-Rep. Larry Yonquoi
Nimba County Representative Larry Yonquoi describes his fellow kinsman, Senator Prince Johnson as the only ex-warlord who killed more Nimbaians than any other warring faction leaders during the 14 years Liberian Civil War.
Speaking to OK Morning Rush, a live broadcast hosted by OK fm 99.5 in Monrovia Wednesday, December 23, Rep. Yonquoi, a bitter critic of Senator Johnson, noted that despite massive and uncontrollable killing of Nimbaians by Johnson and his defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), during the war, the people still awarded him with two 9-year terms (18 years) at the Liberian Senate, besides unsuccessfully voting twice for the presidency.
He laments that in spite of the gracious rewards the people of Nimba and Liberians generally to the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction standard bearer, Senator Johnson is a key proponent of division among tribes of the county.
According to him, each year, the Senator would introduce tribal politics by branding some influential individuals of the county as Gio man or Mano woman, something that has greatly divided Nimba.
Yonquoi continues that during the just held Special Senatorial election, Johnson reportedly introduced tribal politics by referring to one of the contenders from the county as a Mano woman, who contributed less to the development of people in the Gio region.
Representative Yonquoi, of the former ruling Unity Party says the actions and deals of Senator Johnson warrant his removal and that the people have done much for him, but the only reward he gives back is create division and plant seeds of discord between the two main tribes: the Gioes and the Manoes.
However, when Sen. Johnson was contacted via mobile phone on several occasions for reaction, his phone rang endlessly. Since the election of Representative Yonquoi to House, he has remained a stern critic of Johnson, who many Nimbaians consider as hero for capturing and killing President Samuel Kanyon Doe.
Doe and the Nimba people had serious mistrust throughout his entire reign, beginning from the April 12, 1980 coup that he led to the rebel incursion on December, 24, 1989 through Buutuo, Nimba County, a border town with neighboring Ivory Coast.
The defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia rebels that were commanded by jailed ex-president Charles Ghankay Taylor comprised of predominantly people from Nimba.
Since the declaration of Representative Jeremiah Koung as winner from the Special Senatorial election, his main rival Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh has accused the National Elections Commission of manipulating the election’s results in the county in favor of Senator-elect, Koung.
In her allegation, Gongloe-Weh, who contested on the ticket of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties, claimed the vote tallying process was fraudulent to deprive her of victory. According to her, the current NEC results that made her rival winner are unacceptable and unbelievable because she won in popular districts of the county.
“It is sad that they are trying to overturn the election results. There is no way that the votes from Districts 4 and 5 can overturn my victory, when I have already won the Lower Nimba belt, which comprises of districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 and also two districts in the Upper Nimba belt,” Edith protested.
Upper Nimba, which has 5 districts, is a vote-rich battle ground, which usually decides who becomes next senator of Nimba County. It was votes from there that sealed the fate of Candidate Gongloe-Weh in 2011, an election that brought Senator Thomas Grupee to power.
Having joined her party to accuse the government and the electoral body of changing the results, the CPP candidate also insisted she won District 1 (which includes Ganta) with over 5,000 votes, compared to Koung’s 3,000 votes from the district.
Madam Gongloe-Weh added that in District 2, she also won with 5,000 votes, arguing that combined with received in lower Nimba, she defeated Koung with 19,179 votes against his 10, 081 votes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne