Gbarnga — Former Bong County lawmaker George Mulbah has rejected the role offered him by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change to serve as co-chairman of the party's campaign team in Bong county.
On October 23, the Coalition for Democratic announced Mulbah as co-chair of its campaign team in the county. But Mulbah, who had earlier announced his support for Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, rejected his appointment, terming it as "political and unrealistic".
In a Facebook podcast, Mulbah said: "My support to Rep. Prince Moye for the Senate was far given before Senator Henry Yallah joined the CDC, and any attempt to revert support to Yallah would be a political suicide," Mulbah said.
Mulbah further stated: "I will not harm him, but I can't help him; my family and I can't support someone who wants to divide Bong County." Mulbah's clarification comes amid rumors that he had been offered a job by the George Weah-led government to backpedal on his initial decision to support Moye.
Two horse race in Bong?
In spite of the eight aspirants who have declared their ambitions to contest the December 8 Special Senatorial election in Bong County, every objective analysis will narrow down to the race of two people: incumbent Senator Henry Yallah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and District Two representative Prince Moye of the Collaboration of Political Parties (CPP).
Although the above assertion is debatable, especially by other aspirants, who would contend that they have what it takes to win the race, the facts are glaring - the two parties on which Yallah and Moye are contesting are major parties at the national level - the election is therefore an outright war of political supremacy between the incumbent senator and the District Two lawmaker.
Not only are the major political players in Bong County polarized along party lines or queuing behind either Yallah or Moye, the rivalry between the CDC and CPP at the national level is also projecting these two men more prominently before residents of the county.
And very importantly, they are the biggest spenders with huge financial capability to effectively execute their campaigns, a key factor in Liberian politics. Very intriguing is the fact that both Yallah and Moye, who were elected 2011, were former school mates of the William V. S. Tubman Gray High School in Gbarnga and are also graduates of Cuttington University.
Both of them have for the past eight years collaborated to commission several development projects in District Two including the construction of a bridge in the town of Tomue, the elevation of an elementary school to a junior high level in Gbenequelleh Town among others.
CDC and Senator Yallah
The second term bid of Senator Yallah has been characterized by intrigues mainly because of his face-off with Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, who announced two weeks ago that she won't support his re-election.
But observers believed the face-off between him and the vice president could win him public sympathy. Because of the reported rift between the vice president and president George Weah, Howard-Taylor would be out to prove a point to President Weah and Senator Yallah that she is still a force to reckon with in the county.
A strong force in Bong politics himself, Yallah not only enjoys the backing of influential CDC lawmaker Marvin Cole of District Three with whom he had mended fence and now collaborating to ensure the party wins, he also currently enjoys the backing of five members of the Bong Legislative Caucus like lawmaker Edward Karfiah of District Five, who is a two-term lawmaker and former campaign manager of then senator and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, the chairman of the CPP Legislative Caucus and lawmaker of Bong's District Five, Joseph Papa Kolleh and Junior Hills of District One.
Rep. Cole last week assured residents of Bong County that Yallah would win the election, saying: "I am very optimistic that Yallah will emerge victorious because his achievements in the county for the past nine years show that he means well for residents," Cole said.
This is more so because the ruling CDC officials in the county say they are not ready to lose an inch to the CPP ahead of the 2023 presidential elections. Despite the fact he is at loggerheads with Howard-Taylor, who is seen as the 'face' of Bong politics following her election feats in 2005 and 2014 respectively, he has shown an understanding of Bong politics to an extent that he could give his adversaries a good run for their money.
More than anything else, one thing Yallah has going for him is the support among the people. Most residents see his achievements across all sectors - education, infrastructure, health and others. The larger part of the impact he would make at the election would be based on the support from the electorates.
While this may not be entirely reliable, the fact that Yallah is still on the seat might reflect on December 8. In every district in Bong County, the campaign posters Yallah exist.
The senator will rely heavily on some projects he has spearheaded such as road construction, school construction and others. This is why we are asking the people of Bong County to give us anther nine years mandate. We have worked tirelessly to make the county a better place. We need the support of the people to continue in this direction ," Yallah said at one of his campaign rallies.
CPP and Rep Moye
The CPP and Deputy Speaker Moye have a chance to win the December election. In terms of presence and candidate's popularity in the county, Moye and CPP have what it takes to give the ruling CDC a good fight.
Three members of the Bong Legislative Caucus including Moima Briggs-Mensah of Bong's District Six, Rep. Robert Womba, lawmaker of District Four have all endorsed his senatorial bid. This connection would undoubtedly swing more votes to his side.
Moye, a two-term lawmaker, is said to have engaged in a number of commendable projects during his nine years as lawmaker of District Two.
A divided Muslims Community in Bong?
Mr Ansu Sesay, who is regarded as the head of the Muslim community in Bong County, seems to be at odds with his kinsmen over charges of using the name of the community to benefit his personal ego.
Sesay, a businessman in Gbarnga, has been undertaking projects of the county from the Social Development Fund seemingly because of his status as head of the Muslims community, but many of his kinsmen complain that he has reportedly used those fortunes to reportedly benefit himself at the expense of the community.
He, however, rejected those accusations and termed it as political. But in earnest, those charges against Sesay have taken toll on his popularity in the community.
Most of his kinsmen who supported him politically in the county have abandoned him, dealing a blow to the quest of Moye, whom many claimed Sesay support for the Senate.
Those agitations from majority of Muslims in Bong County have given rise to the emergence of Swaray. Swaray, an influential woman in the Muslim community, recently endorsed the candidature of Mohammed Nasser for the Senate.
Swaray's decision has given some impetus to Nasser's bid and has made him popular in the Muslim community. She recently organized an elaborate program to endorse Nasser's bid and it was attended by scores of leaders in the community.
Time is running out for Sesay to savage what is now seen as a lost image, particularly in convincing his kinsmen. FrontPage Africa has gathered that Moye is expected to construct a town hall for the Muslim women, but FPA has gathered that it might not be enough to sway the decision of those aggrieved Muslims.