Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor
Monrovia - Kpelle presidency, as a political concept, has sneaked its way into Liberia’s political lexicon a couple of months ago. It all started like a lambent flame in September 2013 when members of the Bong legislative caucus reportedly met at a local hotel in Monrovia to discuss the prospects of a ‘native president’ – who apparently should be a Kpelle, Liberia’s largest tribal speaking group.
Half-way into the special senatorial election in 2014, it gained so much momentum. And by the time campaigns for the special senatorial election intensified in Bong and Margibi Counties last year, it had become the most topical political issue not just in the two counties but Liberia as a whole.
Now all seems not to be well within the fold of the Bong legislative caucus, the architect of the Kpelle presidency project. FrontPageAfrica has learnt that division among some members of the Bong legislative caucus couple with some lawmaker’s individual presidential or vice presidential quest is making things increasingly difficult to sell the Kpelle presidency.
The lawmaker of electoral district seven, Corpu Barclay, is at loggerheads with Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor being rated as the political leader of Bong County and he derides Howard-Taylor’s attempt at uniting the county for the forthcoming presidential election. Rep. Barclay says she cannot comprehend how Howard-Taylor can surface from nowhere and be laying claims of being the political leader of Bong county and eyeing the presidency when there are other prominent sons of the county who had been treading softly on the issue.
Rep. Adam Bill Corneh of electoral district six believes that a Kpelle has the potential of becoming president in 2017 if there is unity, hence his attempts to unify the county. He also supports the formation of the People’s Unification Party (PUP), a party formed by political elites of Bong and Margibi County.
Electoral district four lawmaker Lester Paye has never shown any open interest for the Kpelle presidency project. During the December 2014 Special senatorial election, under the aegis of the Zota branch of the People’s Unification Party, a potential Representative candidate of district four, James Paye, canvassed for senatorial candidate Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpah, who was touted as the proposed candidate of the PUP in Bong.
This stance of James Paye killed any further interest the fun loving lawmaker had for the Kpelle presidency project since his arch-enemy was among the bands seeking support for Dr. Tokpa. Rep. Paye distanced himself from being part of Dr. Tokpah’s campaign because he suspected the roles of James Paye in mobilizing for the candidacy of Dr. Tokpa.
The lawmaker of electoral district three, George Mulbah, had shown little commitment to the Kpelle presidency project, except perhaps, occasional fine speeches without commensurate momentum. The move by some members of the caucus to form the PUP, a political umbrella party opting for the emergence of a native president, further raised Rep. Mulbah’s suspicion over the entire Kpelle presidency project and it is believed he has distanced himself from the entire exercise. The lawmaker in recent time has remained silent over the issue. His body language has not suggested a flair or disinterest for the project. It is obvious that the Kpelle political elites have not formed enough formidable alliance to be able to ask other regions of Liberia to support their aspirations.