Liberia: Deputy Speaker Prince Moye Backslides On Comments On By-Election Necessity

Gbarnga — Deputy House Speaker Prince Kermue Moye has come under the spotlight for what now appears to be inconsistent advocacy on a major political issue in Bong County that could possibly impact his ambition to contest as a Senator in the upcoming mid-term senatorial election.

During the by-election in 2018 to fill the vacancy created as the result of the election of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, Rep. Moye described as "untimely" and "unnecessary," Rep. Marvin Cole's decision to contest the election.

Rep. Moye said it was unnecessary for a sitting legislator to contest for a legislative position while the country is experiencing economic crisis.

"I don't see the need why my colleague Marvin Cole is contesting the 2018 by-election when he's aware that the government is challenged financially," Rep Moye had said.

The Deputy Speaker, who represents Bong's district #2, campaigned against Rep. Cole on the mantra 'Say no to by-election.' His campaign succeeded then as Dr. Henrique Tokpa defeated Rep. Cole.

Inconsistent comments

Two years down the line, Rep. Moye is now already preparing to do what he criticized. Choked on flip-flopping on his stance on issues, Deputy Speaker Moye is now defending that there is "necessary" and "unnecessary" by-elections.

Responding to a journalist's question about his ongoing push to contest the senatorial seat in Bong County as opposed to his comments in 2018, he summersaulted that this time around his decision to contest is a necessity. "There is necessary by-election and unnecessary by-election. 2018 when Marvin Cole was contesting, it was unnecessary but mine is necessary.

'Inconsistent Politician'

The summersaulting by Dep. Speaker Moye on his comments has led to some citizens of Bong County to describe him as a "greedy" politician who is self-centered and makes public statements based on their personal interests rather than national interest.

Speaking at a public event in Gbarnga, Rep Cole described his colleague's ambition as "dead on arrival" and promised to campaign against him as he did to him in 2018. "What is not good for Rep. Marvin Cole should not be good for Rep. Moye," he said adding: "I will use his message that 'by-election is not necessary' to campaign against him in all of Bong's 13 administrative districts."

Rep. Cole urged the people of Bong County to vote against Rep. Moye as electing him senator would further bring division in the county as it has done to the Bong Legislative Caucus.

"Rep. Moye's ambition has divided the caucus. You can't elect Moye's "father" senator (Senator Tokpa) and elect Moye [himself] senator. Let's unite against Moye's ambition because it doesn't mean well for Bong County," he said.

What Bong Residents Think?

Some residents in Bong County believe that Deputy Speaker Moye is reducing public confidence in his integrity and he could be seen as one of old Liberian politicians, who are known for lying to the Liberian people.

Ballayan Morlu, a supporter of Senator Henry Yallah, in an interview with FrontPageAfrica, said Deputy Speaker Moye is not dependable based on the fact that his comments are self-seeking and meant only to satisfy his political desire.

"This is a man who at one time say this thing is bad for the country simply because it was not him but when it comes to him than the situation is different," said Morlu. Moye is expected to contest against Yallah.

Thomas Marley, a former football player of Bong County, said he would lead a campaign across Liberia against sitting legislators contesting in the mid-term. Marley, a resident of District #2, said it was unacceptable for the Deputy Speaker with an annual budget of over US$700,000 to be contesting a senate seat that reportedly earns US$180,000 annually.

However, some of Deputy Speaker Moye's loyalists are defending his decision to contest, stating that the CDC-led government of George Weah supported sitting legislators to contest legislative elections.

"Saah Joseph was a sitting lawmaker when he contested the Monsterrado County by-election in 2018 and was endorsed by the government," said Prince Bedell, a resident of Gbarnga.

Peter Forkpa, another supporter of Moye, said the Deputy Speaker has his constitutional right to contest despite his comments on by-election. "Rep. Moye should be allowed to contest despite what he had said against sitting lawmakers contesting legislative election.

"Though I have problems with his position as Deputy Speaker and wants to contest, it's his constitutional right," he stressed.

Residents of Bong County are known for holding unto what politicians say and even in the long-term they track the records of politicians taking into account the words and stance of the particular politician.

In 2014, Senator Henrique Tokpa became a victim of a statement he claimed he did not make. The former President of the Cuttington University was quoted as saying "Cuttington wasn't built for market women children". Although Senator Tokpa constantly denied making such statement but it impacted his political career, which may have contributed to his defeat him in the 2011 senatorial election to Madam Taylor.

Whatever way the ongoing senatorial election goes, the statement could haunt Deputy Speaker Moye for a long time.

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