LIBERIA’S OPPOSITION Collaborating Political Parties’ alliance appear to be experimenting with a US-style primary process that may just be what is needed to ease linger wrangles which have been rattling a lot of nerves regarding the survival of the opposition alliance.

THE LEADERS of the four political parties – the All Liberian Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and the former ruling Unity Party have all but made it clear that they all would be eyeing a shot at heading a united ticket heading into the 2023 Presidential elections.

THE LATEST TO make her intentions known is Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, the political leader of the Liberty Party.

SETTING HERSELF AS the female factor, the Senator declared in a Facebook post Wednesday: “We have the numbers, the passion, the voice, the experience, the knowledge, and the ability to deliver. We will never miss the opportunity to serve, and our set at the table is guaranteed. CPP Strong.”

OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS, MUCH emphasis has been placed on former Vice President Joseph Boakai, political leader of the Unity Party and Mr. Alexander Cummings, political leader of the ANC.

THE DECLARATION FROM Senator Lawrence is a clear indication that the four parties making up the coalition have no intentions of anointing a candidate to head the ticket in 2023.

THE COMPETITION NATURE of these early stages suggest that the four parties are standing their grounds in line with the framework of the CPP.

THIS IS CLEARLY A DEPARTURE from past experiences which provided a recipe for failure for past attempts at building alliances and coalition .

PER SECTION 11.3 of the framework of the CPP,  the constituent Political Parties shall endeavor to reach a consensus in selecting the CPP’s Presidential Ticket.

THE FRAMEWORK STATES: “The Presidential Aspirants of the Constituent Political Parties shall have up to and including Wednesday, December 1, 2021 to unanimously decide and name the CPP/Alliance’s Presidential Ticket, including naming a Vice Presidential running mate. In the event no consensus is reached, the nomination process shall proceed to non-binding Voter’s Perception Survey (VPS) and be determined at the Primaries.”

THE FRAMEWORK IS CLEAR that during the nomination process the CPP shall utilize three nomination processes to determine the selection of its Presidential, Legislative and other candidates: (i) consensus; (ii) Voter’s Perception Survey; and (iii) Primaries.

REGARDING THE CONSENSUS, the CPP shall first engage in a process seeking to select the CPP/Alliance’s Presidential, Legislative and other candidates through consensus. A consensus emanating from this engagement shall be binding on the Constituent Politi- cal Parties and same shall be endorsed by the CPP. In the event, and only in the event, consensus cannot be reached, the CPP shall conduct a Voters Perception Survey (VPS) to facilitate the process of selecting and choosing of the Presidential, Legislative and other candidates of the CPP.

REGARDING THE Voter’s Perception Surveys, the rules state that where the CPP is unable, on or before December 1, 2021, to decide/agree on a Presidential Candidature, or is unable to name a Presidential candidate, the CPP shall conduct non-binding Voters’ Perception Surveys (VPS) funded by the CPP for the purpose of informing the CPP and their Delegates to the Convention/General Assembly of the “Voters’ Views” about the Aspirants’ political marketability and public preference for the Presidential and Legislative positions.

THE COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT of the ongoing CPP process and criteria for selecting its ticket to take on the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in 2023 may be just what the doctor ordered.

IT IS NO DOUBT A DEPARTURE FROM THE PAST when political parties selected candidates by way of anointment.

THE US-STYLE PRIMARY route offers the perfect opportunity for voters to hear from all those seeking the CPP nomination. What would be even more intriguing is if the CPP encourage those seeking the nomination to agree to a debate amongst themselves.

THIS WAY THEY CAN share the vision, aspirations and plans for Liberia if given the chance to lead.

THE PROCESS of anointing have been tried and tested for far too long and many have taken Liberians for a ride because they never really have been put in a fighting position but have instead gotten power on a silver platter. Thus, Liberians often are at the short end of the stick, lingering in abject poverty and victims of a system where leaders and rulers chose to look the other way to the detriment of those lingering at the bottom of the economic ladder.

FAILURE TO UNITE was a key reason why the opposition failed against Samuel Doe in 1985. Doe, was proclaimed the winner in an election he is widely believed to have lost to Jackson F. Doe of the Liberia Action Party.  In that election, Jackson Doe secured 137,270 votes for 26.45 percent, Gabriel Kpolleh, a schoolteacher, secured 59.965 votes for 11.55 percent while Edward Kesselly of the U8nity Party secured 57,443 votes for 11.07 percent. The constitutional requirement requires an absolute majority or 50% plus one (1) to avoid a run-off but many political observers at the time believed that a united front against Doe may have made it tougher for the incumbent to steal the votes.

DURING THE REIGN of Taylor, a similar scenario played out that saw Taylor win the presidency by a landslide, with 75.3% of the vote, despite campaigning on the slogan: “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him.”  His closest competitor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, collected only 10 percent of the vote. Eleven other candidates failed to crack more than five percent.

A TOTAL OF thirteen political parties challenged Taylor in the ’97 elections.

WITH EACH PERSONALITY BELIEVING they could win against Doe and Taylor, the opposition wilted out of greed and driven by egos.

THE CPP MUST BE WARY of the past and the four political leaders must understand the lessons of history. “A united CPP is a first round victory in 2023 for this country against the ruling gang,” Senator Abraham Darius Dillon(CPP, Montserrado County) said this week. “If we do not do differently, if we do not act differently, we will be giving our people no incentive to think we are different from the gang. We will be arming our people to say it is better to be with the devil we know, than the angel we haven’t seen.”

THE ONGOING COMPETITIVE ATMOSPHERE en route to selecting the best candidate to head the ticket in 2023 puts the CPP on the right track. The key to victory however could lie in how supporters of the four political parties embrace the process and accept the results which could prove decisive at the end of a long and hard-fought journey at