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PRESS STATEMENT BY HONORABLE WOREA-SAYWAH DUNAH, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, HOUSE OF REPRESNTATIVE, FORMER HEAD OF LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION TO THE ACP-EU JPA AND FORMER SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE NIMBA LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS, 2006-2014

Worlea-Saywah Dunah

Monrovia, Liberia: – Ladies and Gentlemen over the past months starting November 20, 2022 to current, the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), a national political party that forms part of the current government has repeatedly assumed unto itself the powers to speak for all of the people of Nimba County in its current wrangling within the ruling alliance headed by the Congress for Democratic Change.  The MDR, a minor partner in the coalition, has expressed grievances but to the extent and degree to which it has falsely claimed to represent all of the people of Nimba County has warranted corrections and clarifications as under the Constitution of 1986 political parties are to be national and not county based and constructed. Strangely too and in poignant self-contradiction too, the MDR has announced that is has left the ruling political aggregation yet it remains in the government.

We strongly condemn the MDR claims in their internal squabbles as dangerous politicking which historically has brought troubles to the development focused and peace-loving people of our county.  For the records the MDR has been consistently seeking only the welfare of its partisans and not the people of Nimba over the past five years with abundant evidence. Firstly, the MDR in 2018 instigated the removal all Nimba local government officials including City Majors, District Commissioners, Township Commissioners, Paramount and Clan Chiefs, City Councilors in Nimba County and replaced them with their partisans in fulfilment of its marriage terms with the ruling political outfit; second, all of the MDR slots in government including cabinet positions are filled solely with its partisans. And it is widely known that the MDR founder, Senator Johnson, has strenuously resisted the appointment in government of all other competent Nimbains who are not their partisans, it is a national joke that  job seekers have to  take membership and worship at his church.

It is important to note that on Sunday, November 20 barely ten months to the 2023 elections Senator Johnson issued a Press Statement that he and the MDR Party have suddenly realizing that the government has failed to give jobs to Nimbains! He says that Nimbains have not been appointed in the government in violation of an agreement the MDR entered allegedly on behalf of Nimba people   five years ago.  We demand Senator Johnson and his MDR to immediately publicized that purported secret agreement which allegedly says says “Nimbains will be appointed in government” because we know it was a MDR deal.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, contrary to the self-proclamation of control of Nimba by the MDR the simple fact is that the MDR is actually a minority party in Nimba with only three seats out of  the eleven legislative seats of the county. The current matrix of the Nimba Legislative Delegation inclusive senators and representatives is as follows: MDR-3 seats; PUP- 3 seats; UP-1 seats; CDC – 2 seats; ANC – 1 seat; Independent- 1 seat. Recently in 2021 voters in the Ganta metropolis resoundingly rejected the MDR candidate and elected an independent candidate in the by elections to fill the representative seat won by now Senator Koung of  MDR in 2017. These facts do not represent dominance as any decision in the Nimba Caucus is by majority vote which the MDR does not have.

We resist the fact that the MDR is engaged in such dangerous politicking using our great county as a bargaining chip for its political advantage and for the personal gratifications of its founder. The MDR and its leadership must immediately cease the blatant auctioneering of Nimba votes from one political party to another – Nimba votes are not in the bag of the MDR.  This totally embarrassing and shameless charade for selfish reasons must stop as it cast the people of Nimba as commodities owned by the MDR with rights to sell to the highest bidder when the fact is that as the most developed part of the Liberia the people of Nimba knows how to make decisions on national leadership.

Let me remind the MDR that one cannot sell or influence what one does not own; with only three incumbent lawmakers, two of whom are fighting for reelection there are nine other influential lawmakers in Nimba as well as a host of other opinion leaders whose voices command greater influence than their three numbers do command.

It is important to remind  the MDR  that when we entered national politics it was to provide leadership for our country, but it was also a personal pledge to fight against any personalization of the entire Nimba County into one person’s political agenda on the national scene  as history have proven that  such  dangerous politicking  tends to undermine the impact of the county on the national level and create enmity for the county as a whole.  We recall that from the period 1983 to 2003 the people of Nimba suffered greatly because the actions of some of their sons were interpreted as that of the entire county. It is a historical fact that the late General Quiwonkpa had a political struggle with his best friend Sergeant Doe over whether to return to barracks or perpetuate themselves in power which tensions Nimba people had absolutely nothing to do about as Nimba people did not know about their coup.   Also, in 1990 when  friends and allies of the late General Quiwonkpa invaded Liberia to continue the political purpose of their slain leader they falsely presented themselves seeking Nimba interests when the fact is they were after political power and personal vendettas as the Nimba people never met to decide to go to war! The Nimba people were busy as ever developing and building their county in 1990 as they are doing today. As a matter of historical fact the NPFL and INPFL killed many Nimbains including elimination of  all the matured national leaders of Nimba including the late Jackson F. Doe which established that their objective was about power for themselves.

