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Liberia: Wake-up Call for Opposition Political Parties – Time to Stop the Egos

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FOR A BRIEF MOMENT, following the election of Abraham Darius Dillon as Senator of vote-rich Montserrado County, the foes and opposition to George Weah’s Coalition for Democratic-led government had him on the ropes.

THANKS TO A RAPIDLY shrinking economy, the impact of a massive wage bill now wreaking havoc and numerous cases of corruption and greed in just under two years, the opposition had so much to ride on – and pretty much still do, depending on how soon they realize the extent of how much they have already shot themselves in the leg over the course of the past few days. 

SADLY, TO THE DISAPPOINTMENT of many of their sympathizers and supporters a familiar theme of egos and chest-beating politicians appear to be showing its ugly face once more. 

JUST LIKE 1985 WHEN President Samuel Kanyon Doe took advantage of the opposition’s failure to hold together; in 1997 when they again failed to unite against Charles Taylor and twelve-year-rule of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the latest reincarnation of a so-called coalition  under the banner of the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) appears to be crumbling just when everyone thought they had the Weah-led government scrambling for answers.

THE END RESULT? A disappointing loss for the trailblazing Telia Urey in the just-ended Montserrado County District No. 15 Representatives’ elections. 

WHILE THE FOUR-PARTY coalition consisting of Unity Party, Alternative National Congress, Liberty Party and the All Liberia Party was busy fighting amongst themselves to see who should contest the upcoming Senatorial Elections in Grand Cape Mount County, Urey’s campaign failed to capitalize on the momentum and endured a defeat to the ruling party’s Abu Kamara.

EVEN AFTER THE defeat of Urey, the tussle over the Cape Mount elections lingered, furthers exposing the opposition’s vulnerabilities.

AT ISSUE was a disagreement over the ANC’s decision to announce  Simeon B. Taylor as a candidate in the upcoming senatorial by-elections vacated in the aftermath of the death of Senator Edward B. Dagoseh.

SUPPORTERS FROM both UP, ANC and other parties in the four-party collaboration, took to social media to castigate each other drawing 

THE FORMER RULING Unity Party argued that because Dagoseh was from their party, they should have the right to put up a candidate, even going to verbal public spat with the ANC.

IN THE END, Mr. Alexander Cummings, leader of the ANC conceded, declared in a statement last Friday that the party had decided to withdraw its candidate from the race in the interest of the Liberian people, because of the party’s desire to collectively rescue Liberia from what he calls the poor leadership of the CDC in 2020 and 2023 and because of its commitment to keep the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) together.

SAID THE ANC’S STATEMENT: “We understand the disappointment and frustration this decision will cause Simeon and his family, our partisans and sympathizers; but call on all of you to accept this sacrifice for the sake of the country.”

THE ANC WENT ON to proclaim that the CPP remains together and strong with the caveat that its survival going forward will depend on the following: “That the CPP as a collaboration of independent parties must work together in the interest of the Liberian people and not personal interests; That the CPP will be successful in achieving its objectives if all parties are treated with respect and as equals; That the growth and development of each party is dependent upon its work and appeal to the Liberian people, and to that end all parties must have the freedom to accept membership from any Liberian citizen, including from within member parties of the collaboration, which is consistent with the constitutional right for citizens to freely associate with any party of their choice; That the framework and rules of association and selection of candidates must be agreed upon in writing going forward and must reflect the will of the people and not the nuances of any one party or political maneuverings; and the ability of collaborating parties to deal in good faith, honestly, fairly, equitably and respectfully with each other will not be compromised.”

WHILE WE APPLAUD Mr. Cummings and the ANC for expressing a willingness to make the necessary adjustments when needed, patience is running thin for many.

MR. CUMMINGS IS RIGHT. Liberia is at a crossroads and in need of sound and effective leadership as he said in a statement last week. “In order to provide said leadership, we must always look at the bigger picture and make the hard calls. Leadership is doing that which you do not want to do but have to do for the benefit of others and for the greater good. The ANC remains committed to providing that kind of leadership because we cannot keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results. We want to assure you that we will continue to protect your interests and that of all Liberians. We will make concessions when need be, but we will not be pushed over.”

THE CPP, in our view is missing a glowing opportunity to stake its claim as a serious political alternative for Liberia. 

WHAT WE FIND puzzling, is why has the CPP failed to exercise real democracy in these by-elections by organizing primary elections to select the best candidate to put forward instead of handpicking a favorite son or daughter from its rank and file?

WHY IS THE CPP allowing itself to disintegrate so soon?

MORE IMPORTANTLY, how has some of the CPP’s key figures, including some high-ranking members of its offspring, the Council of Patriots failed to learn from the very bitter past, the current government is being accused of learning from?

EVERYONE it seems is busy these days trumpeting platforms and trying to claim credit for either organizing protests or playing a major role in someone winning an election. In the process, throwing away any semblance of collaboration and genuine intent to make a difference.

IF ALL THIS NOISE AGAINST the CDC government is to continue to trend of yesteryears, then those with political ambitions should stop wasting the Liberian people’s time and request the international community to return Liberia to the colonial days as it is becoming increasingly clear that we are either incapable or unable to govern ourselves.

AFTER MORE than a decade of civil war, countless coups, overthrow plots and each man or woman believing he or she has the answer to Liberia’s problems, Africa’s oldest republic appears to be returning just where it started.

SELFISHNESS, GREED and egos have succeeded in causing serious problems in Liberia since the country felt it was capable of governing itself in 1847. Sadly, 172 years later, the jury is still out on whether or not, we actually are…

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