Monrovia – Larry Rogers Tugbeh is giving football legend George Weah and the opposition Congress for Democratic Change an ultimatum.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
“I will take that lead and I believe my colleagues, zonal heads and the leadership will join me in the process.”
“We need a speedy, speedy, at least speedy intervention into this process because if not so, we the zonal heads of the thirty District of No. 9 will definitely declare our intentions by informing our hierarchy in the CDC or the coalition that we will resign from the political party of the CDC” – Larry Rogers Tugbeh, District No. 9 Zone 27
The District No. 9 Zone 27 constituent, like many members of the party are disappointed when it comes to the results of the recent party primaries to elect aspirants for legislative seats in the upcoming general elections in Liberia.
Tugbeh says he was present last Friday at the party headquarters when the ongoing confusion over the party primaries first surfaced.
Threatening to Quit CDC
He explained: “When it comes to aspirants, we had Honorable Pelham, we had Hannah Yates, and Paulita C. C. Wie.”
“These three aspirants should have had their delegates seated inside where the ballots were being cast but it was only left with our brother and our youth chair Mr. Jefferson Koijee.
There were no delegates was set up when it comes to the three aspirants. So, we went as far as the ballot boxes and the 44 cast their votes. To our utmost surprise we saw 45 delegates were announced.
“One of our sisters who was supposed to be one of the delegates was absent because she was sick. But her name was pronounced and someone had cast the ballot for her. So, where are we today?”
Tugbeh then revealed that he and his colleagues, including zonal heads and the leadership have been forced to do the unthinkable.
“We need a speedy, speedy, at least speedy intervention into this process because if not so, we the zonal heads of the thirty District of No. 9 will definitely declare our intentions by informing our hierarchy in the CDC or the coalition that we will resign from the political party of the CDC because we are responsible.”
“We took the lead and went into the process but as much in making a pronouncement in which that pronouncement is not conducive, we will not accept it.”
Tugbeh’s concerns have been bolstered by Wie, the District No. 9 aspirants who was widely favored to win the primaries on the eve of the voting, who also claims that the process was rigged.
Wie contends that blue ink was used to vote without the papers being folded.”
“We saw black ink and folded papers. Our national and international observers were not opportune to enter the office were the votes were being cast. Serious concerns and this is unacceptable! Fool some of the people and not all of the people.”
‘Primary Elections Chief ‘Dismayed’ Over Wie’s Conduct
Despite Wie’s contention, the hierarchy of the CDC, including the head of Primary Elections Commission, process, Jefferson Koijee, say they are taken aback by Wie’s fight against the process which she lost.
In a statement Monday, Koijee, who also heads the party’s Youth League, said: “We are particularly dismayed about the conduct of Partisans Paulita Cece Wei and Sabah Jomah, who have allowed their emotional attachment to the quest for a representative post to cloud their judgment, making them tools in the hands of detractors who have never given the Liberian people any process with half the level of transparency that ours demonstrated.”
Added Koijee: “Their actions constitute complete disregard of the institutional precedents, primary guidelines and the party’s constitution which provide for complaints to be written by, about or against offended or offending aspirants. Partisan Sabah Jomah is vividly aware of this as a staunch supporter of hers, E. Karamoh Kaba was facilitated by her to submit a complaint against Partisan Kebbeh Collins.
Partisan Paulita Cece Wei is equally aware as a devoted supporter of hers Abraham Askie filed complaints against both Partisans Julius Berrian and Kebbeh Collins.
These complaints alleging that their colleagues had registered as independent candidates and should not be allowed to partake in the primaries were fully investigated and rulings declaring these aspirants eligible handed down.
To have subjected their colleagues to all the rigors of a CDC disciplinary hearing while they campaigned in freedom, yet run to Facebook at the slightest sign of discontent is deeply unfair to our institution and its members and would leave us with no option but to vigorously respond.”
Voice on Recorder: ‘I want to give you victory’
On Monday however, Koijee’s statement was muted after the surface of a recording said to be the voice of Mr. James Fokpah, a member of the steering committee of the electoral process who is heard asking Wie for US$200 dollars in a bid to help her win the District No. 9 primary.
The conversation between the pair as transcribed went as follows:
Forkpah: Anything you want to it left with you.
