MONROVIA – Barely few days after the party’s National Secretary General Jefferson Koijee was sanctioned by the United States government for alleged human rights abuses, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of outgoing Liberian President George Manneh Weah appears to be divided over an inauguration day protest pronounced by its National Youth League.
By Obediah Johnson
Lawmaker Gray serves as Secretary General and Vice Chairman for Political Affairs of the CDC.
He was defeated by Prince Toles of the Unity Party in the just ended presidential and legislative elections in Liberia.
Last week, the party’s youth league, through its Chairman Emmanuel Johnson, announced that it would stage a peaceful protest in Monrovia on January 22 this year to draw attention to, amongst other things the brutal deaths of its partisans by people believed to be supporters of the incoming governing Unity Party (UP) of President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai.
According to Johnson, Boakai is not the President-elect for “CDCians.”
“We have witnessed for the past few months, before and after the elections, the mass killing of partisans of the CDC by the death squad militia of Unity Party. Those martyred comrades, which include, but are not limited to, partisans Aloysius Barh, killed in Nimba under the direct instruction of Vice President-elect Jeremiah Koung; Tamba Momoh and Josiah Gayduo, killed in Foya, Lofa County; and partisan Joshua Solomon, who was killed a few days ago. All these names were allegedly killed under direct instruction of President-elect Joseph Boakai,” Johnson alleged.
However, the accusation and pronouncement have been greeted with mixed reactions from scores of executives and supporters of the ruling party.
Many see the move as an attempt to illegitimize the incoming government, while others believed that it is the constitutional right of partisans and supporters of the ruling party to assemble and peacefully protest.
Speaking in an interview with FrontPage Africa via telephone on Saturday, December 9, outgoing Montserrado County district # 8 Representative Acarous Moses Gray disclosed that the ruling party does not intend to cause chaos on the day of turning over power to the newly elected government.
He said though the constitution of the CDC gives autonomous powers to the women and youth leagues of the party, there is absolutely no plan for the party to cause any pandemonium during the inauguration of president and vice-president-elect Boakai and Jeremiah Koung.
He denied that the party is divided over the protest.
“There is no split within the CDC. The youth and women leagues under the constitution of the CDC are separate autonomous bodies. They have some authorities independently. People peacefully assembling to send a message to the world is good, but nobody is supporting chaos on the inauguration.”
“The CDC, the youth league or the women league of the party has no intention to cause pandemonium or chaos on inauguration day. There is no serious intention to do so.”
Though Representative Gray did not rule out the possibility of the Youth League of the CDC abandoning its planned protest on inauguration day, he disclosed that any action from the group “will be in the confines of the laws of Liberia.”
He stressed the need for executives and members of the Youth League of the CDC to avoid going contrary or deviating from the laws of the country by taking any actions that would turn chaotic.
“We will protect the peace and democracy of Liberia. We have no intention to cause chaos in this country. We will not support chaos against the administration that is coming in.”
He maintained that he will continue to speak to issues of national concerns and respect the organic laws of the country instead of forming part of any action from his party that would cause chaos or instability in Liberia.
Representative Gray added that nothing outside of the laws of Liberia would be used to undermine the incoming Joseph Boakai led-government.
When quizzed why the leadership of the CDC, headed by President Weah cannot call on the Youth League of the party to abandon its planned protest on inauguration day to avoid chaos, Representative Gray stated: “I am not in the best decision to say that; all I can say is that, the constitutional rights of every Liberian should be respected.”
He, however, backpedalled from reports attributed to him, calling on his colleagues who have been re-elected and newly elected lawmakers to boycott the inauguration.
He clarified that if there are constitutional breaches concerning the health condition of the President and Vice President elect, it would be difficult for the new National Legislature to have a quorum to proceed with normal legislative workings, leading to the inauguration.
According to him, the lack of quorum to form a Joint Assembly on the day of inauguration would also create constitutional crisis on said date.
“I did not call on people to boycott the negotiation. What I said was if there are technical constitutional issues including the issue that Boakai is not well.”
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page over the weekend, CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu claimed that political opponents are raising false alarm of division within the party because they are afraid of the CDCC.
“They are trying so hard to create a false crisis in the CDC. Well, unfortunately for them, the CDC remains absolutely united around the leadership of its Standard-bearer, George M. Weah.
There’re also chitchats of a ‘Secret meeting’, which is entirely false & misleading. In fact, the CDC does not need a secret meeting to discuss or divulge a position on recent election issues”
He maintained that those pushing this “lie may not be aware that our official position as a party was clearly and publicly communicated recently, which unites the CDC solidly behind President Weah, while CAUTIONING the incoming government against WITCH-HUNT, BAD GOVERNANCE, ETC. “
According to him, the CDC was completely united throughout its campaign and remains united in respecting the outcome of the “half-district election mandate given to President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai.”
He maintained that the ruling party will equally remain robust, Proactive and institutionally united in the coming months and years so as to objectively engage and confront the ‘Old wine’ disguised in new bottles.
“I’m glad that 99% of our people are unquestionably united behind the Standard-bearer and the mighty party as we move forward, together.
Thank you CDCians, the period of our disunity & destruction has passed! We have survived and prevailed over the darkest hours that come just before day; let’s now strengthen the unity & put the incoming ‘Den of thieves’ on notice that we are the MIGHTY COALITION FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE that will not concede a micro inch of Liberia to misrule & witch-hunt.”