JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As the city battles a water crisis, at least two Jackson leaders are involved in a war of words.
Ward 3 City Councilman Kenneth Stokes unleashed a blistering response to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s passionate criticism of Stokes Tuesday.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said, ”It was not my desire to come before you and vent. It was not my desire to have this back and forth between a council person and myself, because I understand that ultimately, that is not our priority.”
But Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes’ priority Wednesday was to respond to Mayor Lumumba’s accusations and criticism.
City Councilman Kenneth Stokes said, ”They got water in Clinton, Brandon, Ridgeland.... why no water in Jackson? Incompetency.”
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said on Tuesday, ”I can sooner get in contact with the governor than I can with the council person for Ward 3. What it takes is for me to literally go to his house in order to talk to him about how I want to help his residents. That is what takes place.”
City Councilman Kenneth Stokes responded, ”Ask him how many times he’s been to my house and when was the last time? How many years ago was that? Ask him when the last time I accepted his phone call. Ask him. He will tell ya. Nah, I don’t accept his phone calls because he’s a liar.”
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said, ”Whether we’re talking about the first winter storm that took place in 2018. There was no effort and no support and no communication there. When we’re talking about the Siemens ordeal that we’ve been dealing with and he was telling residents to cut the wires of our meters and no support there or trying to push contracts to his friend or trying to get them involved in the legal fight.”
Councilman Kenneth Stokes responded, ”We tried to get the mayor to sue Siemens forever. He wouldn’t do it cuz he had friends in there. Who put on the agenda to sue Siemens? Kenny Stokes. I even put on the agenda that we hire Gibbs Law Firm because they had won some money from Siemens and that’s when the mayor come up with who? These folks out of Birmingham. And gave him how much? Thirty million dollars. You didn’t have what they said, 89, they gave 30-million to some lawyers out of Birmingham. And ain’t it funny how this money now trickling back for his re-election? Oh, I’m a tell it now. Y’all don’t want me to tell it? Tell him don’t ask Kenny Stokes.”
Stokes goes on to call out a list of reasons why he thinks Lumumba’s administration is incompetent, the mayor calling out the councilman for not showing up for meetings; taking the credit but not doing the work.
But there is one issue both men agree on:
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said, “Once again, as I look at the severity of what people are dealing with, I understand. I was without water in my household. I still don’t have full water pressure. The people that are around me still don’t have water and so, we understand what’s taking place. We understand how our residents feel.”
Councilman Kenneth Stokes said, ”The issue is senior citizens in this city without water. They couldn’t even have water to flush toilets. You wouldn’t want that for your mother or any of your loved ones.”