Both the LP and ANC are members of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). The other members of the CPP include: the All Liberian Party(ALP) and the former ruling Unity Party(UP).
Accordingly, as part of the initial selection process, it was gathered that eight slots or counties were equally distributed among the four parties(UP, ALP, LP and ANC). In the allotment process, Bomi and Gbarpolu Counties were given to the ALP, while Lofa and Bong Counties were allotted to the UP. Similarly, Montserrado and Grand Bassa were given to the LP and Grand Cape and Maryland Counties were given to the ANC. However, following the initial distribution process, the remaining seven counties were allotted based on voters’ perception survey (VPS) or a possible primary where necessary between or among the parties.
In line with this, River Cess and Nimba Counties are out for grasp between the LP and ANC-the LP has Gabriel B. Smith and Edith Gongloe-Weh for River Cess and Nimba Counties respectively, while the ANC has Wellington-Geevon Smith and Taa Wongbe for River Cess and Nimba Counties respectively. Hence an individual (aspirant) must be sacrificed by one of the two parties for the general interest of the CPP, with regards to who is more popular in his/her county and would really pull the votes for the CPP as it rambles with the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for supremacy in the ensuing electoral process.
The ruling CDC comprises of the Congress for Democratic Change(CDC), the former ruling National Patriotic Party(NPP) and the Liberia People’s Democratic Party(LPDP). Interestingly, there are certain political ideologies that need to be looked at very carefully, specifically with regard to gender sensitivity. Below is the brief background of the above opposition aspirants
Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh
The LP’s Nimba County Senatorial aspirant is a former Superintendent of the county during the first term of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She is also a sister to the President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, with both parents from Nimba County. Looking at the issue, the current Nimba County Legislative Caucus has all 11 members (nine Representatives and two Senators) being males. Furthermore, the entire local government structure, such as the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Fiscal Affairs Superintendent as well as the County Inspector are all males-thus making a good argument for the LP stalwart, who finished second in two previous elections in the county.
Mr. TahWongbe, a closed ally to the ANC Political Leader, Mr. Alexander Cummings, is a young man with great ambition of becoming the next Senator of the county. While Wongbe has been campaigning vigorously since his return from the United States of America (USA) by reaching out to his people, but may not pull the votes as Edith would, and so he might be sacrificed by the ANC for the LP’s aspirant.Ov er to River Cess, the primary is about who can save the face of the CPP in the home of President George Manneh Weah’s late mother. As the election in that county would also be a matter of showing whether the legacy of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine would be remembered while he’s gone to the great beyond, the CPP is to determine between Mr. Wellington Geevon-Smith of the ANC and Gabriel B. Smith of the LP.
Mr. W. Geevon-Smith
Mr. W. Geevon Smith is a former Superintendent of River Cess County and is regarded as one of the forerunners of the process. He narrowly came second in the 2014 Special Senatorial Election behind Senator Francis Paye. While many of the projects were not completed during his reign, he is credited for initiating several development projects, including the construction of the Central Bank of Liberia(CBL) sub-branch. Geevon-Smith, a former Editor-In-Chief of the defunct Star Radio, and Assistant Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), is believed to still be loved by his people, especially people within the Yarnee Administrative District, where he hails from.
Mr. Gabriel Smith:
Mr. Gabriel Smith is a staunch partisan of the LP, and won Grand Bassa Electoral District #3, formerly Electoral District #4, has returned to the home of his father to contest a seat in the Liberian Senate. Gabriel, a two-term (12 years) lawmaker, who served as Chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Inauguration and Liberia’s representative at the Pan African Parliament, remains a strong force in the LP. However, despite his strength in the party coupled with his experience at the Legislature, his popularity is unmatched with Geevon-Smith, and so he could be sacrificed to save the face of the CPP in River Cess, especially so, as the LP is in dire need of favor from the ANC for the country’s second most populous county-Nimba.