Monrovia – The political leader of the newly-minted Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) opposition, Senator George Manneh Weah(CDC, Montserado County) and Jewel Howard Taylor(NPP, Bong) have been selected as the party’s ticket to contest the upcoming October presidential elections.
The NPP which was once headed by former President Charles G. Taylor early November 2016 formed a coalition with the Congress for Democratic Change alongside the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) which was formed by former Speaker J. Alex Tyler.
The Coalition upon formation granted Weah the reserved right to choose a vice standard bearer from any of the two parties.
Weah told supporters Saturday that his decision to choose Jewel was based on her on her experience in government and the level of work she has done in improving the lives of Liberia, especially her record of being a strong women’s advocate.
Weah sought to raise concerns about his decision to head a ticket, suggesting that he had already tried running second before.
“During the 2011 presidential elections, I set aside my ego despite the overwhelming calls of the vast majority of Liberians that I contest for the presidency.”
“Instead, I humbly allow the party to choose another person as its standard bearer to take on the mantle to head our movement.
“In this same spirit of humanity, love and wisdom I now loudly and clearly call on many persons – men and women who are aspiring to be president to follow the example and set aside their egos.”
Weah Outlines CDC’S Government Strategy
Weah said CDC government strategies would be built on six agenda including job creation, affordable health care, free-compulsory and quality education for all, qualityroads including farm-to-market roads and agriculture through the support of industrialized farming.
He added that a CDC-led government would focus on eight pillars which he named as reconciliation, employment and youth development, health and education, economic revitalization, Justice and security, gender and related issues, and poverty eradication.
According to the Coalition’s leader, a government led by him would vigorously fight against corruption by promoting accountability and empowering institutions responsible to fight corruption. He added that prosecuting individuals caught in corrupt acts would a priority of his government, if elected.
Jewel Grateful to Play Second Fiddle
In a rather short address followed by battle cry, Jewel said she was very grateful to God for the nomination and to Amb. Weah for choosing her for such a task.
“I want to thank all of those who supported this process, but I want to give a special thanks to his Excellency Alex Janaka Tyler, Amb. Barns and Amb. McIntosh for allowing me fill in this position. I promise each of you my fullest support.”
Senator Taylor who had previously trumpeted the coalition as “the dawn of a new day”, recently defeated former presidential candidate Nathaniel Barnes (Liberia Destiny Party LDP) to put her in contention for consideration as Weah’s number two.
The former first lady concluded: “There will be many occasions for conversation, but I want to say one thing, where every you are, across the length and breadth of our country, we call on all our partisans from the CDC from the NPP and the LPDP to return to base for we are beginning a journey together that will take us to the Executive Mansion under the leadership of George Weah the incoming President of the Republic of Liberia.”
The Weah-led coalition is hoping that the pick of Jewel will give them a strong chance to capture the vote-rich Bong County.
Located in the north-central portion of Liberia, Bong, as of the 2008 Census, had a population of 328,919, making it the third-most populous county in Liberia, joining Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Nimba as key counties that could tip the tie of the 2017 presidential race.
Bong is also the home of Senator Jewel Taylor Howard (NPP, Bong), the former first lady to President Charles Taylor, currently serving a 50-year sentence at the Frankland prison in the northern English city of Durham.
The former president was sentenced in 2012 and arrived in the UK last October, having unsuccessfully challenged the decision to be detained there.
A UN-backed court convicted him of war crimes over his support for rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone.
Montserrado County, the CDC’s stronghold in the past two elections is expected to be split down the middle because of its proximity to the more than 20 political figures eyeing the presidency.
As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 1,144,806, making it the most populous county in Liberia. The county is bordered by Bomi, Bong and Margibi.
This is why CDC which recently entered a coalition with the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the former disgraced Speaker Alex Tyler’s Liberia People Democratic Party(LPDP) is hopeful of victory in the elections later this year.
At the party’s headquarters in Congotown partisans like James Mulbah had strong hopes.
“I believe this coalition will work together and provide a winning ticket to address the needs of the Liberian people so everyone one can have fair distribution of the nation’s resources.”
Dressed and painted in rainbow colors with blue dominance, CDCians stood in front and around the blue decorated stage, as delegates and partisans from the three political parties chanted political slogans while awaiting the arrival of Weah and Jewel.
Our reporter at the scene observed that the numbers at the headquarters at did not measure up to expectations, especially when compared to the 2011 rally held by the CDC.
Jury Out on Whether Ticket Can Win
“We still have huge partisans who did not show up here today. They not being here do not in any way suggest that we no longer have numbers.
Our party is stronger than before, we are strong and will never fall,” Mark Duo, a partisan told our reporter.
“The CDC you see today is different from the CDC yesterday. My brother,” Massa Wesseh, a female CDCian told FrontPage Africa. “Our strength is now being drawn from all walks of life. As you know, it is three solid parties joined together to form this new CDC so don’t overlook our strength.
The CDC Montserrado County Chair, Emmanuel Reeves disagreed that CDC numbers have dropped, saying the party still maintains its members with additional partisans from the LPDP and NPP respectively. “We still have our one million men – it is not big show,” he said.
But the jury is still out on that estimation.
Besides Montserrado expecting to be largely contested and divided amongst the 20 plus candidates running, Bong is also set to be a toss-up amid reports that both Vice President Joseph Boakai (ruling Unity Party); Alex Cummings(Alternative National Congress and Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine are eyeing the county for running mates.