UP and PUP Lawmakers to Support Johnson Gwaikolo’s Speakership Ambition

GANTA, Nimba – Rep. Samuel G. Kogar of Nimba’s fifth electoral district has indicated that lawmakers from Unity Party and the People’s Unification Party intend to join forces to support the bid of Johnson Gwaikolo as speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gwaikolo is the newly elected parliament member of from Nimba’s ninth district, having unseated the outgoing Rep. Matenokay Tingban.

According to Kogar, Gwaikolo’s inexperience in the legislature should not disqualify him because he possesses the recipe needed to make a good speaker.

“Gwaikolo has served in government in so many capacities – and also served at the House as secretary to the Ways, Means, and Finance Committee. He has served as deputy minister for Revenue at the Ministry of Finance; deputy minister for foreign affairs and administration; deputy minister for public works at the Ministry of Public Works and currently, he’s serving as the president of the United Methodist University – so, he has the qualifications to serve in that position,” said Kogar.

Kogar has also said that the group of lawmakers intend to support Rep. Prince Moye of Bong’s second district for the post of deputy speaker.

PUP has been a collaborating party to the ruling Unity Party and Emmanuel Nuquay, a member of PUP, was the running mate on the Unity Party presidential ticket. Unity Party and PUP have a joint representation of 25 lawmakers while the incoming ruling government, the Coalition for Democratic Change, will have 22 lawmakers at the lower house.

While Kogar believes that his coalition of lawmakers has the numerical strength to clinch the post, he did not rule out the need for lobbying with other parties for support. Kogar said negotiations are ongoing to secure support from CDC lawmakers in electing Gwaikolo as speaker.

“But if CDC is to [put forth] a candidate, then either of us will have to produce the speaker or the deputy speaker,” Kogar noted, suggesting a goal of splitting the positions between the two major coalitions.

“There are other political parties that may join us in the process, and who knows, based on our strength, we just might emerge as victors,” he said.

There have already been rumors that Bomi lawmaker Edwin M. Snowe and Maryland Rep. Bhofal Chambers, both experienced at the legislature, would vie for the speaker position. However, Kogar said that Moye, Snowe, and Rep. Clarence Massaquoi had agreed to “join arms for Hon. Gwaikolo.”

The election of a new speaker is expected to take place in the coming weeks, with appointments to standing committees to be made shortly after.

Featured photo courtesy of National Elections Commission

Arrington Ballah

A resident of Ganta, Nimba County, Arrington has a background working with credit unions and other organizations dedicated to rural finance.

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