The New Dawn (Monrovia)

1 February 2013

Liberia: Citizens Aggrieved in Bong County

Tensions are reportedly mounting in Bong County between citizens of the lower and upper regions of the county for what they termed 'unfair distribution' of county resources and development projects.

Citizens in lower Bong have accused their kinsmen in the upper region of selfishly holding onto all major development projects in the county.

According to them, most of the major developments such as the Cuttington University, Phebe Hospital, Central Agriculture Research Institute, (CARI) and the pending Bong County Community College, among others are all concentrated in upper Bong.

As a result of the situation, they feel marginalized, and added that their area lacks basic social services, including hospitals, institutions of higher learning, among others.

"All the big, big money this government can send to us, Salala, Lower Bong County people are not benefiting; you know it, I know it. Only upper Bongese can get good things", asserted a tough-spoken female student in the county.

Looking straightly in Cuttington President Henrique Tokpah's face, she fearlessly threatened that "Go tell your people; the things we want in lower Bong, if we don't get them, from start to end, those that are coming from upper Bong will not go in the House of Senate."

She raised the issue recently along with some concerned students of the county at the African Methodist Episcopal University in Monrovia during an honoring and certification program in which Cuttington University President, Dr. Henrique Tokpah was invited.

Dr. Tokpah, who hails from upper Bong, had gone to inform and solicit the support of members of the Bong County Students Association of AME University about his political ambition to contest the 2014 senatorial race.

But the students vowed not to give him their support unless he committed himself to ensuring that he will champion the cause for the decentralization of development programs from upper to the lower region of the county.

Meanwhile, the President of BOSA, Melvin McCauley has clarified that the Cuttington President's invitation did not in any way mean they are in support of his political ambition, adding that Dr. Tokpah was only a friend of the association as any other prominent citizen of Bong.

"We met in Gbarnga and Tokpah asked for the opportunity to talk to students of AMEU and we granted him the opportunity like any other prominent citizen of Bong County" he noted.

Asked whether they had surrendered support to the academician now a senatorial aspirant, McCauley said: He (Tokpah) asked us and we told him we were observing the process, because mind you this is an electoral process. We are friends and we continue to be friends."

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