Liberty Party Launch Turnout Signals Liberians Crave For Change
Monrovia – Ma Theresa lives in on Carey Street in Central Monrovia, she’s wheel chair bound, but didn’t hesitate to put her three children, 8, 12 and 18 on the street to walk over an hour and half to the Liberty Party’s headquarters outside the capital to listen and to see Cllr. Charles Brumskine who she believes will bring about the change and improvement she has yearned for in her life.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]ricaonline.com
“We’ve stayed long suffering so this time around we’ll put him [Cllr. Charles Brumskine] there to see his ways, too. I believe he’ll make a change. I want my children to go to school, I, too, can still go to school if there’s the opportunity.”
With her three children standing behind her, she told FrontPageAfrica, “We’ve stayed long suffering so this time around we’ll put him [Cllr. Charles Brumskine] there to see his ways, too. I believe he’ll make a change. I want my children to go to school, I, too, can still go to school if there’s the opportunity.”
As her children briskly walked behind her, she said, “Let’s try him, too. The other people failed us and we suffering.”
For her, it’s about giving the Liberty Party’s standard bearer, Cllr. Brumskine as try of the presidency, believing that having tried futilely in two previous elections, this is his chance to show what he’s made of.
Madusu Konneh harbors the same mentality. According to her, she was convinced by the Liberty Party’s message of providing free education.
“I’m voting for Brumskine because of my children, for their future.”
He said he’ll provide free education; I never had the opportunity to go to school and right now, the school fees is so high and I want my children to learn and become somebody tomorrow, that’s why I’ll vote for Brumskine,” she said.
Decontee Toe who hails from Rivercess County is 28, she says she has never voted before but because the road leading to her county is bad, she’ll vote for Brumskine because he hails from the same region.
“All the people who we’ve been voting for, what have they done for us, it’s time for us to try our own man,” she said.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government is delivery free compulsory education to all children of school-going age, yet the country has some of the highest figures of out of school children. For most ordinary Liberians, the free education is not totally free as claimed by the government as parents often have to provide uniforms, text and copy books and other expenses put forth by the schools.
Not all among the crowd had a made up mind, others were there to listen to the Liberty Party’s standard bearer with the hope they’ll be convinced by his message to consider voting for him. One of such persons is Elijah Boweh, according to him; he’s still undecided on who to vote as President in the elections which are less than 30 days away.
“He didn’t convince me why I should vote for him,” he said.
“Up to now, I’ve not made up my mind on who to vote for. I want a government that would bring about change. Somebody who will change things around, especially for us the youth.
He didn’t say anything about the youth, what are his plans for the youth. He spoke about his plans for the old people; we respect the old people but what are his plans for us the young ones?”
The campaign launch over the weekend was quite phenomenal compared to his previous two campaign launch in 2005 and 2011, respectively. The turnout was impressive and according to party officials, it was beyond expectations.
The premises of the party’s headquarters being too small to host the multitude, they were given the rare privilege of mounting their stage on the main Boulevard – a move that upset the flow of traffic in the capital.
Brumskine Promises Change
As the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf fades out, the 20 candidates opting to replace her, including her vice President all have the same message – change.
For Brumskine, he didn’t win the previous two elections in which he came third and fourth respectively because Liberians believed President Sirleaf could do better; however, being disappointed by her failure to address many concerns and needs, he says and his Liberty Party represents the embodiment of the change yearned for.
“We want to change this country,” he said. “All those lawmakers y’all see endorsing Joe Boakai do not want us to change this country so that they’ll continue the same old, same old.”
The astute lawyer told his supporters that he is the most qualified educationally and also has the experience to lift Liberia.
Not much explanations were provided on how the change is going to come, but he won the admiration of the crowd when he began reiterating his promise of slashing salaries of cabinet minister and if possible legislators by 30 percent. Of course, Brumskine, isn’t the first to make such promise.
“I will cut my salary by 30 percent, I will cut the salary of the vice President by 30 percent, I will cut the salary of cabinet ministers by 30 percent; but I will need your support to get the representatives and the senators, especially those people who support Joe Boakai.
“I need to have them agree to cut their salaries so that our children can go to school, so that our old people can have retirement benefits, that the disabled people can be taken care of in this country; so come election I need you to vote for Liberty Party emblem. I need you to vote for everybody who is from Liberty Party,” he said.
He added, “It is time to take government money from the big shots and invest it in the average Liberian. It is time for free education for all our children. It is time give retirement benefits for our old people who live in the interior.”
Confident Than Ever
“We have pulled the biggest crowd ever, as compared to others who are boasting that they’re the only ones that can lock down Monrovia whenever they launch in Monrovia. As you can see today’s crowd is one of the largest in recent time,” Annie Q. Seaway, a supporter of Liberty Party told reporters.
“You can see today, the road for the Executive Mansion is ours come October 10, nothing can’t stop us; our preferred candidates, Charles Walker Brumskine and Harrison S. Karnwea are queued as Liberia’s next leaders,” Emmanuel K. Johnson also said.
“This crowd is a sign that we the Liberian people are desperate for change. We need change in this country and this is the only opportunity we have to make that change. Who is more qualified in the race than Brumskine? Tell me. That’s why you see many people have turned to him,” Rufus Johnson said.
Third Time Charm
Cllr. Brumskine is making his third quest for the Liberian presidency. When Charles Taylor became President in 1997, Brumskine served as President Pro Temp of the Senate.
The pair fell apart in 1999 forcing Brumskine to flee the country after being threatened by Taylor’s supporters. He returned to Liberia in 2003 with plans to run in the scheduled 2003 Presidential election.
However, Taylor’s resignation that year and the installment of a two-year transitional government, led to the elections being cancelled.
In 2004, Brumskine campaigned for the Presidency as a member of the Liberty Party, pledging to reconcile the country after years of civil war. He received nearly 14% of the vote, 6% less than the second-place candidate, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, forcing him out of the runoff.
Brumskine contested the 2011 elections, but failed to match his performance in 2005, finishing a distant fourth with only five percent of the vote.
This time around, the party appears confident of a much better performance following the selection of Harrison Karnwea, former head of the Forestry Development Authority as Brumskine’s running mate.