BONG COUNTY, LIBERIA – Members of the Bong County Legislative Caucus have elected a new set of leaders to head the caucus for the next two years. They include Representative Joseph Papa Kolleh of Bong County Electoral District #7 who was elected chairman of the caucus, replacing Senator Henry Yallah and District #1 Representatives Albert Hills elected co-chairman while Marvin Cole of District #3 Secretary-general, respectively; The analyst’s Bong Correspondent Patrick Tokpah reports.
Our Bong County Correspondent said the Secretary General-elect Marvin Cole was voted on white ballot, while new Caucus Chairman Kolleh defeated Representative Moima Briggs-Mensah of District #6 in the County.
The Bong County Legislative Caucus comprises the county’s seven representatives and two senators in the National Legislature.
Of the eight votes cast, Kolleh obtained five, while Briggs-Mensah got three at the elections held recently at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, although the process was held in the absence of Senator Henrique Tokpa who is currently in the United States.
Rep. Kolleh is taking over the leadership of the caucus at a point where there are many issues to be addressed in Bong, including the entrenched disunity among leaders of the county, alleged mismanagement of development funds, and limited oversight role by legislators to ensure government-funded institutions get their allotments made in the national budget for the county.
However, Rep. Kolleh promised to work harder to ensure that members of the caucus are united to forge ahead with the collective interest of the county.
“We have a couple of things to work on as my priority; first I will move to unite the caucus members, to bring all the stakeholders on board to move Bong County forward,” Kolleh said.
Under his leadership, he said he would ensure that institutions captured in the national budget get their allotments for effective service delivery to citizens of the county.
For her part, defeated Rep. Briggs-Mensah said she had wanted to ascend to the position to strengthen accountability in the management of development funds in the county, while promoting unity and development at the same time.
Briggs-Mensah further said even though she lost the leadership position in the caucus, she remains a critical voice in the county and will continue advocating for the proper management of funds intended for the people of Bong.
“We will not sit quietly to allow mismanagement of the county’s funds; no matter whether or not I have a position in the caucus, we will be involved with the process. We need to be accountable to the people,” Rep. Briggs-Mensah told this paper via mobile of her defeat.
Also speaking, the outgoing chairperson of the caucus, Senator Henry Yallah, appreciated his colleagues for forming part of the process to elect a new crop of leaders. He wants all members of the caucus to work together in the interest of the county.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tokpa’s chief of office staff, Arthur Bestman, who spoke on a local community radio clarified that the senator could not participate in the process because of his travel to the U.S. to negotiate for medical supplies for the county, during which he is also attending to personal issues.
He revealed that the ‘Friends of Tokpa’ in America, particularly in Philadelphia and Maryland, have a meeting to which Senator Tokpah was scheduled to attend so as to use the occasion to fast-track arrangement for the donation of medical supplies to the county.
In a related Bong County news, it can be recalled, that the medical director of C.B. Dunbar Maternity Hospital, Kour Geah, informed the public that the hospital has not received its allotment in the national budget for 2019/2020; a situation she said hinders the hospital’s ability to cater to patients, especially pregnant women and the children.
The government allotted US$350,000 to the C.B. Dunbar Hospital in the current budget.
“Our allotment is not forthcoming for this budget year. We have to even credit fuel to run our generators to get the hospital operational. We are in touch with the lawmakers to help us in this situation,” Geah stressed.