Wie: I’m not hearing you good.
Forkpah: You say you not hearing me?
Wie: I was at church when you tried calling me.
Forkpah: I said I have some work to do for you, anything you want to do it’s left with you. Partisan?
Wie: I’m Not Hearing You, good Forkpah, you say what?
Forkpah: So, you say you not hearing me good?
Wie: I’m not hearing you, I say I was at church when you tried calling me.
Forkpah: I said I have some work to do for you, you got to give me some money.
Wie: What kinda work that?
Forkpah: Oh! So, you nah know?
Wie: Oh! But you say you coming do some work for me so I will not know the work?
Forkpah: Yeah but you will get to know when I come to you for us to rap.
Wie: Ok, but I will be at the house tomorrow in the evening by five.
Forkpah: By five?
Wie: Yeah, in the evening after work.
Fokpah: The money I want not plenty Cece, you don’t have plenty money to give me, at least two bucks sef no problem.
Wie: But let me know the work what you want to do first before you want the money.
Fokpah: Oh! Cece, I want give you victory you talking say what kinda work you want me do for you? You alright oooh! The thing you want do it left with you.
Fokpah, in a call-in to the Costa show Monday, denied that the voice heard on the recording is his but several callers including partisans from the CDC rebutted, claiming that the voice was indeed that of Mr. Fokpah.
When FrontPageAfrica informed Mr. Koijee of Mr. Fokpah’s denial, the youth leader appeared surprised but maintained he would not over see a process that cheated Wie, who he described as a sister.
“The best I could do is to issue an official statement and call for a full fledge investigation which I have rightfully done. But in all fairness the process was very transparent and there is no way I could have cheated against Cece, my own sister in the party.”
In his statement, Mr. Koijee acknowledged the recording: “Our attention and displeasure are aroused by two events of recent: one of them is a recording on which the voices of James Forkpa and Paulita Cece Wie are believed to be heard, while the other is the behavior of a small minority of losing contestants who are fixated on calling into question a process whose level of transparency could not have been improved even if they themselves had been counting the votes in their districts.”
“Let us be very clear in requesting that the National Executive Committee opens a full investigation of the recording and the immediate expulsion of Partisan James Forkpa if what is said on the recording is verified.”
“We also indicate for the record that Partisan Forkpa was not a member of the Primaries Elections Commission but rather served on the Steering Committee.”
“Consequently, he had no authority in influencing any contestant progress to either victory or defeat and the conversation misrepresents both his role and the institution.”
Koijee added: “We are saddened to note that as happens under multiple circumstances, we find a few individuals questioning the integrity of the process only because they did not win.”
“This is completely unacceptable in a fledgling democracy like ours. We are aware that not every winning candidate is the person we would have selected if we had the power to vote.”
“But those who make up the electorate were clear in their choices and our role as Primary Elections Commission remains fundamentally distinct: ascertaining and announcing, rather than influencing or celebrating their choices.”
“We ask these party stalwarts to hold no one responsible for their defeats.”
“If you are indeed the best choice of your people, the most you can do is to pity those who ignored you and instead chose someone else.”
“Meanwhile, every partisan, including Paulita Cece Wei and Sabah Jomah still have rights and opportunities to make use of the institutional grievance process and the Commission will look vigorously into hearing their complaints.”
The saga has drawn the attention of the party’s political leader and standard bearer in the upcoming presidential elections who was schedule to meet with what party secretary general Janga Kowo, said in communications Monday, “unsuccessful aspirants.
“As he looks forward to your presence, he’s encouraging all to remain focused on the core objectives of the CDC’s presidential ambition, which is inevitable this year on October 10, with a place for everyone.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity Monday night, an aspirant who was present at the meeting told FrontPageAfrica that Weah’s message to the disgruntled ones, was a call for peace. “He basically pleaded for everyone to think of the bigger picture which is his presidency,” the source explained.
The source added that the first partisan called for another meeting because the main complainer CC Wie was not in attendance.
As of Monday, it appeared unlikely that the party would call for another primary even as several more partisans expressed outrage over the manner in which the process was conducted.
But many political observers say, in a competitive election year that is projected to see a lot of incumbent losses, the ongoing saga and dissatisfaction over CDC primaries could come back to haunt the party in its quest for state power.