FrontPageAfrica (Monrovia)

Liberia: Inconsistent CDC? From Brumskine Failed 2011 Collaboration to Urey's Warning

Monrovia — Politics in general is dynamic, so is Liberian politics but one thing that is now becoming glaring is the change of political gear by Liberia's main opposition Congress for Democratic Change, forming friendly ties with individuals and breaking up within a twinkle of an eye.

Whether it is all intended to protect the presidential ambition of the party political leader, George Weah or just an inconsistent political play by a political party remains the big question lingering on the minds of many Liberians.

Following a good show of political strength during the 2005 elections where Weah and the CDC won the first round of voting with 275,265 votes representing 28.3% only to be constrained to a runoff by the nearest rival, the Unity Party, which managed just 192,326 votes representing 19.8%, the CDC has remained a major player in Liberia's body politics.

In the 2005 runoff Weah and the CDC obtained 327,046 votes or 40%, while eventual winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf obtained 478,526 votes or 59.4%.

Although Weah and his party protested the results of the runoff in vain, but Weah became a hot cake for Liberian politicians who quest for the Presidency has been dashed over the past years, as many politicians felt that forming a political partnership with Weah could be the surest way of ascending to state power.

So too Weah and the CDC grabbed the opportunity to play the politics of business and political gimmicks, shifting tune , forming alliances and breaking up.

Weah, Brumskine Collaboration Foiled

In 2009, talk of a Weah, Brumskine alliance to form a common political front in ousting incumbent Sirleaf spread like wildfire as meetings and discussions were held but according to inside party sources, the agreement of who runs first and who second could not settle the deadlock.

Still there were others who felt the CDC and Weah had monetary demands which were not met by Brumskine and his Liberty Party even though those talk of money were defused by the CDC.

Aging Cllr. Brumskine saw 2011 as his final chance to taste the presidency, hoping to convince young Weah to play a second role to him where he could later return the favor to Weah in 2017 to allow the later stand as president.

As good as many Liberians viewed the Weah and Brumskine collaboration, somewhere down the line things did not go as planned as Weah and the CDC opted for Cllr. Winston Tubman, who did not have an established political party as Cllr. Brumskine.

Cllr. Tubman had only contested the 2001 presidency on the ticket of the former ruling National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) a party he quickly abandoned to join a smaller party which he later used to form a merger with the CDC, paving the way for the fulfillment of his presidential ambition in 2011.

Unlike Cllr. Tubman, Cllr. Brumskine was already a household name in Liberian politics as his newly formed Liberty Party made all the headways until the emergence of the CDC and Weah.

In 2011, CDC partisans and other political observers saw Cllr. Tubman as a political excess baggage to the CDC as the Liberia National Union (LINU) party he used to convince the CDC and Weah in supporting him as the standard bearer for the CDC was not amongst top political parties in Liberia.

In 2005, LINU's coalition with two other political parties to form the United Democratic Alliance still exposed the party's limited popularity as the candidate for the three-party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) coalition, John S. Morlu only managed 11 spot out of 22 contestants, winning just 12,068 votes or 1.2%.

There were speculations that money changed hands in making the CDC and Weah to shift attention from Brumskine to Tubman and consequently sealing a deal, but the CDC and Tubman all rubbished the reports of under the table envelope fast tracking the political deal.

Tubman told FrontPageAfrica in 2010 in Kakata, Margibi County "I don't think I should even give this kind of street talk any form of credence. Ambassador Weah and I have everything it takes to make Liberia a better place for our people. We have a lot in common, that is why we have decided to come together in the interest of our beloved country. Therefore, we will not waste precious time on these kinds of empty talks."

Acarous Gray, now a CDC lawmaker at the time also said, "I think that the rumors are being circulated by the incumbent leadership, because they are afraid of the ticket, or let me say they are paranoid. This ticket brings both international and local support to the table, which no Presidential ticket has got in recent years. Because of this, they have elected to themselves to sell such falsehood."

