Bong County Senators Dr. Henrique Tokpa and Henry Yallah are bragging and trading claims for alleged support given to one another supposedly for academic advancement at Cuttington University or for the other’s quest to win a seat in the Liberian Senate.
Interestingly, the two Bong Legislative Caucus members are locked into these debates ahead of the December 2020 senatorial election in which Yallah is seeking re-election in what will be a battle against Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye and other contenders.
The former Cuttington University president Dr. Tokpa denied receiving alleged support from Yallah for his quest for the senatorial seat during an interview with legislative reporters Monday, 6 July, saying if Yallah ever did so, it was not to his (Tokpa’s) knowledge.
His denial comes in the wake of claims here attributed to Senator Yallah, citing alleged support to Dr. Tokpa’s effort to win the senatorial seat.
Dr. Tokpa who succeeded the former Bong County Senator, now Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor following a by – election in 2018, braggs instead that as university president then, he stood in the gap and paid Mr. Yallah and other students’ school fees when they were let down by imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.
According to him, if Senator Yallah wants to talk about help, he too has also benefited from his (Tokpa’s) help as well, saying: “at that time I was the president of the Cuttington University, I couldn’t sit and allow my own Bong County students be stranded.”
Beyond his own alleged help to Yallah, Dr. Tokpa claims that the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Prince Moye also helped Yallah greatly during his campaign for the Senate seat.
He recalls that Mr. Moye was seen in the field campaigning for Mr. Yallah and gave him financial support, though he insists that Senator Yallah and Representative Crayton Duncan never helped during those times.
According to Dr. Tokpa, the current confusion in the caucus occurs every time during election, adding that if one caucus member wants to run against the other member, it becomes a problem.
However, he discourages the tendencies of officials opposing their colleagues’ quest to participate in an election process, arguing that there shouldn’t be a problem because everyone has the right to contest. Tokpa furthers that the problem in Bong County is the issue of wanting to divide the county into lower and upper Bong.
He suggests the need to hold a round table conference of all stakeholders in the country, appealing to Bishop Kula and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor who says are the mothers of the county, to help look into the matter so that it doesn’t turn into something bigger to divide the county.
“I can’t reconcile the county alone,” Senator Tokpa laments, and concludes with calls to have a vocational school in agriculture in the country and for President George Manneh Weah to pass the Bill for Agriculture Vocational School in Bong County.
By Ethel A Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley