Monrovia – Liberia’s political parties are testing their numerical advantage as the political season heats up ahead of the 2017 elections, and one opposition party, Liberty Party, displayed a record crowd of supporters on Tuesday during the opening of its new headquarters.
“This is about a political party that has redefined opposition politics in Liberia. Over the years, we have served as a check and balance on the government, your presence here today sends a message that you are ready for change” Charles Walker Brumskine, Liberty Party
The crowd spread across the main Tubman Boulevard, preventing a free-flow of traffic from Paynesville City through Congo Town to central Monrovia, as LP partisans – women, youth and older folks, cheered – showed up in their thousands to grace the political gathering.
The party’s supporters and stalwarts are still describing the turn out as ‘mammoth’, as compare to recent political rallies organized by other oppositions.
LP political leader, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, was surrounded by crowds of cheering youths as he waved to them and whisked away through the crowd.
When Brumskine took the stage to speak to his supporters, he echoed the party’s commitment to taking state power from the ruling Unity Party, declaring that the “Liberty Party is ready to win.”
Earlier, when he recalled his decision to return to Liberia during the tenure of former President Charles Taylor, Brumskine said he ‘braved the storm.’
“When I came home in 2003 to contest the election against former President Charles Taylor, we braved the storm, came home because you were looking for an alternative voice, we appear to have gone apart. You went your way [and] I went my way but I want to say welcome home.”
Continued Brumskine: “Today, begins a turning point in the life of the Liberty Party; we have gathered here today to dedicate a building; but this is more than dedication of a building.”
The LP political leader said the gathering was a renewal of the Liberty Party spirit ahead of the crucial 2017 general and presidential elections.
“This is about a political party that has redefined opposition politics in Liberia. Over the years, we have served as a check and balance on the government, your presence here today sends a message that you are ready for change,” he added.
The arrival of Nimba County Senator, Prince Y. Johnson at the party’s headquarters sparked vibrant jubilation amongst partisans of the Liberty Party.
Senator Johnson then told the LP supporters that he was attending the event because he believes in collaboration and people of like minds.
“I invited them to Nimba; I'm here in the spirit of the Ganta declaration,” the Nimba Senator said, while condemning the leadership of President Sirleaf.
“In the 12th year of this administration, the leader of this regime Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf admitted that she has blatantly failed on the war against corruption. With the vampire corruption there is nothing left to empower you, we want all opposition to unite and get the UP (Unity Party) out.”
The famous meeting held in Ganta, Nimba County brought together 12 leaders of opposition political parties and they signed a communiqué agreeing to work together and collaborate for victory in the ensuing 2017 Presidential and legislative elections.
But that declaration cracked as a feud between two of the political parties appear to be taking center stage, and later the Congress for Democratic Change opted to collaborate with two other political parties – National Patriotic Party and the Liberia People Democratic Party – to form a coalition.
When Senator Johnson spoke at the LP event on Tuesday, Cllr. Brumskine and his partisans were breathing a hope of relief, and are optimistic that the Nimba County lawmaker will strengthen the party’s geopolitical chances ahead of these elections.
“We want all opposition to get UP out,” Senator Johnson shouted amid thunderous applauds from LP partisans.
“Madam Sirleaf and Joseph Boakai are politically married on one ticket, when one is going the other must follow. They got nothing to offer you in this country, they cannot reconcile Liberia she has said so.”
As the Senator concluded his statement and left, the joyous crowd chanted his name “PYJ, PYJ.”
LP Supporters Confident
Political observers say the LP turnout Tuesday has sent a message to other political parties looking to unseat the ruling party, described as the biggest the party has put out ahead of the 2017 elections. And despite the failure of the party to take state power in two successive elections, its supporters are optimistic about getting the job done this time.
“From 2005, I have been with the party, and am proud to see my party launching their first political rally, and am very proud to be in the crowd,” Rachel Weah, a partisan told FrontPage Africa. “I hope to see changes and corruption out of the country. I am sure we will win and transform this country.”
As the LP supporters danced and sang to the vibes coming from the loud speakers, some chanted antigovernment slogans, shouting that “it’s time to end corruption and make the US rate go down in Liberia.”
“I feel so happy because from the time Brumskine been running the thing I never see what I am seeing it today. When Brumskine wins, I expect peace, and a good country.
"He will be able to help us - he will not go to every one house and give them food, but he will make the country alright for us to be able to feed ourselves and support our children.”