The New Dawn (Monrovia)

20 November 2012

Liberia: Expected Faces for 2014 Race

Political chemistry for the 2014 mid-year senatorial election has begun to show clear features with more prominent names emerging, including two former presidential candidates.

Though some of the aspirants largely prefer to closely keep their cards to their chests, the New Dawn has reliably gathered that the National Chairperson of the governing Unity Party, Cllr. Varney Sherman is gearing up for the race in his native Grand Cape Mount County against incumbent Senator Abel Massalay, who broke away as running mate for National Union for Democratic Progress' Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County.

The opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political leader, Ambassador George Weah let the cat out of the bag few months ago here when he confirmed that he will contest for the Montserrado County senatorial seat. The CDC has already asked incumbent Madam Joyce Musu Freeman to give way for Weah, who firmly believes going into the Senate, could prepare him for his life time dream: the presidency.

Sinoe County Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay is poised to challenge incumbent Senator Mubutu Vlah Nyenpan, while ex-Defense Minister during the former Taylor regime Daniel Chea, is determined to boot out Senate Pro-tempore Gbezongar Milton Findley of Grand Bassa County.

Cuttington University President, Dr. Henrique Tokpah and Augustus Flomo are preparing the ground that could lead any of two to replace Senator Jewel Howard Taylor in Bong County. Incumbent Senator Taylor seems uncertain of making a return to the Senate in the midst of an identity crisis after she has publicly traced her origin to Lofa County.

University of Liberia Professor Ansu Sonii is challenging Senator Cleric Jah for Margibi County. Senator Jah, who has been at the Capitol since 2005, would perhaps have to work overtime to maintain her grip as Prof. Sonii, who unsuccessfully contested the governing UP primary in 2011, is considering crossing carpet to the opposition CDC.

Congress for Democratic Change National Chair George Solo and incumbent Representative Zoe Emmanuel Pennue of Grand Gedeh County think it's time that incumbent Senator Isaac Nyenabo leaves the Grand Gedeh seat in the Senate.

There are reports that Nyenabo's popularity has diminished in the county due to alleged "inconstancy" on his campaign promises. Maryland County's Anderson Cooper is set to challenge presidential hopeful Senatoe John Ballout of the governing Unity Party.

This paper gathered that Mr. Cooper is expected to contest on the ticket of the CDC, and seems to be getting sympathy from Senator Dan Morias, Representatives BHOFAL Chamber and James Biney, who have vowed to campaign against Sen. Ballout.

If these variables should remain constant towards 2014, George Weah could take an easy ride into the Monsterrado County senatorial seat because the CDC has kept a strong hold on Montserrado. Besides, Weah is the most popular figure among the youth here, and many of them are his died hard supporters.

Cllr. Varney Sherman stands a better chance for the Grand Cape Mount County race due to his close tie with residents of the county for his support to students and traditional leaders in the county.

Superintendent Teahjay could halt Senator Mubutu Vlah Nyenpan's bid for a second term because of his successful clearing of the Sapo National Park and effectively coordinating the Golden Veroluem Limited Concession agreement that has created jobs opportunity for thousands of Sinoeans. Mr. Teahjay is currently in close talks with CDC officials for a comeback to subsequently contest on the CDC ticket.

The race for Grand Gedeh County appears to be between George Solo and Zoe Emmanuel Pennue with Hon. Pennue having an advantage due to his popularity with Grand Gedeans unlike Mr. Solo. However, Solo's current position as National Chair of the most popular party here (CDC) automatically makes him a hot commodity.

Records from the National Election Commission (NEC) show clearly that no party has defeated the Congress for Democratic Change in Grand Gedeh County since its formation.

In Lofa County, Steve Zaigo formerly of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Liberian National Police is expected to contest on the ticket of the CDC for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Sumo Kupee. Senator Kupee has fought several times to clear himself from the death of a youth in the county.

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