Analysis: Dismissed, Expelled Partisan Could Dampen Senatorial Midterm Elections for Ruling CDC
Monrovia – This year’s Midterm Senatorial elections is more than just a race pitting the incumbent Abraham Darius Dillon against whoever the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change put up as a challenger. With a population of more than one million likely voters, this is as good as it gets for a vote-rich county that has undoubtedly become the hotbed gauging point of politics in Liberia.
Analysis by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
It is here that in 1985, when the brutal dictator Samuel Doe was planning his controversial elections, aides made it clear that it would difficult to convince Liberians and the international community that a fiery Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a rising political icon in her day, lost the county.
Although Sirleaf won her seat as Senator, she refused to accept the results as she and her Liberian Action Party took the protest route.
It was also here that George Weah solidified his electability with a lopsided victory in the 2014 elections that took him to the Senate. And it was here that Mr. Dillon, backed by the three-party coalition – Liberty Party, All Liberian Party, Unity Party and the Alternative National Congress(ANC), scored an equally lopsided victory over Paulita Wie en route to winning his senate seat.
Why Montserrado Matters
This is why Montserrado is important. The ruling party must win here in the upcoming elections, if it has any chances of retaining the presidency in 2023 – and they know it. So, when Jamima Wolokollie went rogue on the party last week, from one station after the next airing dirty laundry against her boss, the knee-jerk reaction, according to party insiders was to push for her dismissal first, and her ouster from the party.
In doing so however, the party may have underestimated the damage. The fallout from Madam Wolokollie’s allegations against her boss, Professor Wilson Tarpeh has been enormous.
The dismissed and expelled partisan accused Minister Tarpeh of plotting a “well-organized crime” that involved a loan scheme for female marketers of the CDC and has challenged the government or the party to take her to court over allegations that she initiated a dubious loan scheme within the party. “I’m defying you to do so. I dare anyone of you to take me to court for a well-organized crime that has no truth. I am challenging you little liars to be more responsible and take me to the law,” she wrote in her Facebook post last Thursday.
Madam Wolokollie went further to state: “I will not take the responsibility for my boss, concerning this loan. He has a clear understanding of how he gave this loan out and Mulbah Morlu knows it”.
According to Madam Wolokillie, Minister Tarpeh “has the money” but has remain silent – an allegation FrontPageAfrica could not independently verify. Several calls placed to Minister Tarpeh seeking a response to the damning allegations have proven futile. “You are accusing me of this matter is very important to my families, friends and I cannot account for money I did not see or touched. Anyone within our society can attests to this. I have been accused in the most ridiculous and misleading way to the people of Liberia,” she said.
In her own way, Wolokollie, a founding member of the party has paid her dues.
Besides campaigning for the party to win state power, she had been working in the various districts mobilizing the women base of the party through her Liberians in Support of Democratic Change group. “LSDC Liberians in support for Democratic Change is ready to implement the President’s agenda and tell the people of Liberia about his achievements. Information dissemination is also on our plate big time. We have started and will continue until 2023,” she posted on her Facebook page in January.
‘Founding Member’ Standing Her Ground
Now out of favor and on her own, Wolokollie has taken the gloves off, taking the party to task over her dismissal and expulsion, she says was politically motivated and a result of jittery men within the ruling CDC who, she says, are always afraid of strong women and has accused the party of sexism and tribalism. “I’m not going to take it to be serious because I wasn’t consulted. They only wrote the document and sent it to the various stations, and they put it on. That’s what it is. So, I’m still a founding member of the mighty Congress for Democratic Change,” she told the VOA’s Daybreak Africa last Friday.
She describes her expulsion over extortion and corruption charges as “a pure lie. “He’s not saying the truth. You know, most times when you find strong women in Africa, the men tend to get jittery and hysterical, and I want to believe that the men in the party very, very, very hysterical, but all of those allegations are not true. I said to them if this is what you think about me, take to court, but I will not, I will not accept you getting on the international media or local me and then tarnishing my good reputation that I have built over the years, and everybody who knows Jamima Wolokolie knows that she stands for something, and she does not just fall for anything, and never in my have I been involved in corruption or all of the allegations that he made against me. Those are all false and misleading.”
Instead Wolokollie says, her dismissal was due to her stance on exposing the wrongs in the ruling coalition. “They are so many, but I will just name just a few. Most times when they have the primary and you happen to win the primary, normally they will tell you to step aside and let somebody else is going to take your place and then go for the election. And said to them this totally wrong. We have to stop that. We cannot continue to do the things that we did years ago. We have to stop it. If someone wins the primary, let that person be able to go and run for that vacancy; you are not going to be the person to be choosing who will go and who will not go. That’s not democracy. Democracy must be practiced at the highest level, and if we cannot do that, then what do you call that. And somebody has to speak out. Everybody is afraid to talk because CDC, our party is a party is a party that everybody is afraid to say what is going on, and it is too much in the party. Our chairman is from Lofa County, He’s Lorma. Then you have Fallah, who is being supported by the chairman. He’s Kissi; then you have Jefferson Koijee who is also Kissi as being supported by Mulbah Moulu. I see tribalism right there.”
A Major Distraction for CDC
Madam Wolokollie says politicking has a lot to do with what has transpire with her over the past few days. “When I declared that I wanted to run, they asked me not to run. Some members within the party told that, do not run because we have already chosen Thomas Fallah, and it’s Fallah that we are going to carry. But I said, no. My president is the chief feminist of Liberia and he has always said that he wanted more women in the Senate and in the House of Representative. So, I was encouraged to throw my hat in the race because you have one woman in the Senate, who is Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence. All of them are men. So, I said to myself, I know I can win the senate seat. So, I’m going to run, and they asked me to step aside, I told them, no. I will still go, and that made them very angry. They said that why did I come to say that I am going to continue; I disobeyed the party. So, they expelled me from the party. They didn’t expel me because I’m corrupt. Everybody knows who Jamima Wolokolie is and what she stands. I have never been in corruption before and will never be in it.”
Political watchers say, the politics of the unfolding development regarding Wolokollie, has at least for now become a distraction for the ruling party, looking to unseat a popular Senator Dillon. While it is uncertain what impact Madam Wolokollie would have on the Midterm, some say she could chip away at the party’s women base and many disenchanted partisans, who like her have been alienated and left in the cold.
Regarding her own political future, Wolokollie remains upbeat. “I’m going to be discussing with my political advisors, and I also have to go back to the organization – Liberians in support for Democratic Change, the largest auxiliary within the CDC. I have to go back to my people and discuss with them, and whatever they tell me to do, I shall obey.”
For now she says, she wants to be left alone and has accused the administration of haunting and stalking her. “I have accepted all of your decisions without any regret. This situation started June 30, 2020 and continue up to yesterday July 1, if anything happens to me, I want the world to know that people from CDC should be held responsible.”