Monrovia – In 2017 if anyone had thought that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) would have fallen from grace to grass within a period of six years, no one would have believed such a wishful thinking. The CDC won fourteen out of fifteen counties with massive votes, indicating how very popular the party was in 2017 coupled with getting the full mandate of the Liberian people.
By Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Judging from the results, officials of the CDC coined the term ‘twenty-four years’, indicating that the party would have maintained its grips on state power for an unprecedented twenty four years because the party did not see the future of opposition political parties in the country.
After inauguration, based on the belief by the CDC that its popularity had placed the opposition community in disarray, the party and its officials started governance on a don’t care attitude. First, the president, George Weah, started off with massive construction of duplexes at his Rehab residence in Paynesville and also completed the refurbishing of his 9th Street Sinkor complex.
Other officials of the CDC- led government saw that as an opportunity to also amass wealth and construct properties of their own. To gain access to state fund through some phony means, a mob up exercise where the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning claimed to have infused over twenty-five million United States Dollars (US$25 million) into the economy was introduced by the government.
There was no proper accountability for the money infused into the economy for the mob up exercise and an audit of the process showed that some of the money was given to entities that could not be traced by auditors.
The CDC Chairman, Nathaniel McGill became known as the de-facto President as he reportedly had the final word in every appointment made by President Weah. People had to run to McGill to get appointed by the President.
The former CDC Chairman became the biggest humanitarian in the country, dishing out millions of Liberian dollars to market women, youth groupings and other organizations. Even some segments of the religious community felt to McGill’s humanitarian donations and started praising him for his gestures.
McGill later constructed an exotic complex to bury his late mother, an act that was heavily criticized across Liberia and elsewhere, due to the poor nature of the Liberian economy.
Sanctions steps in
In the wake of the wild allegations against Weah and his officials, the United States of America State Department issued Magnitsky sanctions against three officials of the CDC Government, affecting McGill, Bill Twehweay and Syrenius Cephus.
The sanctions have a condition that individuals who interact with the sanctioned officials will also be targeted by future sanctions. The sanctions came at a very difficult moment for the CDC as breaking away from the party’s seemingly most influential person was something very hard. During the 2023 Presidential and legislative elections, the CDC could not obey the rules of the sanctions as McGill contested on the CDC ticket as its senatorial candidate in Margibi County, an election he eventually won.
The actions by the CDC to allow McGill contest on its ticket was seemingly seen as a challenge to the United States of America State Department, especially the condition of the sanctions warning individuals and institutions not to do business with the sanctioned officials.
During the 2023 general and presidential elections, the CDC went to lose the elections in a very close contest to the opposition Unity Party of Amb. Joseph Boakai.
Last Straw broken
After President George M. Weah conceded defeat in a momentous speech which has been hailed locally and internationally, the stance by the President did not accordingly go down well with some senior officials of the CDC.
It was reported that the party executives were contemplating expelling Weah from the party. No senior official of the CDC has made many public comments about the just ended elections than Jefferson Koijee, the most popular and influential official of the CDC.
Koijee is the only CDC official on record for holding the party together in the midst of crisis and he has been able to bring the zealous youth together. Even when the CDC was in opposition for twelve years, Koijee kept the CDC active, dedicating all his time to the activities of the party while other CDC officials were searching for jobs.
On late Friday, the United States of America State Department imposed sanctions on Koijee in what is seen as breaking the last straw on the CDC.
There is no way you can differentiate Koijee from the CDC as Koijee has taken the party to his chest and put all this time and efforts into making the party organized and keeping the party active in the political process.
With Koijee now facing sanctions, it is a very difficult period for the CDC and many pundits believe the party is nearing its doom. It will be a very tough time for the CDC to do away with Koijee. And Koijee himself, who sees the CDC as part of his life, may not be able to see his life outside the party he loves so much.
Undoubtedly many officials of the CDC are job seekers who became very active in the party activities after the victory during the 2017 presidential elections. Even some elected lawmakers on the ticket of the CDC have not been able to put in the time as Koijee has been doing.
With Koijee facing sanctions and the CDC facing defeat from the just ended elections, the party seems to be nearing its doom as it might be unlikely for the CDC to recover from these shocks and make headway during the 2029 presidential elections.