Liberia: UPP Seeks Engagement With Ruling Party

The United People's Party (UPP), one of Liberia's oldest political institutions, has taken an exception to a recent statement by President George Weah that failure of his government will be blamed on opposition political parties in the country because they are not helping his government with suggestions and ideas to help move the country forward.

In a statement issued by the UPP, the party rejected the President's assertions and noted that as a political party collaborating with the Congress for Democratic Change; it has proffered many suggestions to the President and the party for consideration, but they have failed to honor those suggestions and ideas.

"The United People's Party is convinced that the current posture of political collaboration, which is evolving in Liberia, is a constructive engagement position - rooted in the adage that two heads are better than one. UPP calls on President Weah and the CDC leadership to welcome, encourage, and support this new trend in Liberian politics as a means of reducing the political tension in the country," said the UPP in a statement.

The statement signed by the party's National Chairman, T.Q. Harris, notes that since the inauguration of the CDC Administration, UPP has consistently proffered suggestions and practical solutions to fix the economy. We have quietly advanced a number of ideas and strategies for creating quick-impact projects which could lead to the creation of job opportunities, especially for the youths. We have also advanced procedures and processes leading towards National Reconciliation.

Although not clarified as to what the party claims were to be done in terms of development, UPP went further to say: "We have suggested development and implementation of national food production program, using a domestic menu-based school-feeding as an immediate and sustained market; and a massive construction program, using not less than 80% local material including re-enforced soil brakes and roofing tiles, along with local planks and timber."

The Liberian political environment is taking a new shape. Unlike the past when several political parties contested individually with the most popular candidate driving that party to victory in an election, parties are now merging to form collaboration. The first successful merger is the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) that comprises the National Patriotic Party (NPP), the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP), and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). By their merger, they seized state power in the 2017 presidential election.

Right after the election, the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the former ruling Unity Party (UP) quickly merged to form the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), and since its formation, it has posed a political threat to the ruling party and is strategizing in every way to grab power in the upcoming senatorial election on December 8 this year and the 2023 presidential election.

In recent days another group of political parties under the Rainbow Coalition came out with the desire to form a collaboration to contest in upcoming elections.

While these efforts have been exerted in some political quarters in pursuit of seizing state power through collaboration, the UPP remains with the ruling party and seeking its recognition to involve it in the leadership process.

"As a collaborating opposition party, UPP has been unwavering in its support for the CDC Administration. In 2018 when the President invited political parties at the Bella Casa hotel for a meeting, UPP was represented by its National Chairman and its Political Leader; along with other National Executive Committee members," UPP put forth ideas to move the country forward," said the statement.

The UPP in its statement recalled that in 2019, the Administration organized the National Economic Conference which was held at the Ministerial Complex and invited political parties, again UPP showed up and offered constructive contribution during the deliberations.

"Since the 2017 election, opposition political parties collaborating with the CDC, including the United People's Party, have stood ready and willing to assist the Administration in the process of nation-building. But we have yet to be constructively engaged and consulted on how best to address the critical national issues from the perspective of the opposition," the UPP release said.

According to the UPP, while it is true that parties, including the United People's Party, that are collaborating with the CDC since during the 2017 election season, are opposition parties, it is well to note that, politically, they have decided to relate to the Weah Administration as partners in the search for lasting solutions to national problems; fully aware that the issues are much too large and complicated for the Weah Administration to handle alone.

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