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Nimba loyalty shifting?

-As Senator PYJ congratulates candidate Nya D. Twayen 

Should the National Elections Commission (NEC) confirm Nya Twayen’s win in Nimba by-election, discussions could now shift to who is really in charge of Nimba now that Senator Prince Johnson’s voice was not adhered to by a majority of the voters.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, April 26, 2024: Nimba County’s long-serving ‘political godfather, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, has congratulated the ruling Unity Party (UP) senatorial candidate, Mr. Nya Twayen, ahead of the National Elections Commission (NEC), declaring a winner.

Senator Johnson backed a sitting Nimba Representative as a senatorial candidate against Mr. Twayen but failed to secure victory.

The latest voting trend from Nimba County could point to a gradual shift of political loyalty that Mr. Johnson has enjoyed from his kinsmen for nearly two decades.

Besides winning his senate seat three times for nine years each, Johnson’s picks of presidential candidates have always won since 2005.

In the past, his choice of legislative candidates in Nimba have mostly won as well.

However, the outcome of this senatorial by-election sees Twayen backed by Vie President Jeremiah Koung the ruling UP projected to win.

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Should the NEC confirm this in its final report, discussions could now shift to who is really in charge of Nimba now that Senator Prince Johnson’s voice was not adhered to by a majority of the voters.

Johnson has over the years relied on his war-time brutal ‘defense of Nimba County’ as his trump card to wield political support against his rivals.

The NEC has not released the final results, but Johnson has already conceded that his candidate Representative Samuel Kogar could not win.

On Thursday, 25 April 2024, the NEC 706 out of 736 polling places in the county, from which UP’s candidate Nya Twayen led with 66,616 votes while his rival Representative Samuel Kogar had 37,557 votes.

The final announcement is expected to be released on Friday, 26 April 2024.

Now, many are comparing the Nimba political situation to a biblical story found in First Samuel 18:7 when the women sang as they played and danced, saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousand.”

To some, this by-election result could weaken Senator Johnson’s political power, while it strengthens the power of his political son and Liberian Vice President Mr. Koung. 

On 9 February 2024, the Legislature by Article 37 of the 1986 Constitution, notified the NEC of vacancies in the Senate and the House of Representatives which resulted in the conduct of by-elections in Nimba and Grand Counties.

Nimab by-election is caused by the election of sitting Senator Jeremiah Koung as Liberia’s vice president, while the Grand Gedeh representative by-election is caused by the death of representative-elect E. Madison Gwion.

Nimba County has an average of 307, 254 registered voters, which makes the county to remain one of Liberia’s ‘vote-rich’ counties. 

Before the voting day, The NewDawn gathered that Senator Prince Johnson and Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung were going separate ways in supporting candidates of their choice.

 “Welcome aboard, my son. The task ahead is significant. Nimba has elected you to join me as the operational Senator,” Johnson wrote on his Facebook page Thursday. 

“Given your respectful and organized nature, I believe that together, we can enhance Nimba’s progress. I urge everyone to refrain from spreading tribal messages as they have the propensity to derail our progress as a county by diverting our focus,” he said.

He called on his people to prioritize peace, love, and unity in Nimba and throughout Liberia. 

“I pledge my full support in working with our new Senator. Together, success is assured. Congratulations Senator and thank you Nimba” he noted.

Similarly, the daughter of Nimba County Senatorial candidate, Samuel Kogar, Ms.Tabitha Humanitarian Kogar wrote on her official Facebook page, Thursday, appreciating the people of Nimab for voting and congratulating Mr. Tawayen.

“Losing is never easy, and I can only imagine how disappointed and discouraged you guys are feeling right now. Lastly, if we can’t be Senator today, we can become Senator, Vice President, and President in the future,” she wrote. 

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