26 April 2016

Liberia: Weah - Boakai Ticket - 10 Senators Reportedly Spearheading Collaboration

Photo: UN News Centre
Joseph Boakai, Vice President of Liberia.

Monrovia — Fresh general and Presidential elections are a little over one year away as politicians are making frantic efforts to be sworn into office in January 2018 to replace the regime of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Some members of the Liberian Senate where CDC political leader George Weah is serving as Senator of Montserrado County and Vice President Joseph Boakai also constitutionally serving as head of that body are said to be working hard behind the scene to get Vice President Boakai and Weah to contest on a single ticket, convincing Weah to accept a deal

But the task ahead looks hectic especially with the incumbent endeavoring to grip unto power which will see the opposition staying out of power for another six years making it 18 since the country first post war election in 2005.

Before the 2011 election, opposition politicians trumpeted the idea of forming a bloc to unseat the incumbent whom they accused of not having an inclusive government.

But by the time, the 2011 election was approaching the opposition parties became so fragmented that many supported the incumbent ruling party instead of forming a bloc to unseat.

Following the first round of polling where the ruling party led the opposition Congress for Democratic Change by a wide margin in the first round, the CDC could not get the support of other opposition political parties in the second round and ended up boycotting the runoff.

The National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) at the time headed by Nimba County Senator Price Johnson that managed third spot pledged its support to the Unity Party and the party that garnered the fourth highest votes, the Liberty Party of Charles Brumskine also went the way of the ruling party leaving the CDC with an uphill battle to face the opposition and the incumbent at the same time.

Now with another political process at hand and the incumbent Vice President already a possible candidate after accepting a petition from citizens of Lofa county to contest and also getting support from several senior officials of the Unity Party, the opposition bloc has another big task to either remain fragmented and stand the risk of losing to the incumbent or collaborate to be much stronger.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf sounded the caveat when she told FrontPageAfrica in a recent interview that no political party can win the election alone.

Said President Sirleaf "There is just one thing I like to say, there is no political party as I see it, based on my political experience that will win these elections without a coalition.

I don't think any political party can win on its own giving the number of parties, so if you see people negotiating, dialoguing it is because that they have all realized that some coalition has to be made for a particular party or parties to be successful."

Many in opposition also believe that they cannot win the election alone and Cllr. Brumskine has also pledged to bring the opposition community around the table to form a strong force to fight the incumbent.

Cllr. Brumskine says the only party that he will not reach out to is the incumbent because it is the incumbent that should be beaten at the polls.

But despite the statement from Cllr. Brumskine that he will bring the opposition around the table leaving out the ruling party, there has been talks of possible collaboration between incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai and Cllr. Brumskine and there are also talks of ongoing negotiations between other opposition politicians.

Lawmakers step in collabo talks

Members of the Liberian Senate where CDC political leader George Weah is serving as Senator of Montserrado County and Vice President Boakai also constitutionally serving as head of that body are said to be working hard behind the scene to get Vice President Boakai and Weah to contest on a single ticket.

A credible Senate source comprising one of ten Senators taking part in the negotiations who begged not to be named told FrontPageAfrica that ten Senators have planned and decided to meet and persuade the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political leader Weah to go as running mate to Vice President Joseph Boakai.

According to the source the Senators have planned to meet the CDC Senator upon his return from an ongoing Abuja meeting. The CDC has consistently said their political leader George Weah will not go as running mate to anyone but welcomes collaboration with other political institutions.

Some Senators have decline forming part of ten of their colleagues who are heading the talks.

Senator Varney Sherman (Grand Cape Mount, Unity Party) told FPA that he is not part of the ten Senators said to be negotiating such deal. "I am not one of them", Senator Sherman replied a text message from FPA seeking inquiry on his involvement in such negotiation.

Another Senator Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County also denied that he is part of any such negotiation.

"Why are you asking me this question? Did you hear that I was in a meeting with him sometimes ago?", said Senator Gaye.

News about a possible collaboration between Cllr. Brumskine of the Liberty Party, (LP) with the CDC seems to be falling apart.

Weah has also expressed willingness to collaborate saying he wants to work with political parties with shared vision.

One sticky issue of any possible collaboration remains the choice who runs top and who settle for vice running mate with Weah and his supporters constantly declaring that Weah cannot run as a vice running mate to any candidate like he did with Cllr. Winston Tubman in 2011.

Weah has himself declared that he does not want to betray the trust of his followers and will not settle for the position of vice running mate. "To achieve this policy objection, the CDC will and must remain at the helm so that the trust of our mass followers is not betrayed," Weah said.

Weah and other officials of the CDC have continuously said that their political leader is the best option to head any political collaboration closing the door for individual who might want to collaborate with the intent of heading the collaboration.

The CDC reacted harshly to a newspaper publication about a collaboration between Weah and Brumskine and Nathaniel McGill, Chairman of the CDC declaring that it is unthinkable that Weah can run as a Vice candidate to any individual.

"I called the Party chairman of Liberty Party and he denied giving the Newspaper that story and our partisans are concerned. I have received more than five-hundred calls just today from partisans who are concerned.

Let's face the fact everyone expect Weah to contest 2017 even though he has said I want to sit and listen to others which is fair enough.

If we have not had discussions with anyone for someone to suggest now that the most popular man in this country is going number two to any one is unfair, it is good to sit and have a discussion," McGill said.

Unlike supporters of Cllr. Brumskine and the Liberty Party who are expressing that negotiation will be carried out with opened mind, supporters of Weah on the other hand continue to say their leader is the first choice in any possible collaboration.

Jefferson Koijee, Youth League Chairman of the CDC recently described Weah as the arrow head who cannot play second role to any other individual.

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