As the midterm senatorial elections draw closer, Grand Bassa County seems set to produce a shocker, as Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzongar Milton Findley cautiously throws in his hat to upend incumbent Senator Nyongblee Karngar-Lawrence. According to reports from Buchanan City on Sunday June 21, The Analyst has gathered that Minister Findley is hellbent on exploiting citizens’ petitioning of his senatorial bid to dodge President George Weah’s January 22, 2020 directive for all Presidential appointees and civil servants covered by the Code of Conduct and are desirous of contesting the pending Senatorial Elections to resign in 30 days.
According to reports, former Senator Findley who was whipped in 2014 by Senator Lawrence made brief stops at the Four Houses, New Buchanan, and the Monrovia Junction communities before ending up at Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh’s house along the Benson River, flanked by National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway
It was at Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh’s unfinished building on Korean Farm in Grand Bassa County, where Foreign Minister Findley, NPA MD Bill Twehway, Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh, as well as the Fiscal and Development Superintendents had gathered, with citizens trooping in buses to enable Findley unveil his planned senatorial bid.
Surprisingly, just before Mr. Findley could begin deliberating on reasons for the called meeting, he ordered that no journalist in the meeting must have him recorded.
“Members of the press, please this is not for recording. Please don’t record this meeting,” said Mr. Findley before overly emphasizing: “I don’t want people to make this appear political. I have come to talk with my people”.
He then explained that he has decided to contest the scheduled December 8, 2020 Senatorial Election to “purposely unseat” Senator Nyoblee Kanger Lawrence. He complained that Senator Lawrence is the direct reason for which he was defeated in 2014.
“You see, the county is underdeveloped and your current senator, who is unable to do anything for this county, is running for re-election; then the county is heading to remain underdeveloped,” said Findley. According to him the current county leadership is doing nothing substantive to ‘lift the county from poverty”.
Findley said he wants to contest to redeem the county and that he needs the support of the people of Grand Bassa to be Senator for another nine years.
The foreign Minister promised to bring big companies to the shores of Grand Bassa where thousands of its people can benefit from jobs and decent wages and benefits. For this, he said he had come to seek the wisdom of the people. The foreign Minister insisted that he wanted to know what people were thinking about his latest decision.
Findley Complains about Foreign Ministry Job
After he and others in the meeting had made separate comments for more than an hour, an elderly man asked: “Chief, this is a good idea, but what new development are we going to get from you or what is the new thing you will do for us that you never did when you were senator for Grand Bassa County for nine years?”
Another man also questioned Findley about what he has done for the people of Bassa since President Weah rewarded him with one of the biggest cabinet positions in the country.
In summing up his answers to the two concerns, Gbahzongar Milton Findey explained the power limitation and general administrative functions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“To answer your question, let me say that at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I work for someone. I have to report to the President who appointed me. I have been working for the President,” said Findley.
Mr. Findley complained that to be Foreign Minister is a very hard job as he has to travel almost all over the world at the instruction of the President. With bold face, Findley told the people of Bassa that the Foreign Minister job can’t permit him to work for them while serving that position.
That statement from Mr. Findley sparked concern from Bill Twehway and Janjay Jaikpeh, two top CDC partisans, who responded with worried looks at the former Grand Bassa Senator.
Petition to escape code of conduct
Many people in Grand Bassa County have for weeks suggested that Findley of late has been touring the county to amass citizens for an elaborate endorsement program.
One case in point is his recent meeting with a small group of supporters on Compound Three in Grand Bassa County where he met with the Statutory Superintendent Joe Payegar, Samuel Tobey, Fitzgerald Harmon, among others. In that meeting, it was reported that Findley asked the men to coordinate with County superintendent Janjay Baikpeh for the purpose of organizing a petitioning program for him.
Even at Sunday’s program in Buchanan, there were discussions about a possible petitioning for Findley that is to be spearheaded by the county Superintendent.
A top aid to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who spoke on condition of confidentiality said Mr. Findley is of the belief that he can use a possible petitioning to make a case in an event where he is challenged for violating the code of conduct.
Already, there is speculation within the corridors that some civil society organizations intend to challenge Mr. Findley’s candidature for alleged violation of the Code of Conduct and by extension a presidential directive.
President George Weah on January 22, 2020 directed all Presidential appointees and civil servants covered by the Code of Conduct and are desirous of contesting the pending Senatorial Elections to resign in 30 days.
That mandate expired more than three months ago and Mr. Findley is still in his position, doing business as usual and yet to resign.
According to Chapter 5.2, Section 10 of the Code of Conduct, 5.2 a: “any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections”.
The Supreme Court had earlier rendered opinion over the intense controversy on the implementation of the Code of Conduct during the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
The National Elections Commission also in time past disqualified some candidates for violating the Code of Conduct during the 2017 election.
Findley confidant; says he has no interest to contest
Emmanuel Wragboe, Findley’s failed 2014 senatorial campaign co-chairman took to Facebook early Tuesday, June 23, 2020 to defend his boss as having no intention to contest in Grand Bassa, noting that it is the people of Bassa who are begging him to do so.
Wragboe wrote: “Dr. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley is not a candidate or aspiring for any position for God sake, he is the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Liberia for now so stop the fight against his personality”.
Wragboe who is the current chairman of the Friends of Findley added he (Findley) has no “intent”.
“Yes, the Citizens are asking him to contest this 2020 special senatorial election but it doesn’t mean he has consented. Even at that, you said “he failed the Bassa people,” why worry about his comeback? It should be a free ride for you and you should be celebrating,” the chairman of the Friends of Findley posted on Facebook.
On Monday, Representative Vincent Willie who is also contesting for the Senate accused Findley of organizing a bogus meeting to beg citizens to endorse him. Willie alluded that the Foreign Minister thinks by petitioning him, he can make a case to defeat the spirit and intent of the Code of Conduct which requires public officials wanting to contest public elective positions to resign two years prior to the scheduled election. Rep Willie who represents Wee-Statutory District also disclosed that the meeting was held at the unfinished residence of Superintendent Janjay Baikpeh which is located in Korean Farm, along the Benson River in Buchanan.
Superintendent Baikpeh’s unfinished building is just a stone throw distance from Findley’s house which is also unfinished.
Many are wondering why the Minister of Foreign Affairs didn’t hold the meeting at his house but instead, the home of Baikpeh. There has been concerns bordering on why the meeting was held in such a closed location, away from public view.
This reports from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, was sent to The Analyst by our contributing writer, Samson Deegar and efforts were made on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 to get Minister’s Findley side of the story but to no avail up to press time.