MONROVIA: As Liberians look forward to make their final decision on the choice for the presidency in the ensuing November 14, 2023 presidential run off, a former Superintendent of Nimba County and a strong voice for women leadership in the county, Madam Edith Gongloe -Weh said President George Manneh Weah is in a better position to provide quality leadership for the country than former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai on the basis of being “mentally, physically and analytically” fit to render sound judgment when it matters most.
Madam Gongloe-Weh made the assertion weekend when she spoke on a live interview program anchored by Radio Kerhearmahn in Nimba to respond to questions on what motivated her to endorse President Weah and the chances of the President winning the run off as well as key issues surrounding local politics in Nimba County.
“Boakai is a good man and I will not follow the similar route what Senator Koung said about him in 2020, talking about Boakai was old, the his braining will not function well, but when you are old, everything begin to decline, you need to relax, you need to be calm when you reach your twilight time.
“Liberia needs a leader that will make sober decision, but if you have a leader who cannot make a decision analytically, incapable at that time due to age, due to health, all of that then we have to begin to think twice, so I made my decision to support President Weah, because he has done quite a lot but they are not being reported.
“You know when you live out of Liberia, you live on the sentiment of what is on the internet, all these different podcasts.
“If President Weah was that bad, Liberians would have not voted for him the way they did. Quiet in my view, I don’t think President Weah or the CDC even campaigned during the first round. We didn’t see many of them in Nimba. But to the extent throughout Liberia, he beat every contestant in the first round.
“Even the UP that vigorously campaigned did not make up with him. Senators Johnson and Koung campaigned throughout the length and breadth of Nimba but I could not change anything .So it means the Liberian people still believe and trust President George Weah”
Madam Gongloe-Weh who said her decision to support Weah was not taken overnight but was a product of wider consultation among her supporter, said one of the reasons she took the decision was to make some of the corrections about “wrongs done against the President by Senators Prince Y. Johnson and Jeremiah Kpan Koung which if not done, will constitute a stigma on us as county”
And let me tell you why. We can’t be a county that is noted for backstabbing. We can behave like that if you make the rest of Liberia to be against us. Take the point of Senators Johnson and Senator Koung. They were the ones that were so close to President Weah.
“When Johnson brought President Weah here, at the time he was running for the presidency and told the people of Nimba, this is your nephew, he comes from Gbi – Doru, this is your nephew, he is good, vote for him, and Nimba did. And President Weah told him that anything you need for Nimba I will do it. He told the Nimbaians anything you want, you got to go through your godfather.
“Anything Senator Johnson tells me I will do , he did, he followed through with his promise. Senator Johnson had a list of people. A story is told but I don’t know how true it is, that Senator Johnson was selling positions, if you want a ministerial job you have to pay a certain amount of money, he recommends you to President Weah. Not only that, I can remember, he was asking for a social development fund, it was given. What did they do with it?
She lamented that the people of Nimba were short changed by Senator Johnson and some of his close allies because there is nothing to show for the county after they collected the county’s social development fund to the extent that the yellow machines which were bought under her stewardship as superintendent are into bushes in ruin even after some county officials in collaboration with Senator Johnson collected money for repairs and nothing was done.
She berated both Senators Johnson and Koung for the level of ungratefulness and act of betrayal exhibited by the two lawmakers after they decided to pay the President in evil for the good he did for them.
“So it was not good for Johnson and koung to have backstabbed President Weah who answered to everything they wanted. Senator Koung was here, he never called Weah President Weah; he called him my Southeastern brother. He said he traced their relationship in the Southeast and called him his cousin and big brother, and the President gave him everything.
“Then on the eve of the election, you go backstab the man. If Nimba people followed that, it comes a stigma, we want to erase the stigma and so for us, we have decided that since the bad people left Weah, so the good people should fill the void and help him to the second term to lead this country”, she said
Asked whether it was difficult to market President Weah in Nimba County where one of its sons, Senator Koung is a running mate to the main rival against the President, the iron lady of Nimba politics said the track records of the President with respect to the level of projects executed as well as those ongoing endeared him to the people of Nimba county and are willing to give him a second term.
“I am supporting president weah on the basis of principle. It has to do with my own political analysis, do what is right and I think it is fair enough to see it as such. People talk about the development the president has done that is not being trumpeted
“President Weah has done quite great, even a lot more than President Taylor who Nimba people idolized, who Nimba people fought for, who Nimba people lost lives for, even more than Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who had all the international connections and the funding. With little resources, look this government has not been supported by the international partners as much as the up government but they have done far better than previous administrations.
“The Ganta-Harper high way that was way from Tolbert government, when Doe came, said I will finish what Tolbert started Doe did not do an inch, Taylor did not touch it, Ellen, with all the international funding and connections in 12 years did not do it
President Weah has started it. The road is ongoing, you can see, paved all the way to Cocopa, and the road already graded, from here to tapita it takes less than 3 hours
The road from here to Sanniquellie started under Ellen in 2013, it was not done up to 2018. President finished it within 3 years. The road from Sanniquilie to Karnplay had never being touched, in fact it has always been a nightmare, the President has started it and it is extending all the way to Loquatuo, they are grading the road
The Karnplay and Bahn High otherwise called death traps have been modernized; given school buses , he built roads in districts 4 and 5, not all but significant portions. He did those roads because of senator Johnson but senator Johnson decided to pay him back by backstabbing him”, she said.
She dismissed the insinuation that she is obstructing the chance of a fellow Nimbaian from being elected as Vice President of Liberia which could be a clear pathway to the Presidency and added that Nimba does not need to go through the back door or any other channel to the President because two prominent sons from the county contested the presidency which was direct but could not scale through the hurdle.
“First of all, let us set the record straight and reframe the answer. If Nimba wanted to take a shot at the presidency then Nimba the opportunity to do that came during the just concluded general elections. Cllr Tiawan Saye Gongloe was running for the presidency, that was a straight shot. Dr. Jeremiah Whappoe was running for the second time for the presidency. So if Nimba wanted to be a factor in Liberia especially at the level of the executive, any of these gentlemen would have been because there was no back door, no front door, it was going straight for the presidency. So it beats that question of Nimba wanting the presidency.
“The vice president position is a nominal position and former vice president joseph nyuma boakai puts it correctly when he said that it is a position that you will have to take instruction from the president, you cannot be independent, not effective, no say, no direction, you must do what the President wants you to do”, she said
She maintained it was wrong for some people to have anything against her because there is no Nimbaian in the second round for the Presidency; it is a straight race between President Weah and former Vice President Boakai.
The grass root politician admitted being supported by the ruling establishment with cash, vehicle and other logistics, describing the support as “not strange in politics because you need to spend to campaign and people should not make to appear that they do not know about it”
Speaking further, she denied the allegation that she has a beef with Senator Koung from the outcome of the 2020 senatorial race where she was defeated by the now UP vice standard bearer and said she has put everything behind and focusing on the future
“It is totally untrue that I will be harboring something against Senator Koung. I don’t have anything personal against him. If I am to have something against anyone, it will be the ruling CDC because they were the ones that supported him but here I am here supporting the President’s reelection bid.
She accused Koung of being insincere about reconciliation and the one Nimba agenda because “he is not a unifier, he was the one going after my supporter immediately after his election. She said she expected him to have first called her supporters to talk to them after the election and also talk to her but instead was after her supporters victimizing them.