The Liberia Media for Democratic Initiative (LMDI) on Sunday, June 19, 2022 commenced day one of three in series of Debate ahead of the Senatorial Bi-Election in Lofa County.
Under the canopy of what is described as Ducor Debate, citizens of Lofa stormed the Voinjama City Hall to listen to their leaders on what they intend to do for them if they are elected Senator of their beloved County.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the debate, the head of LMDI, John Kollie stressed the need to make debate part of the Country’s democratic process.
Kollie assured the gathering that his institution with support and partnership from Internews via USAID will continue to create the avenue for the exchange of ideas void of violence in order to strength and enhance the Democratic processes in Liberia.
According to him, six of the satisfied candidates by the National Election Commission (NEC) for the bi-election were extended official invitation but without written or verbal excuses, only two out of the six candidates participated in Day One of the debate in Voinjama City.
Cllr. Joseph Jallah, Dr. George Beyan, Sumo Kupee and Galakpai Kortima all failed to attend Day One of the Ducor Debate in Voinjama City.
Kollie hailed independent candidate Momo Cyrus and district four Representative and candidate Mariamu Fofana for honoring the LMDI’s invitation to speak to their people.
With the stage well set and the audience attentively listen to their people, the debate immediately began with self-introduction from both candidates including brief highlights of their respective platforms.
According to candidate Momo Cyrus, he entered the race to help develop Lofa for the betterment of his people.
Also, candidate Mariamu Fofana noted that she promised to change the political narratives of the County if elected Senator of Lofa County.
As the debate further progresses with trending issues, the two candidates were asked seven trending issues directly connected to the County to include in summary, Road connectivity, agriculture, commercial bank reintroduction, peace and unity as well as concessions.
Addressing those issues, candidate Cyrus assured his people that he will help unify already divided Lofa through the hosting of a national conference, the reintroduction of commercial bank in Voinjama City in a period of six months as well as making pliable the road from Konia to Voinjama.
Additionally, he promised to empower his people through agriculture, women and youth empowerment among others.
As for candidate Fofana, she disagrees with her counterpart, that Lofa is divided; “Lofa is not divided”, she emphasized.
According to her, as a siting Representative, she has helped to address land dispute as well as tribal and religious conflicts in her district and currently, the people are now living happily together as such, she does not hold the view that Lofa is divided.
Under the reintroduction of commercial bank in Lofa, she stated that it is a process and has over the period made some interventions adding that she can’t be very clear on when commercial bank will come to Lofa.
“Lofa is still the bread basket for Liberia, contrary to Cyrus’s view that the County is not”, she noted.
Madam Fofana said even though statistic puts Nimba slightly ahead of Lofa in food production, but Lofa is still Liberia’s bread and basket.
“The condition that existed before which made Lofa the break and basket is no more as such, our people are now coerced to take their produce to neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea”, she noted.
As for road construction, she bragged that she earlier made some interventions to rehabilitate farm to market roads in her district, however, she told the gathering that the Konia to Voinjama Road which is also in her district, very strategic and significant, is still in a deplorable stated and she mentioned that she can’t do such alone as a lawmaker of her district because it is a huge project.
The highly charged debate later receives mix views when Madam Fofana disclosed that she does not have any question to ask Momo Cyrus even though she received and responded to three solid questions from candidate Cyrus including a rebuttal.
At the same time, both candidates responding to series of questions from the audience promised to address some of the challenges within the County, however, Momo Cyrus branded his counterpart responses as theoretical while he promised on the order hand, to be practical in addressing issues affecting the people of Lofa with timeline specifics.
Ahead of Day Two of the Ducor debate slated for June 22, 2022, Madam Fofan encouraged her people to do the needful and elect her as the most experienced candidate in the race, having served as a Representative of Voinjama, District four, Lofa County for nearly twelve years.
On the other hand, Momo Cyrus called on Lofians to look at tangibles and elect him as the best choice and development giant for Lofa County, “I am the savior and the political redeemer who will help change the dynamics for my people “, he bragged .
Meanwhile, the well-organized debate hosted by LMDI will continue on Wednesday June 22, 2022 in Foya, Lofa County.