Liberia: Liberty Party Top Brass to Pledge Support to George Weah

An Elections Commission official outside a polling station (file photo).

Monrovia — Liberty Party's standard-bearer, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, may be wavering on which side to go between the two political parties preparing for the December 26 runoff election.

But top party officials, including the vice standard bearer and chairman are poised to back soccer legend-turned politician, Senator George Weah's presidential bid, FrontPageAfrica has learned.

Multiple sources close to both the Liberty Party and Weah's Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have confirmed to this newspaper that vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea, the party's Campaign Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Musa Bility and Chairman Benjamin Sanvee are expected to officially declare their support to Senator Weah today at 3p.m. local time.

The planned move has reportedly thrown Karnwea out of favour with Brumskine.

The top officials have been having quiet meetings on the terms and conditions on which they will declare their support.

According to inner sources, the party began engagements with the CDC immediately after the Supreme Court's ruling that denied their call for a rerun of the October 10 elections.

One of such engagements was held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County - Brumskine's stronghold on Sunday with stalwarts of CDC in lengthy meeting with Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (LP, Grand Bassa) and other LP officials.

However, this paper was hinted that the Buchanan discussion wasn't yielding the expected result of a consolidated endorsement to the CDC as the standard bearer remains adamant while other executives are bent on their decision to cross over.

Contacted Sunday, Cllr. Brumskine could not confirm or deny the report, only telling FrontPageAfrica that the party will make an official announcement at the right time.

"I am sure when a decision is made party officials will inform the press."

Weah came second to Brumskine in Grand Bassa County attaining 27.1 percent of the votes there while Brumskine stretched a wide margin of 50.2 percent.

Some senior members of the Liberty Party like Israel Akinsanya, Maxwell Grigsby and J. Fonati Koffa have already pledged their support to the CDC, promising to campaign hard to ensure Weah's victory.

Koffa, now representative-elect of District 1, Grand Kru County, told Voice of Grand Kru that he believes Weah's agenda is in the best interest of his district and offers the best hope for the people in the South-eastern Liberia, which is one of the most impoverished parts of the country.

Quizzed by FrontPageAfrica on whether his move met the approval of his party he said, "LP is a party of credibility.

Before the elections, the party had signed what is famously called the Ganta Declaration, committing to opposition solidarity.

There is no reason for me to believe it (LP) will act contrary to its word. My advance enforcement was to get my campaign machinery prepared," he said.

Koffa resigned his chairmanship of the Liberty Party after he was nominated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Special Prosecutor (Head of the Special Presidential Taskforce) and Minister of State without Portfolio.

He led the prosecution of bribery suspects including the former Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr. Varney Sherman, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Alex Tyler, who is now a stalwart of the CDC, amongst a host of former government officials.

The Liberty Party's National Deputy Secretary-General for Administration Seh Morris Brown is the latest to join ranks with the CDC.

On Wednesday, he pledged his personal endorsement of Weah, noting that he believes in the leadership qualities of Senator Weah and his running mate, Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, wife of former President Charles Ghangay Taylor.

"I wish to inform the public that I personally believe in the work of these two distinguished individuals and their superior leadership style.

"But most especially, I appreciate Sen. Howard-Taylor's concern about women's issues in our society, gender equity, and youth empowerment.

She has played a pivotal role in revitalizing our educational sector at the Liberian Senate. Since 1997, Sen. Howard-Taylor has continued to champion the cause of strengthening the integrity of leadership in the public sector, improving quality service delivery, introducing innovative systems and processes that provide accountability and transparency in government.

For these reasons, I have concluded to endorse the Coalition for Democratic Change in this runoff election," he stated in a press statement.

Brumskine was an unlikely ally to Unity Party's Joseph N. Boakai in his recent quest for a rerun of this year's presidential elections.

Rife speculations prior to the campaign season indicated that Boakai had rejected overtures to carry Brumskine as his running mate.

However, it was Brumskine, who gave the UP standard bearer a lifeline when he mounted a strong challenge to the results from the first round, charging that the elections were marred by fraud after the electoral commission ruled that the first-round Oct. 10 votes were fair.

Brumskine's protest of the results pushed the elections into a state of uncertainty, delaying the first democratic transfer of power in over 70 years, by weeks.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered the National Elections Commission to proceed with organizing the final round of presidential election that was initially scheduled for Nov. 7 but ordered the Commission to clean up the voters roll by removing multiple names of identification numbers and make sure that no unregistered person and those whose names won't appear on Final Registration Roll (FRR) be allowed to vote, according to the judgment.

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