A 'sea of humans' backing the opposition Unity Party (UP) overcrowded Monrovia on Sunday, 17 September 2023, demonstrating massive support for Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai's presidential bid despite a heavy downpour.
The opposition UP's show of strength defied incumbent President George Manneh Weah and his supporters' suggestion that the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) could win a first-round victory on 10 October 2023.
Weah won Boakai in a run-off in the 2017 polls as an opposition candidate.
But the narratives this year might not be the same as the 2017 elections after Weah has served his first six years in office.
The incumbent faces criticisms for alleged government corruption, multiple scandals of illicit drug importation, unexplained deaths of professionals and ordinary people, insecurity, a tough economy, and other development problems, among others.
Mostly backed by the young people in the 2005, 2011, and 2017 elections, Mr. Weah was often portrayed as different from the traditional Liberian politicians, a native Liberian whose main career had been footballing, and was thought to "have the country at heart," among others.
Now a lot of these young people including commercial motorcyclists, tri-cyclists, jobless folks, and silent voters in and out of the public service, are attracted to Mr. Boakai who and his campaign team are named the "Recuse Team."
The heavy rain on Sunday could not deter their assembly at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) down Lynch Street, and more UP supporters remained jubilant outside the overcrowded venue of the UP-campaign launch in central Monrovia.
Our reporter says UP voters at ATS vowed that President Weah's quest for re-election is dead on arrival.
The opposition supporters stated their readiness to rescue Liberia from what they described as a "youthful criminal" and drug cartel.
The ATS was the center of attraction and excitement Sunday as thousands of Liberians turned out for the official campaign launch of the opposition Unity Party.
The UP-campaign launch brought together thousands of residents of Monrovia and its environs including youths, students, women and girls as well as elders.
Thousands of them walked through the principal streets of Monrovia with anti-Weah songs including "Our father sorry, we made mistake; Our pa sorry, George Weah fooled us," among others.
Liberians are expected to go to the polls on 10 October 2023 to elect a president and members of the Legislature.
In this election, former Vice President Boakai remains incumbent President Weah's main challenger.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) says 20 presidential candidates are seeking the nation's highest seat this October.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper at the ATS, Francis Mulbah, a resident of Central Monrovia said that the turnout was a clear indication that the UP has stolen a one-round victory from the CDC.
According to him, President Weah and the CDC government have been awaiting the UP's gathering to make demeaning statements.
He suggested that from what they have seen, it's clear that President Weah is far from re-election.
"The message is resounding, and it has resonated. This is vote one vote all. We came out in our numbers to show to the CDC that we will beat them one-round victory," said Mr. Mulbah.
Also speaking, Marie Massaquoi stated that Liberians under the leadership of President Weah and the CDC have benefited from nothing but hardship, poverty, and narcotic drugs.
According to her, Liberia has lost international recognition and relevance, therefore, it's about time that Liberians stand out and say no to bad governance and reclaim the country.
"It's about time we say no to those who don't understand what bad governance means. