By Julius T. Jaesen II
As we approach December 8, 2020, mid-term elections across Liberia’s fifteen geographical subdivisions, the Parrot Online News deems it extremely imperative to conduct electability and governance performance survey throughout the country.
The electability survey aims to investigate who are the forerunners in the upcoming elections in Liberia’s 15 counties and who are those would-be candidates that are poised to get the mandate of the people’s power to serve as Senators for yet another 9 years in the Senate. Aside from the electability survey, Parrot conducted a governance performance survey over the weekend to establish how Liberians in Grand Bassa are thinking about the performance of their government.
We wanted to hear them speak out their feelings on whether or not the government is delivering on its policy promises as contained in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. Parrot finds it befitting to use the public perception to gauge the government’s performance because it is the people who brought the CDC’s government to power and if the government is working to the expectations or benefit of the people, the works of the government will be present in their lives.
Grand Bassa County in Liberia’s fifth populated county according to Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services conducted in 2008. The County has a population of 224,839 inhabitants. The Parrot survey team over the weekend conducted interviews with 200 residents in the city of Buchanan who are all registered voters. We went from community to community and from neighbourhood to neighbourhood to interview inhabitants of Buchanan. Doing the house-to-house interview, we gathered data from 170 respondents who provided us names of major contenders in the upcoming senatorial election in the county and also rated their government performance as either excellent, good, poor or very poor.
To climax the survey, we visited two of Grand Bassa’s leading intellectual centres in Buchanan and randomly selected 15 respondents from each of the centres. The two intellectual centres were the ALL PEOPLE – ONE PEOPLE INTELLECTUAL FORUM AND WISE PEOPLE INTELLECTUAL FORUM.
Of the 200 respondents, 42.5% of respondents said they will be voting for Rep. Sir Vicent Samuel Teenezee Willie, while 40% of the respondents said they will vote for Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and 17.5% of the respondents indicated that their votes are sealed for Hon. Gbehzongar Milton Findley.
On the other front of the survey, data gathered from 200 respondents who graded the government led by President George Manneh Weah indicates that 5 respondents accounting for 2.5% said that the government performance is excellent, 10 respondents accounting for 5% pointed out that the government is performing good, while 120 respondents accounting for 60% stated that government’s performance is very poor and 65 respondents accounting for 32.5% said the government’s performance is poor.
Rep. Sir Vicent Samuel Teenezee Willie who won more votes in the survey is considered by the people as a people-centred leader whose advocacy to put the feet of concession companies to fire is paying dividends. Respondents who participated in the survey pointed out that they don’t want lawmakers anymore in their county that would be fighting over projects but lawmakers that would ensure that the bad labour practices carried out by companies in their county are addressed and that concession entities meet up with their social-corporate responsibilities to communities.
Rep. Vicent’s impressive support in the county is largely youth-driven. The young people pointed out that unlike past lawmakers, Vicent went abroad and lobbied for scholarships for the youth of the county to pursue advanced studies – something that the two Senators and people before them have not done for the young people of the county. They stated clearly that Rep. Vicent sent students to China, India, Morocco, Russia, and an additional batch of students would be leaving for study very soon in Paris, France. The young people who are supporting him boasted of Rep. Vicent sponsoring more students in various universities in Liberia. Rep. Vicent seems to be commandeering votes from partisans of the Liberty Party, largely from people who were more loyal to the late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine than to the party itself. They believe that Senator Nyonblee didn’t treat the late Brumskine well. They pointed out that when the counsellor wanted to return to the party as standard-bearer, Nyonblee and Darius Dillon hack-jacked the party and she insisted that she wouldn’t relinquish her position as a political leader. They believe that Senator Nyonblee was selling their party out to Alexander Benedict Cummings only to play second as running mate to ANC’s Cummings in the 2023 presidential faceoff. So, they who are the late Cllr. Brumskine’s loyalists don’t also find fate in giving their support to Findley but would rather prefer a neutral person.
They pointed out that Hon. Findley stood as a thorn in the flesh of the late Cllr. Brumskine – opposing him up to his shocking death last year. They claimed that the late counsellor publicly declared his support for former Senator Findley and Hon. Innis in the 2005 election in the county even though Liberty Party had candidates in the race. But regrettably, after Findley’s victory, he paid Cllr. Brumskine throughout with ingratitude. Hence, they would prefer giving their vote to Rep. Vicent Willie who is, fortunately, a Liberty partisan than Senator Nyonblee and an ingrate in Hon. Findley.
As for Senator Nyonblee, many of the people of Grand Bassa believe that she failed the county as Senator since her election in 2012. Thee elders in Grand Bassa believe that the Senator grossly disrespected them last year over the dead body of Cllr. Brumskine when they asked that the late counsellor’s body be taken to the pavilion to allow prominent sons and daughters to pay their last respect to the counsellor, but the Senator insisted and disrespected them including the head of the traditional council of Liberia, Zarzar Kawah. Since then, she has not reconciled with the elders of the county. This, political pundits, believe that it will be a big minus to her in the election. They also believe that people who helped to ensure her victory in the county were not accorded decorum and recognition from her for the roles they played in her election as Senator of Grand Bassa County.
But notwithstanding, she still stands the possibility of securing re-election if she fashioned her campaign strategies in ways that will appeal to the Bassa people. They believe Senator Nyonblee cannot be an outcast in the election because she bears the standard of their party – not just as a candidate running to retain her seat in the Senate, but as the political leader of the LP whom their godfather in the late Cllr. Brumskine turned the Bassa people’s inheritance (Liberty Party) over to manage. Therefore, voting her out as Senator will be the automatic death of the Liberty Party. Some Bassoleans strongly believe that if they cannot do anything to keep the late counsellor’s legacy, they would not afford to vote Nyonblee out in the senatorial race and allow Liberty Party and Brumskine’s vision bury with him in his coffin.
