; former Rep. Garrison D. Yealue; and the immediate former superintendent, D. Dorr Cooper. Entrepreneur Taa Wongbe has also shown interest in the race.
The incumbent senator, Thomas Grupee, whose seat is up for grab, appears in top gear for the race. Nine years ago, Grupee entered the race for the Senate at the 11th hour and won with vital support from Nimbaâ€™s political strongman and hero, Senator Prince Y. Johnson.
Johnson and Grupee have since fallen out. It is yet unclear who Sen. Prince Johnson will support in the upcoming election and if his support will make any difference as it did nine years ago.
Featured photo by Nimba Future Generation