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VP Koung & PYJ squared off

-Over Nimba by-election

As the people of vote-rich Nimba County go to the poll in Tuesday’s senatorial by-election, the two major leaders of the county, Vice President Jeremiah Koung, and Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, are divided over whether to support the ruling UP or their own MDR

By Thomas Domah /Nimba County

Nimba, Liberia, April 22, 2024—The NEW DAWN has gathered that Senator Prince Johnson, self-proclaimed godfather of Nimba County and leader of the MDR party, and Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung are going separate ways in supporting candidates of their choice in the county’s senatorial by-election on Tuesday, 23 April 2024.

PYJ is firmly behind District#5 Representative and senatorial candidate Samuel G. Kogar, whom he describes as his brother from Gomaplay. Vice President Koung, who has his sights fixed on 2029 for the presidency, is supporting ruling Unity Party Candidate Nya D. Twayen, Jr.

But keen observers say the Vice President’s solidarity is nothing but cow pupu support, as deep down, he does not mean it.

A report from Nimba indicates that VP Koung and UP executives in the county were never seen campaigning for Nya in the field. Instead, they only used community radio stations to declare support for the ruling party candidate, likewise, Senator PYJ, who has been using community radio stations, speaking the Gio dialect to campaign for Representative Kogar against the Unity Party.

Since the National Elections Commission qualified both men as candidates for the senate along with two others, Nya D. Twayen, Jr., and Samuel G. Kogar have been receiving huge endorsements across the 19 administrative districts of Nimba ahead of their two rivals, former Senator Thomas S. Grupee and Armstrong Gobac Selekpoh.

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What ready happened?

Executives of the MDR, an alliance of the ruling UP, are in disarray on who to support in tomorrow’s senatorial by-election, which comes about as the result of the election of Senator Jeremiah Koung as Vice President on the Rescue Ticket of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai in 2023 election.

Senator Prince Johnson, who was the first person to endorse Nya D. Twayen, Jr. for the Senate, subsequently made a U-turn and switched his allegiance to People Unification Party (PUP) Candidate Representative Samuel G. Kogar.

The Nimba County Senator then referred to his brother, Representative Samuel Kogar, as the best person to represent the people of Nimba County.

This paper is receiving report that executives of Senator Johnson’s MDR party, including VP Koung, have received a minute mandate to support Representative Samuel G. Kogar in Tuesday’s by-election for the senate, who they claim is the best person to represent the people of Nimba.

According to the MDR, Samuel G. Kogar, who was elected in October 2023 for a third term, is a teacher in legislative work who will teach other lawmakers.

“This man, Samuel Kogar, is now a teacher who will teach other lawmakers who have been elected. He has more experience and is well-equipped to represent the people of Nimba County at both local and national levels”, Self-proclaimed godfather Senator Johnson noted.

However, some MDR executives, along with those from the former ruling CDC, are collaborating with the ruling UP to support Nya D. Twayen, Jr. for the Senate, while a few MDR partisans, alongside some CDCians, are rallying behind Rep. Samuel Kogar.

The presence of Samuel Kogar in the race has made the by-election competitive in the county.

However, some political observers and pessimists predict poor turnout in tomorrow’s poll, citing a lack of civic and voter education.

According to them, unlike previous elections, no awareness was carried out by the National Elections Commission.

Addressing local media in Nimba County, Senator Prince Johnson said that he made a mistake in bringing the Unity Party to power, which has now turned against him by calling for the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia.

He has been telling Nimbaians that UP Candidate Nya D. Twayen, Jr.’s election would intensify such a campaign. However, the leader of the disbanded INPFL rebels is among 28 senators who recently signed a resolution expressing support for the court that is meant to make people account for their deeds from the 14-year bloody civil war that left 250,000 people, including women and children. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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