In the lead-up to the October 10, 2023, Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia, endorsement and cross carpeting from the other party to the other are on the rise.
One of the said groups that have in recent times pledged their support to the election bid of former Vice President Joseph Boakai is the Federation of Motorcyclist and Tricyclist Unions of Liberia (FOMTUL).
The pronouncement was made on June 15, 2023, by the group’s president John Kenyor who told the former Vice President and stalwarts of the opposition Unity Party(UP) Liberia has over 230,000 motorcyclists and tricyclists nationwide.
The figures called by Kenyor, a former supporter of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government appears interesting, and alarming, taking into account the high number of Liberians who are operating in that sector.
Kenyor was interviewed when we were alerted to a post by the former Vice President’s office staff, George Saah.
The Federation of Motorcyclist and Tricyclist Unions (FOMTUL) is a national labour federation of various unions representing the interests of motorcyclists and tricyclists across the country.
The latest data obtained by our researcher from the Ministry of Transport’s Research, Statistics and Information Management Unit shows a total of 14,704 registered motorcyclists and tricycle operators in Liberia.
The record says in 2022, Liberia recorded a total of 14,704 numbers of registered motorcyclists and tricyclists across the country.
The amount is broken down under the “Report on Vehicle Registration for New License Plate Yearly Report January-December 2022”, and the “Report on Vehicle Registration for Annual Renewal Stickers Yearly Report January-December.”
Specifically under the Category “M: Motorcycles,” in M1, M2, and M3 are the total figures 6946 accumulated for motorcyclists recorded in the country. While M4, and M5 representing 7,758 as shown in the data are said to be the numbers of tricycles in Liberia.
Photo of the 2022 registrations for the new license plate
Photo of the 2022 registration for annual renewal stickers
Speaking to the data obtained by this researcher, and the assertion from FOMTUL’s president that Liberia has over 230,000 motorcyclists, and tricyclists, the Assistant Director for Research, Statistics and Information Management of the Ministry of Transport, Jasper White confirmed that the data obtained by this researcher is authentic, saying, “cyclists who registered under the Ministry of Transport are those considered by the government as legitimate operators.
Jasper pointed out that there are bikers who have simply registered with FOMTUL and are not recognized by the Liberian government.
He said, “Any other record that does not come from the Ministry of Transport should be considered null and void.”
Responding to queries from TSM on whether the numbers provided were the actual amount of cyclists Liberia has, the President of the Federation of Motorcyclist and Tricyclist Unions (FOMTUL) of Liberia said the figures announced during the endorsement of the standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party are numbers of motorcyclists and tricyclists registered by the leadership of FOMTUL across the fifteen (15) counties by 2023.
When asked to provide the documented data of the total number of the union had registered, Kenyor refused, saying, “I cannot make public the data recording the number of motorcyclists and tricyclists of the union.”
When further asked if his refusal to make public his records could be because the union exaggerated the figure, the union’s boss responded, “If anyone doubts the numbers we have announced that have pledged support to make Amb. Joseph president comes 2023, let them watch and see during the elections.”
What additionally have we established?
Additionally, The Stage Media confirm that the union’s president is considering running for a representative position in Montserrado County’s district four. Kenyor is opting that the opposition Unity Party pick him as their candidate to contest on the party’s ticket and to get their fullest support.
Conclusion: The government of Liberia’s latest data shows a total of 14,704 numbers of motorcyclists and tricyclists are operating in the country. Therefore, John Kenyor’s claim that Liberia has over 230,000 registered motorcyclists and tricyclists is an exaggeration! It is safe to say that we did not include the motorcyclist and tricyclists who are registered with the union since Keyor refused. At the same time, it is confirmed that the union endorsed Boakai, but there is no data to show if 230,000 endorsed him.
This article will be updated once there are additional data
This story was produced with the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)’s support.