The NEWS (Monrovia)

27 February 2013

Liberia: Elders Hold Consultation

Major consultations are ongoing amongst elders of Lower Bong County to decide on a single candidate for the county during mid-term senatorial elections scheduled for next year.

Lower Bong County comprises two electoral districts and four administrative districts including Salala, Sanoyea, Fuamah and Yellequelleh.

The consultations, which are spearheaded by the Elder Council of Salala District, started in January with elders from Salala visiting their counterparts in the other districts which led to a joint elders meeting of the four districts on February 23rd.

During the meeting, which was attended by more than 60 elders from across the central region, most of the elders spoke of the long-term representation at the level of the Liberian Senate which had led to unequal distribution of development projects and other opportunities.

"We want one of our own sons or daughters elected this time," an elder from Fuamah and Yellequelleh suggested.

The consultations come in the wake of growing number of Bong citizens who have declared their intentions to contest the 2014 mid-term senatorial elections.

Already 10 persons including incumbent Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, former Bong County Superintendent Rennie B. Jackson, Cuttington University President Henrique Tokpa and others are criss-crossing the county to make their intention known.

"We are tired voting for senator from Upper Bong County who don't usually look back after their election," Elder Joseph P. Gwee said.

Some of the elders recalled that since the establishment of the county in 1962, Lower Bong has not had a resident senator who lived in any of the four districts. They said even those purporting to be from the region have lived and done everything in upper Bong.

If the strong sentiment expressed by the elders is bought by other citizens, it will make the re-election of incumbent senator Jewel Howard Taylor and few others difficult during the mid-term election.

Influential elders hinted our correspondent that they prefer former Bong County Representative Martin Kerkula, a citizen of Bong hailing from the lower region as their choice for the senatorial seat.

Mr. Kerkula declined to comment when contacted by our correspondent via mobile phone.

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