Liberia: 3 Senators Eyeing Re-Election Join Ruling CDC Ahead of Senatorial Mid Term Elections
Monrovia – Three members of the Liberian Senate Saturday defected to the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) ahead of the December Mid Term Senatorial Elections. The senators are Henry Yallah (Bong), George Tengbeh (Lofa) and Victor Watson of Grand Capemount.
The three senators are seeking re-elections in December.
“Let me make this clear that by joining us doesn’t mean that you are eligible to contest on the party’s ticket as candidate for the upcoming December by-election.”Mulbah Morlu, Chairman, Ruling Coalition for Democratic Chage
Senator Yallah, who saw his endorsement by a coalition of political parties in Bong backfire last week, said he was humbled and pleased to join ranks with the CDC.
“I have come to the CDC with all heart and soul. For those of you who had been following events in the Liberian Senate, I have been representing the interest of the party since its inception and I look forward to doing that,” he said.
Senator Yallah said with his membership, the CDC can be assured of maintaining its dominance in Bong from the last presidential election in 2017. “We have joined this party not as liability but an asset. In 2017, the Coalition for Democratic Change won Bong County in both rounds of the election by then I was with the People’s Unification Party that supported the Unity Party. With my membership, the CDC can be assured that similar dominance from the last presidential election will be maintained.”
Senator Yallah, a former governing council chair of the People’s Unification Party, reportedly broke ranks with some senior members of the party following the end of the 2017 presidential elections.
Asked why he quit the PUP for the CDC, Senator Yallah replied: “Some senior members of my party including the former Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay had vowed that he won’t support me because of some disagreements we had following the 2017 election. You can’t be part of a group who wishes evil for you.”
Senator Yallah was also asked about concerns that Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor Taylor might not support his ambition, he replied: “I think things are improving. We were not on speaking terms before but no we are exchanging text messages on a regular basis. Our vice-president is someone who doesn’t keep malice. I am optimistic she will find a place in her heart to reconcile with me and we can move on.”
Another senator who decamped to the CDC is George Tengbeh. Accompanied by a delegation from Lofa, Senator Tengbeh expressed confidence of winning the December by-election because of his membership with the CDC.
Senator Tengbeh dismissed the notion that Lofa “is a Unity Party county”.
“I would like to agree that CDC hasn’t won any legislative seat in Lofa but things have changed for the better. The level of development being carried out by President Weah would appeal to the minds of residents of the county.
“I am very much optimistic of winning the upcoming senatorial by-election. And with my membership of the CDC, it has just added value to my status in the county.”
Despite his membership with CDC, Senator Tengbeh appears to be facing challenges in his re-election bid. In 2011, as former administrative assistant to former Lofa County superintendent Garlakpai Kortima, Senator Tengbeh, a native of Foya District, won on the ticket of Unity Party. With the emergence of former defense minister Brownie Samukai, another native of Foya District, political observers say the votes in Tengbeh’s once professed strong hold would be divided between him and Samukai.
Senator Watson in his remarks said he was glad to join the CDC again after leaving the party few years ago. He promised to be a party loyalist I’m promoting the agenda of the CDC in the Liberian Senate. “I will never betray this party because I am not a betrayal. I believe in the ideology of President Weah and will remain a die-hard member of this party,” he said.
Senator Watson assured the CDC of clinching the election in Capemount in December to send a caveat to the opposition Collaborating Political Parties. “If we win at least 12 or 13 of the 15 seats the CPP would be discouraged about contesting the 2023 elections. We have to reunite as a party to ensure we accomplish that feat in December,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, the chairman of the party, Mulbah Morlu, said he was grateful that people of reputation were going ranks with the CDC. “The actions of these senators today to join the CDC is a testament that President Weah is doing extremely well. Had the president been performing poorly people wouldn’t have been identifying with him,” he said
Morlu expressed optimism that the party will show dominance in the December 2020 senatorial election.
Morlu however clarified that there was no automatic tickets for the three defecting senators. “Let me make this clear that by joining us doesn’t mean that you are eligible to contest on the party’s ticket as candidate for the upcoming December by-election.”