Liberia: CDC’s Isaac Vah Tukpah Going Solo in Upcoming Senatorial Election
Monrovia – Long before the Congress for Democratic Change became the Coalition for Democratic Change, Vah Isaac Tukpah, was one of the pillars of the party’s Diaspora outreach.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
As the Chairman of the CDC-USA, Tukpah’s presence was visible on social media. But when the party won state power in 2017, Tukpah fizzled.
Once closed friends with George Weah, the opposition leader, Tukpah is now branded a castaway. His influence in the party no more, the Chairman Emeritus of CDC-USA this week tendered in his resignation from the party in hopes of contesting the Mid Term Senatorial elections later this year, adding his face to what is building up to be a crowded field of challengers against the popular Abraham Darius Dillon(LP, Montserrado County).
What’s Behind the Beef with Weah?
In 2017, Tukpah, ran on the party’s ticket in the 2017 general elections as a candidate for representative for Electoral District 02, securing 5.9 percent of the votes for a third place finish. But even getting him on that ticket, FrontPageAfrica has learned, it was a long fight to convince party higher-ups.
Tukpah, like many who trumpeted the party’s agenda in the opposition, have been abandoned and without jobs.
Part of the reason some say has been a lingering bad blood between he and President Weah. No one in the party can put their finger on what the feud actually is all about and Tukpah himself appeared unprepared to fully delve into the real problem. “I have no bad blood toward President Weah, but I do not know what is in his heart toward me. My differences are not personal, but more of policy differences. I am always open to mitigating these differences. If the government can do a 180-degree turn and start to deliver for the people, I will be the first to praise the government and President Weah. Unfortunately, the performance to date has nothing to applaud. I am not concerned with personal issues. I am only concerned with uplifting Liberians to their fullest potential while creating integrated structural changes for Liberians to excel and be proud of our country, country boasting rich history and unparalleled resolve, and themselves.”
Political watchers point to the growing disenchantment amongst partisans as a key reason many thronged toward Dillon in last year’s Special Senatorial Elections and why the list of candidates within the party is growing rapidly.
For Tukpah, it’s not about the pushback and neglect but standing up to a party, he says has lost its way and deviated from the norms of reality on the foundation of the party. “I have resigned from the CDC and I am running as an independent candidate. I made that decision because I am in strong disagreement with the governance of the CDC-led government. The government departed from the fundamental philosophy of CDC and its core values,” he told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday.
Party Chair Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr, accepted Tukpah’s resignation and wished him well.
Said Morlu: “The Congress for Democratic Change acknowledges the resignation of Mr. Isaac Vah Tukpah, as contained in a letter dated 14 June 2020, and addressed to the Chairman of the CDC. In his resignation letter, Mr. Tukpah said he chose to resign his membership from the party because he’s ‘Pursuing other opportunities which will be in contradiction to the CDC’s Constitution’. Hence, as a party committed to the rule of law, while valuing the membership of all partisans, supporters and sympathizers, we relentlessly commit ourselves to the protection and defense of anyone’s right to join the CDC freely and to leave freely, consistent with the bylaws and constitution of the Mighty Congress for Democratic Change. Therefore, the Congress for Democratic Change expresses thanks to Mr. Tukpah for his membership over the years, and herewith accepts his resignation; wishing him well in his chosen political path.”
As he prepares to explore a run for the Senate, Tukpah believes the time is for impact and change. “Montserrado needs a senator who will advocate for its basic needs(healthcare, education, sanitation, security, etc.), budget reprioritization, and job creation through the expansion of private-sector economic activities. We have journeyed down this road of hopelessness and lack of results for many years.”
“I have no bad blood toward President Weah, but I do not know what is in his heart toward me. My differences are not personal, but more of policy differences. I am always open to mitigating these differences. If the government can do a 180-degree turn and start to deliver for the people, I will be the first to praise the government and President Weah. Unfortunately, the performance to date has nothing to applaud. I am not concerned with personal issues. I am only concerned with uplifting Liberians to their fullest potential while creating integrated structural changes for Liberians to excel and be proud of our country, country boasting rich history and unparalleled resolve, and themselves.”– Isaac Vah Tukpah, CDC-USA Chairman Emeritus
He says, Liberia is currently at a crossroad. “There is a need for caring and passionate leadership, along with the technical know-how and skills, to seek the people best interest.
