By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan (Correspondent)
Six of the eight Candidates contesting in the December 08 elections in Bong County were present at the Gbarnga Administration building on Sunday, November 29, 2020 to deliver their manifestoes to the citizens.
Organized by the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives LMDI with support from USAID through Internews Liberia Media Development LMD, the Docor Debate in Gbarnga witnessed the six Candidates explaining their platforms and how they intend to help ensure the progress of Bong County.
Under a very peaceful atmosphere, supporters of the Candidates gathered and listened as the Ducor Debates had already attracted nothing less than the strengthening of Liberia’s democracy.
Internews Liberia Deputy Chief of Party Jefferson Massa gave the overview of the Liberia Media Development Project and how it intends to improve the professionalism of the Liberian media.
Mr. Massah said Internews has been implementing the project since 2017 maintaining that this technically this will be their last year.
“In 2017, we funded the LMDI, the Press Union of Liberia and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building to organize debates in all of the seventy three electoral districts across the Country. I made significant progress as well because we had over twenty three thousand citizens participating with over sixty percent of the Candidates who contested during that time” he adds.
He said the importance of the debate is to create the platform for citizens to interact with those that want to lead them through which local issues per county focused can be high on the agenda.
The Internews Liberia Deputy Chief of Party encouraged participants to be focused and peacefully interact with their Candidates void of violence.
He then reaffirmed Internews-Liberia’s commitment, to supporting the already progress made democracy in Liberia.
When given the opportunity to present their manifestoes to the audience, Candidate Menipakei Dumoe, who did not mention his free Charles Taylor message when he firstly appeared to summarize his platform in five minutes, spoke about change in Leadership which according to him will bring economic development.
Mr. Dumoe accused Deputy Speaker Prince Moye and Incumbent Senator Henry Yallah of being responsible for what he calls the backwardness of the County, an accusation the duo (Yallah and Moye) denied.
Former Agriculture Minister Dr. Mogana Flomo who believed to be the most educated Candidate in the raise said he sees desperation in the faces of the voters, committing himself to solving the problem through food security.
He said Liberia spends millions of Dollars to import food in the Country adding that such amount needs to be used here in the Country by farmers to produce their own food which will make great impact on the Country’s economic.
Deputy House Speaker Prince Kermue Moye listed five pillows ringing from peace and Unity, to decentralization of developments and empowering youths to take on leadership amongst others.
He said over the past, the developments of Bong County have not been decentralized on grounds that that was the reason a bill to divide the County resurfaced at the Senate.
Mr. Mohammed Nasser who works with the Youth Opportunity Project promised pre and post elections peace and tranquility also stating that he will ensure a united Legislative Caucus through which young people will be transformed.
“Right now, the Caucus is divided; our nine Lawmakers have found a bloc, five on one side and four on the other side. We can assure you that when elected, we will not support that, and everything will be okay because we are coming to the Senate with open heart.
From the Non-governmental organization back grown, Madam Dorothy Tooman, the lone female contestant in Bong County said she will take responsibility of the position ringing from lawmaking to oversight and representation.
“I am not going to be a senator that you will not see; we will be available anytime you need us. We ensure the livelihood of the local people by advocating for supports for hospitals and clinics in Bong County” she maintained.
The former Development Education Network Boss also stressed the need for giving Bong County what it deserves.
She promised to give back part of her salaries to Bong County for development purposes.
Incumbent Senator Henry Willie Yallah who entered the hall about one hour late said before entering the santé, he identified nine problems in Bong County and out of the number, he has helped solve three, promising to solve the remaining six when he is re-elected.
“Under my watch as Chairperson on Information Cultural and Tourism, we passed the freedom of Information Act that gives you the opportunity to express. The next thing we did was to support the Land right Act which was removed from Land Commission to Land Authority.
Receptions from the different supporters who had gone to witness the debate manifested their willingness to keep hearing from those intending to lead the County.
Our Bong County Correspondent says Incumbent Senator Henry Yallah and Deputy House Speaker Prince Moye were answerable to many questions that were asked by the four Candidates.
As it stands, Senator Yallah and Representative Moye have over the past accused one another on several issues but during the debate, it appeared different.
Senator Yallah failed to ask Hon. Moye a single question as well as Hon. Moye who also did not ask Senator Yallah one.
At the end of the debate supporters of the Candidates were exacted, they appreciated LMDI and USAID for providing the opportunity for them to interact with their Candidates.