21 August 2017

Liberia: CDC Pulls 'Biggest' Crowd

Photo: FrontPage Africa
Supporters of soccer icon George Weah during the launch of his party's campaign.

When multitude of supporters of Liberia's leading opposition party, the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC), converged at the headquarters of the party in Congo Town on Saturday, their presence was a manifestation that Senator George Weah, a soccer icon, philanthropist and politician is at the brink of becoming Liberia's next president.

Their gathering at the Coalition's headquarters was a defining declaration that supporters of the party were poised, and come October 10, they would give Senator Weah a new mandate.

Without doubt, it seems, the Liberian people are prepared to give Mr. Weah a trial, who was defeated in the 2005 general and presidential elections by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and missed out in 2011 when he ran as running mate to Cllr. Winston Tubman, a former UN diplomat.

Whilst defeats in the past elections still resonate, this time, from all indications, it would appear that the popularity of Senator Weah has engorged, and the massive turnout of Weah's supporters is a clear manifestation that he stands a better chance this time around.

CDCians are optimistic and they even predict a first round victory on October 10, 2017.

Weah's supporters said they have mobilized support across the country and are determined to ensure that their standard bearer is elected president.

"The Liberian people are going to vote for Weah. It's going to be a first round victory as you can see by the multitude of supporters here today," Elizabeth Harris, a student of AMEU University reading Sociology said.

Political observers who attended the launch of the CDC campaign assumed that close to 500,000 CDCians may have gathered at their party headquarters. The turnout appeared to be the largest gathering of a political party since ex-president and war crimes convict, Charles Taylor election victory in 1997 over President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

Observers also indicated that Mr. Weah didn't produce such huge turnout in 2005 and 2011 elections.

Interestingly, some supporters of Mr. Weah are predominantly from slump communities, particularly West Point and New Kru Town, where his political bases appear to be solid.

"We are optimistic that the CDC will win the election. We are prepared than in previous years," Boimah Kanneh, a college student and resident of Brewerville said.

Some opponents of the CDC say not everybody at the headquarters were members of the party. However, the torrent of people at the CDC headquarters on Saturday more than twice superseded previous gathering at the party's headquarters.

"I am a diehard CDCian and I have voted in the last two presidential elections, but I've never seen people of this magnitude to gather at any political party rally like this. This is extraordinary!" Joseph Kennedy, a University student reading Chemistry said.

Senator Weah, his entourage and other supporters took another rout around the main streets of Monrovia before they reach the headquarters.

On Broad Street, thousands of supporters lined the streets (up to evening hours) as they raised battle cry and chanted anti-government slogans.

The launch of the CDC campaign was peaceful and there wasn't any report of clashes between the Liberia National Police and supporters of the CDC party as compared to previous years.

Some were heard chanting, "We don't want debate, we want Weah!", "You can have the whole world, but give us Weah; It is Weah we will elect, not Sleepy Boakai."

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