By Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
Indeed, the notion of “Vote-Rich Nimba County” is the expression of reality. It is the statement of the number of eligible, voting-age citizens in the county. But, the notion of “PYJ, as the Messiah or Savior of the County and its citizens, who controls the votes of Nimba County ” is something else - debatable at best, and a myth at worse.
That Nimba County “is vote-rich” is the truthful expression of the number of eligible, voting-age citizens in that county, second only to Montserrado County in the nationwide, 15-County count, according to the last, national census of 2008.
Voting is the making of rational choices. These choices are expressed, firstly, in terms of self-interest; and secondly, in terms of and based on our traditional, ethnic/tribal preference, or Ethnic/Tribal Bigotry – fear, suspicion, jealousy, rivalry, discrimination/segregation and antagonism, bordering on hate, rooted in myths/superstitions.
Early and modern Nimba County is home for several ethnic/tribal groups, like all other sub-regions and counties in Africa and Liberia. Therefore, in Nimba County, Liberia, there are, namely, Bassa, Dan (Gio), Kpelle, Mandingo, Mahn (Mano) and many other non-political community elements. But the main politically-conscious and active Ethnic/tribal groups are the Dan, Mahn and Mandingo. PYJ is member of the Dan (or Gio).
The fact of the matter is that Ethnic/tribal rivalry, based upon socio-cultural, economic, religious and political factors/considerations in all forms has deepened, and is deepening, increasingly, in recent times in Nimba county, by and between the three main ethnic/tribal groups. Moreover, the recent ouster of Senator PYJ by several various, ethnic/tribal members from not only the leadership of the NUDP political party of which PYJ was the principal Co-founder, but also from membership of the political party.
Further, the main reason for which PYJ was dethroned from leadership of and expelled from the NUDP by Nimba County members of the party was based on PYJ’s statement/allegation that some Nimba County Lawmakers did not achieve victory at the polls (2011), but were declared winners because he (PYJ) used his influence to fix (rig) the vote count with cooperation of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
And lastly, it is very important to note that not the entire Nimba County is NUDP, nor all the citizens thereof. There are members not only of PYJ’s former NUDP or his newly-found Political Party, but also, that every other registered political party has members in and is actively present in Nimba County. The recent selection, at its national convention held in the City of Saclepia, Nimba County, of Honorable Harrison Kanwea, of Nimba County, as Vice Flag Bearer for the Liberty Party is a notable case in point.
The Messiah or Savior
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Abrahamic Religions hold that the “Messiah is one chosen by God to lead the world and, thereby, to save it”. The concept of the Messiah was based on the writings of Prophet Isiah and during the latter half of the 8th century BCE. The term, messiah, comes from the Hebrew verb meaning "to apply oil to," to anoint. In the Hebrew Bible, Israeli kings were sometimes called God's "messiah" - God's anointed one. A messiah could also be an anointed high priest or prophet.
Whereas, in the African-Liberian tradition, a “savior” or “messiah” is one who is not “God’s sent” or “anointed high priest or prophet”, as Senator PYJ claims to be, but one who has distinguished himself as a leader/warrior in just and lawful tribal battles as macho, invincible, legendary warrior-fighter on behalf of the tribe and, thereby, saves the tribe. The legendary warrior-fighter, or African-Liberian messiah-savior is not appointed, but earns the coveted title in tribal battles.
On the basis of the foregoing, PYJ may be considered the ethnic/tribal Messiah or Savior by his Dan ethnic group because of his (PYJ’s) battle performances. But it is reasonable to conclude that not all Dan citizens, especially liberal, progressive and law-abiding citizens, support and regard PYJ a messiah/savior because of his disgraceful, gruesome, atrocious, illegal activities during the civil war. This leads us to the following conclusions that: