Gbarpolu County – Only one out of 10 representative aspirants attended a meeting in electoral district one, Gbarpolu County where constituents proposed six development priorities to be implemented by the candidate who may emerge winner of the 2017 representative election.
The constituents presented their plight on August 16 despite the absence of the majority of aspirants. They had spent weeks planning the event to allow them to engage the candidates.
“If they will not come to our call, I fear that tomorrow if any of them win, they will not call us too and it means that we will remain at square one.” – Jerry Karmo, a voter.
Outlining the priorities, Stephen Kollie, representative of the civil society organizations in the county, said the issues were enlisted after extensive dialogues with various communities.
“As a representative candidate, we want you to adopt and solve these key concerns if elected, although it is only you alone here this is just the beginning of our engagement,” Kollie told the only aspirant in attendance.
The pavement of major roads connecting the county with Monrovia, support to farmers, youth empowerment through vocational skill training, water and sanitation, and expansion of improved healthcare services are on the district’s list of priorities.
“We can’t do a lot of farming activities even though there is a lot of lands, so there is a need for agricultural tools for farmers to improve our economy, local production, and livelihood,” he said.
Continue Kollie: “With the above priorities areas, it’s our hope that we have an accountable representative after October 10, 2017. A representative that will commit to holding town-hall meetings at least once a year with our community.”
The community dialogue, the first of its kind in the district was described by many as educative and a platform to engage politicians.
Mama Korpo, the leader of the disable union in the district, praised the only aspirant for attending and explaining his plans for the district.
“We will decide the faith of the other politicians that dashed our concerns by not attending,” she said.
“If they will not come to our call, I fear that tomorrow if any of them win, they will not call us too and it means that we will remain at square one,” said Jerry Karmo.
The only aspirant attending the community dialogue, Edrick Fargbanah Noah of the Liberty Party, said he’s familiar with the ‘many unsolved’ constraints of the district due to his engagements with locals.
“I realized that my people were facing many difficulties and we decided to advocate but my advocacy did not work and few of my colleagues asked me to contest,” he said.
“I am in this race because of you. I am in this race because of the plight of the district, because of the plights of the county.”
Noah attributes a good representative to be a person “knowledgeable about your people concerns, love your people and willing to transform the condition the people are faced with”.
“I am a candidate of Liberty Party in district one in Gbarpolu and the Liberty Party has in its platform four different pillows: reconciliation, reformed, rebuild and recovery. But for the purpose of my district I will add health, education, agricultural and youth development,” he said, promising to work with the people make the district “a better place”.
“A better place means, the health system will be supported, the youth will be empowered, our road condition will be improved and out of the 15 staffs (for my office), 10 will be based in the district.”
Report By: Henry B. Gboluma, Jr.