Weah had earlier said he is popular and could not run as vice to wither Brumskine or Tubman "Politics is about number and the Liberian people have given me their blessing to direct leadership and guidance for them, and why should I go as vice running mate to counselors Brumskine or Winston Tubman?" Ambassador Weah stated before later shifting to go second to Tubman.

After what was dubbed the biggest political deal in recent time saw Weah settling as a vice presidential candidate to Tubman, the 2011 performance of the CDC is now history as the party could not repeat the feat it enjoyed in 2005, winning the first round of voting before surrendering to the Unity Party in the runoff.

This time around, in 2011 CDC trailed the UP in the first round by more than 10% margin. The Unity party obtained 530,020 votes or 43.9%, while the CDC obtained 394,370 votes or 32.7% before the CDC boycotted the runoff election claiming election related irregularities.

Urey next victim?

The CDC and Weah popularity has undoubtedly made the party a hot cake for many politicians who are now becoming prey to the CDC political game. Liberian businessman Benoni Urey was one man who in a country where the regime of the day takes politics to business, giving out business deals mainly to cronies and sympathizers risks his business establishments and openly joined the CDC and campaigned with the party.

After Urey joined the CDC, it was reported that he was contemplating using his stay in the CDC to acquaint himself with partisans and later play the political card to become standard bearer for the party, pushing his way through the party hierarchy with the help of his financial strength. The Urey, CDC relationship has been on course until recently when the party issued a warning to Urey to stop forming small groupings insisting that such is against the code of conduct of the party.

Stated the CDC letter to Urey "By directive of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Mighty Congress for Democratic Change (CDC); I am pleased to write you this communication, driven by your liable political behavior, which tends to promote a strange ideology, & may be a subtle devise to engender selfish political discord through 'Organized factional activity' as you desperately move to idolize what is now known as 'Friends of Urey'. Please be informed that these demonstrated violations of party policies are also a repugnant breach of PART II BY-LAWS, Chapter I Codes of Conduct, Rule 7e of the constitution of the Congress for Democratic Change. Thus, it is in your best interest to be cautioned that the flagrant missteps characterizing said deficits may aggravate far-reaching consequences that could be averted only were you to halt any further actions on that path of errancy".

The CDC warning leaves many unanswered questions as in several districts in Liberia lawmakers from the CDC formed such groupings including Friends of Thomas Fallah, Friends of Munah Pelham, and several others, but many are wondering why the CDC will frown on its partisan forming a support group.

Sources have confided in FrontPageAfrica that fear is gripping officials of the party due to Urey's declared intention to contest the presidency, whilst nearly all senior officials of the party are in support of Weah contesting the Presidency.

Even before the primaries are held, the Party Chairman, Vice Chairman for Operations have been pledging their support for the Weah senatorial bid in 2014 and his presidential bid in 2017.

The Chairman of the CDC has already expressed his support for one partisan of the Party, Weah saying- "The political leader of the CDC will be participating in primary, I will vote for him I will call all members of the executive committee that I know to my home and ask them to vote for Ambassador Weah. I am the National chairman and I have a strategy to ensure that my political leader wins".

Solo also said:"If you want to be a member of the CDC it is your constitutional right, but if you want to contest in Montserrado on the CDC, I will not support you. If you want to become the standard bearer for the CDC come 2017 I will not support you. I will not vote for anyone wanting to be senator for Montserrado County and standard bearer for the CDC."

Mulbah Morlu, Vice Chairman for Operations and Mobilization of the CDC also expressed similar support for Weah, when he declared that Weah will win two presidential terms.

"Weah cannot be bought with money, he is above the purchase, George Weah is a property of the Liberian people, you cannot buy that kind of man. Ambassador Weah wants me to tell you that the only thing that can stop him from running is death and God will be gracious to us to let him live to serve to senator to be president to serve two terms. So that information is false, it is misleading, it is unfounded, it is gibberish, it has no iota of truth" said Mulbah Morlu. The strongly-worded CDC letter to Urey has been viewed by many as an attempt to throw Urey out of the party to avoid a contender to Weah for the standard bearership of the party come 2017. With the financial strength of Urey, CDC party officials fear that Weah could have a tough test during primary which they are now moving to avoid.

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