Boakai Presents Koung to Nimba, Urges Unity

Ganta, Nimba County – Former Vice President Joseph Boakai made a significant move on Saturday, July 8, 2023, as he took Senator Jeremiah Koung on a trip to Nimba County to formally introduce him as his chosen running mate for the upcoming October 10, 2023 presidential and general elections.

This marked Boakai’s first visit to Nimba since announcing Koung as his running mate on the Unity Party ticket. Koung, the political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) of Senator Prince Johnson, received a warm reception from the people of Nimba County.

In his address to the crowd, Boakai emphasized the importance of unity and urged the people of Nimba County to support Koung wholeheartedly. He stated, “Nimba is known for standing behind its own, and I urge you to stand behind your son Koung and provide him with your full support. If we are to win these elections on the first round, we can do it by simply supporting him.

The event drew a massive crowd, with citizens from various communities in Ganta showing their appreciation to Boakai for selecting their son, Koung. Despite heavy rainfall, enthusiastic party supporters and citizens from Districts #1 and #2 of Nimba County attended the event.

Representatives from different groups, including Muslims, Christians, youth, women, elders, and politicians, graced the occasion. The Saturday visit marked the beginning of a week-long tour across the nine districts of Nimba County for Koung and Boakai.

Prior to the rally in Ganta, the Unity Party held similar events in Kakata, Margibi County, and Gbarnga, Bong County. The large crowds at these events expressed their support for Boakai and Koung, pledging to campaign rigorously throughout Liberia.

If the Unity Party succeeds in defeating incumbent George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Nimba County will hold the second-highest seat in the country for the first time since the regime of jailed former President Charles Taylor. The late Moses Z. Blah previously held this position.

Since Koung’s selection, there has been debate about the party’s chances of winning against George Weah. Some question whether Koung’s popularity alone can secure victory, while others emphasize the advantage of having a candidate from Nimba County, the second most populous county in Liberia.

Koung’s selection as running mate comes with the backing and support of Senator Prince Johnson, who is considered the political godfather of Nimba. Prior to his selection by Boakai, Koung was named the political leader of Senator Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).

Regardless of one’s opinion of Senator Prince Johnson, he has emerged as a prominent figure in Liberia’s political landscape since 2005. Despite being viewed by some as a wartime desperado and a US-sanctioned culprit, Senator Johnson’s influence in Nimba County is undeniable.

Senator Johnson is revered by a majority of the people of Nimba as a “freedom fighter,” while human rights advocates and victims of alleged extra-judicial killings perceive him as a warlord. His political might in his native Nimba has made him the decision-maker in the election of representatives and senators.

The records show that many sons and daughters of Nimba County who challenged Senator Prince Johnson in successive elections were defeated. He played a decisive role in the 2005, 2011, and 2017 presidential run-offs, which brought former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and sitting President George Weah to power.

In the 1985 elections, Nimba County came close to achieving electoral success through the late educator Jackson F. Doe. However, the banning of Gabriel Baccus Matthews-led United People’s Party (UPP) and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer’s Liberian People’s Party (LPP) tilted the electoral outcome in favor of the Liberia Action Party of Jackson Doe. Unfortunately, Doe, a Nimba son, was deprived of his victory due to political circumstances.

Nimba County’s significant population has placed it in a favorable position politically. As the second-largest county and rich in minerals, Nimba demands a fair share of resources and equitable representation. While former President Sirleaf recognized the political importance of Nimba, President Weah’s approach has been less favorable.

Source: Front Page Africa

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