Liberia: Marriages of Commitment or Convenience?


Opposition political parties here are forming marriages in what seems to be not for commitment, but convenience two years before the next presidential and legislative elections in 2023.

Four opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) that separately contested in the 2017 elections and lost to now President George Manneh Weah consummated a framework recently that would allow them to put forth a single candidate against Mr. Weah's ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in the coming poll that ruling CDC partisans and loyalists vow to win landslide.

The parties include the former ruling Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and the All Liberian Party.

The CPP released a concept document this week that boomeranged in which it said only CPP members should be appointed to local government positions, if the collaboration won the pending elections, a concept that received widespread public condemnation, forcing the four parties to invalidate the document published online.

The CPP immediately issued a clarification to the effect that this was a draft concept paper and that the official document, which is being finalized, has not been published.

Among the four parties, only the former governing Unity Party came close to Mr. Weah's Coalition for Democratic Change with 28 percent of the total votes cast in the first round of the election. The UP, led by Ex-vice president Joseph NyumahBoakai, eventually lost the runoff to the CDC.

But there are less challenging parties that have also grouped themselves as friendly opposition or what some may term, regime collaborators, including the relegated True Whig Party and Movement for Economic Empowerment, among others, a move many electorate say would reduce over-crowdedness of the ballot papers during elections, and thereby make it easier in choosing a candidate of their choice.

However, this is not the first time parties are forming marriages. Prior to the 2017 elections, these very parties, mainly UP, ALP, ANC, MDR and LP met in Nimba County and produced the "Ganta Declaration" that was never upheld during the actual poll.Liberian electorate this time around, hopes these political unions would become cemented in building a stronger democracy for the country. Story by Jonathan Browne

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