Some pointed out that they would swallow the bitter pills and re-elect Sen. Nyonblee for the sake of Brumskine. Aside from the disenchantments, others have with Senator Karnga-Lawrence, others still believe she had served the county well in the last 8 years. If you go to the county, particularly on Tubman Street, you will see solar lights that lighten the street at night hours placed there by the Senator. Besides, she runs the Nyonblee Cares Foundation that takes students, especially kids to America every year on a robot technology program. At the climax of the said program, awards are giving to countries around the world that send participants. This year, Liberia finished 50th place in the global competition. Some believe she has been working to empower market women and young girls in the county.
Besides Liberty Party support which Senator Nyonblee enjoys, she will also earn the votes of the other three constituent political parties in the CPP which would be an added advantage to secure re-election.
As for Hon. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley who finished 3rd place in our survey in the county and would be running on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change had served the county for 9 years as Senator, and during which time, he earned the confidence of his colleague Senators to serve as Pro-tempore of the Senate for six years making him the number 4 bigger person in the country per the constitution. During his time, it is believed that he educated lots of young people in the county. His achievements are largely seen not in infrastructure developments in the county but through the human capacity development of the young people minds.
When CDC’s government came to power in 2018 January, Hon. Findley influenced the appointment of some influential and brilliant young people from the county by George Weah as Assistant Ministers and other senior-level positions in the county. But notwithstanding, many citizens of Bassa still believe that Findley’s 9 years as Senator in Grand Bassa didn’t benefit the county largely, especially so when he became Pro-tempore of the Senate. They believe that as close he was to then-President Johnson-Sirleaf, he didn’t do much for Grand Bassa to benefit from the national cake. They believe it was because he failed in the county that was the reason he was voted out in 2014 and brought in Jonathon Kaipay.
But additionally, Hon. Findley would face greater obstacles in winning the December 8, 2020 poll in Grand Bassa. Firstly, loyalists to the late Brumskine and members of the Liberty party would work hard to ensure that Hon. Findley doesn’t get elected as Senator because of his opposition to the counsellor even in his coffin. Secondly, some Cdceans see Weah’s pick of Findley as disrespectful to the county chapter of the party as they had no hand in his selection to run on their party ticket. Therefore, some of them we gathered data from to said they will abstain from voting in the election, and while others indicated they would cast their votes for Rep. Vicent Willie. Besides, political pundits believe that the dismal and abysmal performance of the government of George Weah will hinder Findley’s chances of winning the election in the county.
The electability and governance performance survey was conducted through the house to house interviews with families and focused group discussions were held with 30 respondents randomly selected from two of Grand Bassa’s leading intellectual centres in Buchanan.
The survey led by Associate Managing Editor of Parrot was conducted with a total of 200 registered voters in Grand Bassa County who were selected as respondents
The survey chose Taro Yamane’s statistical formula to calculate the sample population. We are overly confident that the precision or exactitude of this survey is 95% and 5% error. Therefore, the formula goes:
Ss=n= sample size
e= Level of precision or sampling of error is + or -5%
The 200 interviews were fully transcribed using adobe audition 1.5 and advanced Microsoft equipment that allowed audio transcriptions. The transcriptions were assembled and stored according to different groups of participants.
2.0 Demographic of the Respondents
Respondents Distribution by Gender
The sample population was categorized as indicated in table 2.1. The survey interviewed 130 males which accounted for 65% of the total respondents and 70 females accounting for 35% of the overall respondents.
2.2 Age Distribution of respondents
|50 & Above||30||15%|
Table 2.2 shows the sampled population age distribution of respondents interviewed during the electability and governance performance survey. The 200 respondents the survey gathered data from were divided into age groups as indicated in the above table. 21-29 accounts for 30% and 30-39 accounts for 34.5%, 40-49 accounts for 20.5% and 50 and above accounts for 15%.
Table 2.3 Frequency Distribution showing the Education of Respondents
|High school diploma||102||51%|
|Less than high school||62||31%|
The above table indicates that 51% of the respondents are high school graduate, 31% also account for less than high school, 8% are in college and 10% are college graduate.
Table 2.4 Frequency Distribution showing the Votes of Contestants
|Vincent S.T. Willie||85||42.5%|
|Gbehzohngar M. Findley||35||17.5%|
Table 2.4 shows the results of the survey gathered from 200 respondents concerning the three major contenders in the upcoming senatorial faceoff in Grand Bassa County. The results show that 85 of the 200 respondents accounting for 42.5% said they will be voting for Rep. Sir Vincent Samuel Teenezee Willie, 80 respondents accounting for 40% indicated in the survey that they would vote for Hon. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence as Senator and 35 respondents accounting for 17.5% mentioned that their votes would be cast for Hon. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley.
Table 2.5 Frequency Distribution Showing the Performance Rating of the Government
Table 2.5 shows the results of the survey gathered from 200 respondents who graded the government led by President George Manneh Weah. The results indicate that 5 respondents accounting for 2.5% said that the government’s performance is excellent, 10 respondents accounting for 5% pointed that the government is performing good, while 120 respondents accounting for 60% stated that the government’s performance is very poor and 65 respondents accounting for 32.5% said the government’s performance is poor.
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