Some of our leaders in government are failing our people. I helped to usher in the “change.” The “change” I ushered is not being executed as I envisioned and planned. For that, I say sorry to the Liberian people. We cannot give excuses. It is time to resound the message of hope. It is time to represent the peopleand model the behavior that will put Liberia on the right road to progress. Liberians must hold lawmakers accountable for not moving the country in the right direction.”
‘Urgency to Reverse Downward Slide
Due to the wrong direction of the ruling CDC, Tukpah says, there is an urgency to reverse the downward slide of the country via sustainable economic growth and development.
He says if elected, he would push through the laws and proposal and a clear vision for the county.
The Senatorial seat in Liberia is nine years…a decade! Thefilling of this seat takes high importance and not merely the motion of voting for a crowd favorite, a flashlight, or a party choice that cannot impact people’s lives positively. I present a clear problem-identification and solution-based platform designed to address our pressing needs in Montserrado, the host of our capital city. If not, now, when? A decade from now?” Do not let your hopes go down the drain behind a non-viable handpicked candidate.
Tukpah is pledging to go the extra mile if given the chance to represent the county. “The people of Montserrado County can expect a transparent servant leader with high integrity, trust, loyalty, and tireless forward-moving agendas. They can also expect a leader who will work relentlessly and collaboratively with them to make a difference for the county and the country. My goal will be pushing complete integration within Montserrado county while transforming systems, with willingness and readiness to partner with everyone to achieve the five pillars of my platform that include: Education; Healthcare; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Agriculture; and Tourism.”
He says, development has been lacking due to corruption, lack of oversight, lack of capacity, and inability to implement. “ Who have we elected or appointed? What is the capability of the official beyond critiquing, making speeches, and posturing? What is their known track record as a professional? What is their character? Liberians can expect a person whose academic and professional accomplishments at home and abroad show doing and implementation.”
Despite his promises, Tukpah faces an uphill task. Besides joining a laundry list of candidates in a rapidly growing playing field eye Dillon’s ouster, he also faces a debacle regarding the domicile one -year Clause, requiring candidates to be in country at least a year prior to the elections.
Despite residing in the US, Tukpah says there is nothing to get around because he is a resident of Montserrado. “I do not see it as an issue.”
‘Not Here to Defeat Dillon’
How does he see his chances in the crowded field and against the incumbent Senator Dillon?
Tukpah says his plans have always been clear: “Uphold the law, maintain integrity, integrate Liberians, transform minds, and provide the opportunity for every Liberian to achieve and excel. I am not here just to defeat Senator Dillon. I am rather here to work with people who are likeminded and are ready to rebuild Montserrado.”
Tukpah acknowledges that Senator Dillon has served the people of Montserrado County to the best of his ability or to what he promised them. However, he says, that is not adequate to develop Montserrado and improve the lives of its residents. “More is needed, and I bring that more: network, experience, geopolitical understanding, exposure, and ability to get things done.”
Residents in the county he says are demanding a shift from business as usual in the Senate and the Legislature. This means, electing candidates like him with the acumen and experience in presenting practical/achievable vision/agenda and determining the short and long termimplications/impacts of proposed legislation and concessions onour economy and the livelihood of ordinary citizens.
“The people want a shift to candidates like me who have crafted a comprehensive vision for the development of their county andcountry. They need someone who will drive their shared vision to fruition through new relevant legislation, amendment of existing laws, networking with people and organizations who can make a difference for Montserrado, and providing the necessary oversight to ensure government works for the people.”
For the immediate future, Tukpah says he remains focus on the task ahead. While he says he
still respect and love the partisans of the CDC, his disagreement is with the performance of this government that is supposedly led by the CDC and the actions of the top leadership of this government who have departed from the fundamental philosophy of the CDC and its core values. “The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is gathering dust, and the government has not aligned what it is doing with the PAPD. Neither has the government issued a report card against the PAPD.
Allow me to use this occasion to suggest to all CDCians that they should assess the candidates and not just vote for a manufactured choice by the party but to vote for the best candidate that can make a difference for their county and the country. In the final analysis, it is Liberia first and not party politics.
The current government has unequivocally derailed the original agenda we all tirelessly laid out. That agenda was a complete system change that was all-encompassing to include a transparent corruption-free government. That has not happened! Corruption under this president continues to plague the country.”