Report by Selma Lomax, firstname.lastname@example.org
With over 150 appointments made so far, there is no notable person from Bong County being appointed, especially in ministerial and Managing Director positions.
Since the release of the first, second and third appointment lists, citizens of the County have taken to the social media and community radio stations in the county calling on the President to take timely action and re-assess the prevailing reality that excludes Bong County from his Cabinet.
They are contending that they overwhelmingly supported the CDC by producing the second highest votes, next to Montserrado County. They said by now there should have been more people from Bong who are equally qualified on the appointment lists.
Kusee Amrstrong, a native of Bong County, who has two Master’s degrees from Cuttington University Graduate School, headed the media team in Bong and his support to the Coalition Democratic Change (CDC) in the December 26, 2017 runoff election would have landed him relevant to the county in President George Weah’s government.
Even though several sons and daughters of Bong County have submitted resumes, which have been submitted to the President’s office, yet none has been appointed.
Mr. Armstrong and others who supported said they did it because they needed change that could include Bong County.
So far, only Esther Walker Superintendent designate – has been hired under the CDC -led government from Bong.
Armstrong and several others expressed their concerns at a meeting Tuesday in Gbarnga, a day after Weah announced the third batch of appointments.
“I was hoping that this government would have been inclusive with the appointments, particularly looking at the role Bong County played in the election of the CDC,” said Armstrong, who is a lecturer at Cuttington University.
The CDC won Bong County in the first and second rounds of elections.
In the second round the CDC obtained 70,668, which amounted to 64.2 percent of the total county votes.
Of the 15 counties, Bong has the third largest population of 208, 150registered voters and gave the CDC the second highest votes in the Country.
“I am just one of the over 30 qualified persons who supported the CDC in Bong County whose name have not been mentioned in the three appointments by President Weah,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he and others supported the CDC because they believe in the party’s ideology.
President Weah, then presidential candidate assured them that their sacrifices for him and the CDC ‘’would not have gone unnoticed if the CDC won.”
Armstrong was an influential member of the CDC campaign team in Bong County during the December 26 runoff election.
He gathered data sheets for the party in the county’s 15 administrative districts.
He is among 27 Bong residents who have one or two master degrees that formed a group dubbed “Bong County Agenda” platform.
Their goal was to deliver the county to the CDC. The group comprised of prominent citizens of Bong County who have worked with institutions in the county and other parts of the country over the years.
Supporters of the Secretary General of former legislative candidates and eminent citizens of Bong County who organized themselves into a political block and supported the CDC, James Dorbor Sao, said the group was instrumental in encouraging voters to support the CDC in the county’s 15 administrative districts.
They said their boss was very involved with mobilizing citizens to vote for change and they still don’t regret their support for the CDC but feel it is time to factor Bong in President Weah’s cabinet.
Sao ran unsuccessfully for the county’s electoral district five seat during the October 2017 elections.
The chairman of Sao campaign, Daniel Dudu, maintains that if Bong is not given attention, it would appear as though the VP is not concerned about her own county inclusion in the government.
He said his boss Sao has two Master Degrees, one in Public Administration with emphasis in Public Sector Management from Cuttington Graduate School.
Daniel Dudu sai, he and Sao campaigned heavily for the CDC in District #5 and across the county.
The CDC received the highest votes in percentage from district 5 than any other district in the county.
It is understood by supporters that VP Jewel Howard Taylor is making efforts for Bong County inclusion in the cabinet, but it is yet to produce the result citizens’ back home need.
Sao supporters hope that President Weah will take Bong County inclusion a priority so as to ease the tension and anxiety in the county about the appointment of citizens of the county, especially those who have experience and required credentials, which are available.
Supporters of Edward Gboe, former executive director of the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) and an experienced manager, also a Master degree holder in Public Sector Management, who is one of the group’s members expressed similar concerns.
Gboe served as the chairman for the group and also ran unsuccessfully for district three seat and decided to support the CDC.
He led a team of 22 former legislative candidates who were unsuccessful in the 2017 elections to support the CDC in the runoff election.
They provided resources in terms of vehicles, motorcycles, and traveling allowances for team members on their own to support the CDC.
Supporters of Gboe through their Chairman, Kolleh Reeves, said the group is raising the alarm now, so that the CDC-led government gets the message that people of Bong County are concerned about their eminent sons and daughters being left out of governance process after all the effort to attain victory for CDC.
“I don’t imagine a cabinet convening without the presence of Bong County.” The VP can’t always champion the cause of the county in her role as Vice President for the country”, Reeves lamented.
The absence of Bong County natives in Weah’s government is dominating the airwaves of the county’s two leading radio station – Super Bongese and Radio Gbarnga.
Caller after caller expressed frustration with Weah and Howard Taylor for not appointing more Bong citizens to the government.
William Doe, a partisan of the CDC, said people of Bong deserve representation in the CDC-led government at a recognizable extent.
Marcus Kesselle, also a partisan of the CDC, said he and others are planning to protest in Monrovia about the exclusion of Bong citizens in the Weah-Led government.
“We have already finalized everything to stage our protest in Monrovia in the wake of the snub shown the people of Bong,” he said.
Sam Mannah, presidential press secretary, said President Weah’s appointments are not based on tribe or county, but all the 15 counties in the country are currently represented in the cabinet except Bong County.
This admittedly confirms the exclusion of Bong County.