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Liberia: Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change Forms Cells at Govt Entities

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Monrovia – When the National Elections Commission (NEC) declared Mr. Abraham Darius Dillon the winner of the Senatorial aspect of the Montserrado County by-election on Friday, August 2, it became somewhat like a wakeup call for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). They got the rude awakening after all their boasts of the county being their exclusive turf and that “a Dillon” could never win under their watch; they still lost the county, “bigly.”   

Dillon, who has now been inducted Senator of Montserrado in the Legislature, was backed by the four opposition collaborating parties – Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and All Liberian Party. In final numbers representing results from all 1,790 polling places or 100 percent in the county, Dillon secured a total of 102,549 votes or 55.74 percent while Ms. Paulietta Wie, the ruling party’s candidate, got 63,971 votes or 34.77 percent.

On the next day following NEC’s announcement, Saturday, the provocative chairman of the ruling party, Mr. Mulbah Morlu, met with some of his partisans probably under the famous “sycamore” tree. To find solace and buy sympathy, he began to find scapegoats for their defeat. He didn’t want to look within to find the problems that gave rise to the defeat. He and others blamed non-partisans, who are officials of the Liberian government for their woes and sent out a threatening clarion call to those officials. 

However, Chairman Morlu realized that it was time for the party to take stock. “The verdict from our people in the just-ended polls in Montserrado is not only a wakeup call to action, but an insistence the party will not ignore to change course,” he had said.

For Morlu, the party’s officials in both the Legislature and the Executive will now have to live in accordance with the party’s Pro-Poor Agenda or vacate the government and party. “We have reached the point where we will separate party actions from the actions of some officials of government, where necessary; the period for honeymoon is over. The jobs we gave to you is to help our President succeed and, not to undermine our hard-earned gains.”

When he assembled his fellow partisans, it was also aimed at hatching series of plans on the way forward and to look at some of the many missteps of governance that led to their defeat in the Senatorial race and might likely also lead to defeat in the District #15 Representative by-election, which the same four-party-backed candidate, Ms. Telia Urey, leads at the moment.

Partisans attending the Saturday meeting expressed concerns and made pointed suggestions to President George Manneh Weah. They demanded government to empower only partisans of CDC and weed out non-partisans, who are undermining the party’s pro poor agenda.

At that Saturday meeting, partisans also raised concerns that a lot of officials were making things difficult for the President and the government. They further blamed those government officials, some of whom are in technical capacities, of leaking information about governance and calling for those involved to be dismissed.

Apparently as part of the strategies for “reconsolidating and re-strategizing for future elections,” partisans were instructed by Chairman Morlu to begin to build cells within public places. One of such places that this mandate is taking effect is at the National Port Authority (NPA). 

On Wednesday, August 14, some workers of the NPA, under the banner: “National Port Authority, Nationalists Congress CDC (NaPANCO—CDC)” posted a memo calling all CDCians and other workers, who aren’t members of the party, to a NaPANCO-CDC NPA Chapter meeting.

Of the four contact numbers on the memo, three refused to speak, the holder of the number that ends with ‘446’ confirmed the authenticity of the memo and stated that the meeting was “successfully held.” The gentleman on the line refused to call his name.

The main body of the memo reads: “Greetings from the Board of Directors and the Leadership of the National Port Authority Nationalists Congress CDC – NPA Chapter.

We write to inform All Partisans and interested members of CDC within the NPA that there will be a General Meeting on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 1:0’clock PM at the NPA canteen. 

The purpose of this meeting is to organize a stronger base of the CC within the NPA in the wakeup calls from the National Chairman of the Party for reconsolidating and re-strategizing for future elections.” 

This move by the CDC deciding to begin to use Government premises for political purposes ruling party is a bad precedent and is in utter disregard to the letter and spirit of the Code of Conduct. The formation of such partisan groups at government institutions has a clear objective of targeting those employees of government who may not join such groups. 

By using public facilities for such purposes is a clear violation of Section 8.1 of the Code of Conduct, which states: “Public Officials and Employees of Government shall use Government facilities, including residential property, equipment, money, vehicles, computers, internet, and telephones for official purposes only.”

Ruling Party Executive Wants Civil Servants Dismiss

Few days before this memo or group surfaced, an executive member of the Coalition, Representative Solomon George, recommended to President Weah to dismiss half of the employees of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. Rep. George wants them removed from their positions because “they are not supporting the government’s Pro-Poor agenda.”

In a radio interview Monday, August 5, Rep. George called on President Weah to “open his eyes and ears,” to listen to the cry of the ordinary CDC partisans. He also claimed that the current CDC-led government is made of many traitors.

“The President needs to have ears and eyes, at the Finance Ministry. He needs to dismiss half of the employees at that Ministry. I was in the Office of the Minister of Finance one day and he said, we need to do something about the folks in our offices.”

In further comments, Rep. George, who represents Montserrado County’s District #7 in the Legislature, blamed those he said were the main brains putting the government together after the 2017 Presidential and General Elections, for failing to appoint staunch CDC partisans to positions.  According to him, this led to the defeat of the ruling party in the just ended Montserrado County by-election.

“Those who started the building of this government, if you had appointed the 17 coordinators of Montserrrado County, it would have been better for us. Up to present my coordinator, who has a degree, has not been appointed.

Purported Blacklist of ‘Outsiders’ “Undermining” Gov’t

On Thursday, August 1, a list containing the names of certain officials of government surfaced on social media. According to the poster, one Manja Varney Kromah, those individuals on his list, are “undermining” their government. The list that FPA had seen has at least 20 names.

“Undermining our government and thinking that we will allow you to be comfortably in your position why our people are suffering? You must be mistaken because as of today’s date, there will be NO PEACE for you.”

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