At the same time we note that the NPFL/NPP and its splinter group, the INPFL/MDR have never requested for war crimes court to bring to book those who perpetrated the ethnic killings of Nimba people from 1985 to 2003 which includes the tragic Lutheran Church Massacre of July 29,1990, the Zahn Zayee Massacre of 1995 plus the killing of the over fifty children abducted by AFL troops in Nimba in 1990. To this day the NPFL/NPP and the INPFL/MDR have not set up any support services, assistance programs for Nimbaians survivors and families of survivors of these massacres and their wars or even cater to the needs of their ex-combatants though they enjoy power. This refusal to advocate for punishment or some form of healing processes and critically lack of assistance to survivors of these massacres by these two institutions is overwhelming proof that the Nimba name was used merely to pursue their personal and institutional political agendas and it was never about the interests, safety, and security of the Nimba people. 

And committed to that fight for Nimba when President Sirleaf pronounced that Nimba County will pay for the damages caused at the Mittal Steel Mines in Zuluyee out of our social fund after workers riots, we immediately held a press conference at our capitol offices and swiftly and harshly condemned that pronouncement though I was a sitting Secretary General of the Unity Party Caucus and Executive of the ruling party. At that time, we insisted that the riots were not a decision of the Nimba people as such the collective resources of the Nimba people will not be used for repairs as it would be a resurgence of the guilt by association which harmed our county in the period 1983 to 2003; we demanded that government hold the arrested rioters personally responsible for their actions as per our laws. And with the support of other Nimba leaders the presidency withdrew that statement.

We insist that MDR has no mandate of majority Nimbains to negotiate on its behalf, however given its claims about the purported agreement that concerns Nimba interests by demanding the public disclosure of the followings by Senator Johnson and the MDR immediately:

1.       That Senator Johnson and the MDR produce and make available to the public copies of  the so-called agreement reference in his press statements and subsequent pronouncements and present copies to all Nimba Opinion leaders, the Council of Chiefs and Traditional Leaders of Nimba , the District Commissioners Association of Nimba, the United Nimba Citizen Council of the USA and Liberia, the Nimba Kwado, the Nimba University Students Association, the Nimba Marketing Association, the Nimba Christian Community, the Chief Iman of Nimba and all interest groups of Nimba in Liberia and abroad;

2.       That Senator Johnson and the MDR present to the public and above-named stakeholders the comprehensive listing of all persons recommended by them to President Weah since 2018.

3.       That Senator Johnson and the MDR present a comprehensive listing of all monies, benefits, donations, gratuities received personally and institutionally in lieu of the so-called Nimba interest agreement for public scrutiny.

The above demands are justified because the MDR and its founder have declared themselves as Agents of the Nimba people and have been acting in that capacity; thus, under the principles of agency the Agents must report to their principals, in this case the Nimba people, of all their activities as agents for over five years as they have revealed. The self-appointed agent must report to us, the principals.

 Finally, let the word go forth to all political parties that the people of Nimba like all parts of Liberia are to be persuaded during the period of campaign and are not packaged goods or market wares whose owners are called the MDR.  We urge presidential parties to engage the Nimba people like then candidate Ellen Sirleaf did in the 2005 runoff when we aided her to that famous victory in Nimba when this same Senator Johnson had said the votes were in his bag as we bested in and politically out- maneuvered him in the mountains of Nimba landing President Sirleaf her historic first term. That elections conclusively established that the Nimba people will always make an independent decision and comes October 10, 2023 Senator Johnson who is on the ballot will be running on his works of eighteen years while President Weah will be separately appealing to Nimba people for new mandate and both in Nimba elections history are never the same thing.

We therefore call upon Senator Johnson and the MDR to withdraw that false statement purporting to represent the Nimba people as the MDR is a legal national political party with only three lawmakers out of the eleven sitting lawmakers elected by the Nimba people. Further it is only partisans of the MDR who sits in government enjoying the fruits of its political alliance.  There is no evidence to show that there ever was a mass meeting of Nimba people or Nimba Council that grants MDR any form of mandate whatsoever to represent Nimba. Lastly, the Nimba people will vote on candidates of their choice individually and not through an implied white ballot that the MDR holds thus it is imperative that political leaders canvass the county, talk to the people of their plans and solicit their support. At this stage Senator Johnson must rather worry about himself because he faces a very tough bruising senate race which will decide his personal political fate than to be pretending to speak for Nimba voters -Nimba voters will speak for themselves individually through their secret ballots on October 10, 2023, one by one!

Finally we warn all who think that the Nimba votes can be obtained in advance from the MDR or anyone in Monrovia that they are on a sure roman road to political disaster at the polls! As the development focused and economic leader of Liberia, the people of Nimba, are independent as history has shown and as the current composition of their legislative delegation confirms thus it is a political imperative to engage the people as provided by our constitution and refuse to submit bid to the MDR rumored auctioneering activities. The best electioneering bid as by our constitution is to present directly to the people of Liberia and Nimba who will determine at the polls on October 10, 2023 rather than  participating in  the reported ongoing scandalous undemocratic political auctioneering scheme of the MDR party and its founder.

Respect democracy, respect Nimba, respect Nimba voters!

______________

Worlea-Saywah Dunah

Former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee

Former Head of Delegation to the ACP-EU Assembly

Former Secretary of the Nimba Caucus

Former Representative, Districts # 3 & # 7, Nimba County, 2006 – 2018

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