Gongloe picks Negbalee? -Legal Duo’s Photo Fuels Speculation

MONROVIA: As attention has been shifted to the presidential aspirants in the ensuing 2023 presidential and general elections picking their respective running mates, there were strong speculations making the rounds that the standard bearer of the Liberia People’s Party (LPP), Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, must have picked Prof. T. Negbalee Warner, former Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, when a photo of both legal luminaries standing and clutching brooms, the symbol of Gongloe’s campaign message, emerged on the social media, suggesting that the ticket which followers soon tagged as “Broom 1, Brown 2” has been agreed upon and is now awaiting formal announcement.

Several posts and comments, most of which are supportive of the ticket, expressed optimism in what was seen as a “perfect collaboration” that any of the political parties challenging the ruling establishment to the seat of power could ever envisage, with many hoping that the information of the ticket should come through.

“This is what a serious ticket brings to the table, and as we are moving towards the ensuing general election, it is my hope that what I am hearing of a Gongloe-Warner ticket should come true. It represents integrity, knowledge, patriotism, the strong belief in rule of law and the enthroning of a genuine democracy in this country”, said Peelah Toomey, a female advocate and an independent aspirant for the House of Representative from one of the Northcentral counties of the country.

Others who also spoke overwhelmingly about the possible ticket said Liberians should not be carried away by the nomenclature of campaign structures of politicians in the race for the nation’s exalted seat, but make sure that the nomenclature tallies with the antecedents of the politicians.

“We are in the season of endorsements and branding of political parties, and of course we expect people to talk about themselves or their candidates, but let me warn all of us that we should not be carried away by the names we are seeing being associated with all kinds of tickets around here. We should be able to know the track records of the various candidates in the race and from all that we have been seeing, the Gongloe-Warner ticket offers the best option for the country in the ensuing dispensation.

“We can count on both of them, first as lawyers who have this strong sense for the adherence to the rule of law, and the voices against corruption and ineptitude in the polity. We can entrust the destiny of this country in their hands”, a senior civil servant who did not want to be published in newspapers said.

The rumors of the VP pick also generated a series of debate on live radio television and radio talk shows and street corners with divided opinions, though a lot of those who participated said the ticket will be a serious contender for the presidency given the track records of the duo, starting with their strong advocacy from their student days at the University of Liberia and then on the national scene where they have made names for themselves as very principled persons.

However, all the speculations must have been put to rest when The Analyst in an exclusive inquiry to both of men expressed surprise that their names were in the public domain for such a protracted time being linked to a possible collaboration to the extent that a ticket has been defined and christened, “Broom 1 and Broom 2”; but the idea of a ticket was debunked by them separately.

“No, that is not true; in as much as I would have loved to have him as a running mate, nothing is close to it. I appreciate the concern of our people especially expressing optimism and confidence in our ability to lead this country, but it is not true that I have picked Cllr. Warner who is a capable colleague”, Cllr. Gongloe told The Analyst last night.

Gongloe gave an insight of how the photo came about when he said the trending photo was taken during the celebration of the Law Week organized recently by the Liberia National Bar Association, and as professional colleagues who are also like minds on national issues, they decided to take the photo.

“It is that photo which should have been a private thing surprisingly got to the public and people started to give different meaning to it”, Gongloe said.

Cllr. Warner, who is being mentioned as the running mate, only responded to our inquiry through a terse text message denying the story.

“Good morning. It is not true. I am not in politics or running for any elective office. At least I have told you”, Cllr Warner said.

After seeing two of the top forerunners for the presidency named their teams, more was expected of Cllr Gongloe who over the months has been visiting virtually all the nooks and corners of the country to solicit for voters in the country.

The standard bearer of the Unity Party, Mr. Joseph Nyuma Boakai, late April named Senator Jeremiah Kpan Koung of Nimba county as his running mate and tagged his team, Rescue Team, with him being referred to as “Rescue 1” and Senator Koung as Rescue 2”; while Alexander B. Cummings picked Cllr. Charlyne M. Brumskine, as his running mate and called themselves “Fixer 1 and Fixer 2”.

The public is in high anticipation to see who Cllr. Gongloe, presently in the United States of America soliciting support, will pick that will rhyme with his political philosophy of the rule of law, fight against corruption, the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court (WECC), among other governance priorities.

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