JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The war of words between Jackson’s Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes is seemingly nowhere near a cease fire.
It has been a week of steady insults and jabs between the two Jackson politicians stemming from the water crisis inflicted upon the Capital City due to the deadly winter weather.
Stokes has accused the mayor of not doing enough in distributing clean water to the citizens of Jackson and Lumumba has swung back by stating that he has done more for Stokes’ ward than Stokes has.
The battle only escalated Wednesday when Stokes held a press conference to address the ongoing water issues and to fire more shots at the mayor, including calling him a liar.
The press conference began with a guest of Stokes’ standing before the microphones and pleading for Gov. Reeves, Mayor Lumumba and the Jackson City Council to “do [their job]” and to stop the “bickering.”
“Do what we vote you in for,” she asked.
Stokes then took her place in front of the cameras and read a statement which began “rookie mistakes of the mayor have proven costly to the City of Jackson, especially children, elderly, disabled and businesses.”
Stokes then asked, “My question to the City of Jackson is this: Did you become mayor when the mayor became mayor?” citing the mayor’s election promise of “when I become mayor, you become mayor.”
Stokes would then accuse the mayor of attending “zero” funerals of those killed in the Capital City due to gun violence last year. He then said that he needed to “correct something.”
“The mayor [sic] only been to my house one time,” Stokes stated adamantly. “One time. And that was many years ago. [Lumumba] does not have a green light to come to Kenneth Stokes’ house and he knows that.”
This is seemingly in reference to a comment Lumumba made Tuesday in which he said that it is so difficult for him to get in contact with Stokes that he “literally” has to go to his house in order to discuss how best to help Stokes’ ward.
Stokes then made it clear that he does not accept phone calls from the mayor because “he’s a liar. We call him in my circles ‘Lyin’ Lumumba’... and you do not sit and talk and play with a liar.”
Stokes would then circle back to the water crisis, including a moment where he described his constituents’ homes smelling like “raw boo boo” due to their inability to flush their toilets.
He would later admit that he himself does not have running water in his home and stayed in a hotel most of last week.
“Don’t you know that if this city still had a white mayor, no water, old people being treated like dogs; people would be marching in the streets,” Stokes said. “[...] I’m too old to run, I’m too fat to run. Now all this bullying [Lumumba’s] trying, don’t try me.”
WLBT has reached out to Mayor Lumumba for comment.