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J. Milton Teahjay's senatorial victory perhaps a sign of hope for Sinoe County

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh              J. Milton Teahjay


A contentious senate race between incumbent Mobutu V. Nyenpan and former Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay that pits one group (Sarpo and Kru) against the other in an imaginary way, finally came to an end with Teahjay defeating Nyenpan for a chance to represent the people of Sinoe County.

With 50.2 percent of the votes for Teahjay to Mobutu Nyenpan’s 38.1 percent, Juojulue Milton Teahjay defeated Nyenpan decisively, to make his own mark in the Liberian senate.

As it is now, tenure for senators is a record nine years, and Teahjay is poised to complete his first term around this time in 2023.

If the constitution is not amended as some of us have advocated to have those term limits reduced, tenure for Senators and Representatives who are also elected to a seven-year term will remain as is; making it difficult for would-be politicians to even attempt to enter the race for either chamber.

I am glad the senatorial elections are over. And I am equally elated that the painfully corrupt and inept Mobutu V. Nyanpan lost badly to the fearlessly bombastic and in-your-face Teahjay.

As a guy who has never run from confrontation, Teahjay went from being a gadfly to being a serious activist in his previous life. Over the years since Teahjay has jumped from the United People’s Party (UPP) to Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) to George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change, and now Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party, which finally sealed his victory.

Teahjay has made hopping around from one political party to another, which is opportunistic politics a career.

However, Sinoe County needs Teahjay’s energy, his name recognition, his political experience and the vast ideas he brings to the table from his one-time progressive activist resume in his previous life, to his executive experience as Superintendent of one of Liberia’s oldest and historic counties.

Whether Teahjay is capable of turning the aftermath of his victory into practical results to benefit his people in that economically neglected and politically deprived southeastern county is to be seen.

Truth is, Teahjay won and Nyenpan lost.

And the other truth also is, the people of Sinoe County, even though they don’t expect miracles from their new senator, at least expect results.

If Teahjay fails to deliver than it is a complete waste of time to think or advocate change, especially when change in that part of the world can resemble the same old “bottle of wine” in a different bottle.

The people of Sinoe County deserves better.

They need jobs, accessible and affordable healthcare, better roads, better schools, clean air and a decent place to live and raise their families.

Can Teahjay achieve those goals?

He probably could if the legislative delegation from that region can put their tribal loyalty, hatred and animosities aside to work together in the interest of their people to achieve positive and life-saving results.

That is if Teahjay can patiently collaborate and work with others to get those results.

However, the hatred of Teahjay, and Teahjay’s own mistrust and hatred of his political enemies and perceived enemies could raise its narrow head again at a time when cooperation is needed from all to bring the legislative “pork” home to make Sinoe County a decent and prosperous place to live.

We all heard or read about the so-called problems Teahjay’s senatorial run against Nyenpan generated, coupled with his incarceration and the silly chatter that J. Milton Teahjay’s possible victory could gave the Kru people two legislators.

However, since Sinoe County is already being represented by Joseph Nagbe (Kru) and the current senator (the story goes), electing Teahjay who is supposedly Kru could gave the Krao people two representation from their ethnic group.

This is how tribal war often flares up; that is when loose and silly talk of this kind makes it way into the public sphere and absorbed by vulnerable tribalists, can add fuel to the fire.

As a former resident of Billobokree, Juarzon and ENI Mission (Plahndiabo), I find the Sarpo people in those areas to be good and responsible people whose day-to-day concerns are to live in peace and take care of their families.

To plant this (Kru) nonsense in these people’s mind out of political expediency and provide unnecessary cover to protect Mobutu Nyenpan, who has been in office since 2005, and cannot show anything he has done for Sinoe County, is insane.

If anything, J. Milton Teahjay who speaks fluent Sarpo and hails from nearby Tarjuazon is geographically closer to Juarzon and the Sarpo people than the Kru people.

I am not a linguist and I am not trying to engage in tribal sub-categorization. What I am saying is that most Kru people will find it difficult understanding Plahn, Kulu or the Tarjuozon people and their dialect. So why stir tribal emotions by throwing Teahjay to the Kru tribe, when the issues about Sinoe County supposed to be at the forefront?

Mobuto V. Nyenpan deserves what he got. He had to go! Let’s celebrate Teahjay’s victory.



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