By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr.
Dissatisfaction and uproar marred President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s inaugural program in Kakata, Margibi County Monday, 22nd January when some aggrieved supporters and partisans of the Unity Party engaged in a scuffle over inaugural food.
The matter was taken to Police in Kakata where one person was incarcerated briefly and subsequently released.
The confusion erupted in Mandingo Quarter Community, Kakata at the residence of the UP Margibi Chairlady only identified as Mother Gwee.
The NEW DAWN has established that the brawl started over three 25-kg bags of rice, US$100, two gallons of argo oil, and other assorted items meant for the inaugural ceremony in the community, which led angry supporters and partisans violently taking away some of the raw rice, cooked food, oil gallons, mineral water satchels, chicken, among others allotted to the zone.
As the violence continued, other aggrieved partisans were heard complaining that they just voted out a government for corruption, so the alleged act by Chairlady Gwee to have taken delivery of US$100 and three bags of rice but only told a few people who inquired that she only received US$20 and two bags of rice was a complete act of corruption.
Their behavior brought the UP to serious public disrepute with ordinary residents expressing dismay, especially on an occasion that should have been a day of jubilation for the now ruling party.
Some UP supporters and partisans had earlier been informed by their district leadership that Mother Gwee received US$100 and three bags of 25kg rice for the inauguration in their zone which is Mandingo Quarter Community where she lives but it seems that she conceived the information from most of them.
The aggrieved partisans further argued that the chairlady was wrong in telling them that the food was meant only for people who will attend the inaugural program in the district.
After all the drama, Mother Gwee took another UP supporter, Madam Jemima Palmer, to the Police, accusing her of being responsible for the confusion at her (Gwee’s) residence.
But Madam Palmer explained that being a prominent supporter of the party in the county, a group of disenchanted UP partisans approached her, complaining that Chairlady Gwee received money and rice for the inaugural celebration but she kept it secret.
She said that predicated upon the complaint, she went to verify the information from Mother Gwee, who told her that she instead, received US$20 and few bags of 25-kg rice to prepare food only for people going for the inaugural program.
Upon hearing this, Madam Palmer said she quietly left, so she was surprised to have heard that she instigated the violence.
A NEW DAWN’s investigation established that Madam Palmer had done background checks and had information in her possession that rather US$20 and few bags of 25 kg rice, Chairlady Gwee actually received US$100 and three bags of rice she used portion of the amount to purchase some other food items.
Yahn, a guy who made away with one of the 25 kg bags of rice, was jailed and later released during the night of the celebration.
This happened because police realized that he instigated the violence among some of his friends, who were not on the scene when he took the rice but met them later and wrongly presented the matter to them which encouraged them to go and forcibly take their share of the items.
Meanwhile, other peaceful Boakai supporters and UP partisans in the district who did not participate in the scuffle, are angry over the way the US$5,000 allotted by President Boakai to the district for his inaugural program was handled.
Some claimed that they did not hear anything about the money until the program was held, while others alleged there was no information about venue(s) of the program.
The US$5,000 was said to have been given to one Richard Carter, an office staff and close associate of former Representative Ben A. Fofana of electoral District#4, who is also current National Vice Chair for Governmental Affairs of the UP.
When contacted, Mr. Carter told the NEW DAWN that the money was taken to the county and openly distributed for the inaugural program, which was successful, noting that it was not meant for community dwellers.
He explained that some of the money was spent on radio talkshows and other things, detailing that the inaugural program held in District#4 had three venues, including Lango Lappaye school campus, BWI and Richard-ta, amongst others.
The situation left a lot of Margibians saying that the folks from the UP are starting on a very bad path too soon, as they just voted against a sitting government for corruption and malpractices.
Some say President Boakai and the UP campaigned on the promise of restoring integrity and rescuing the country, so the action in Margibi is clearly a paradox. Editing by Jonathan Browne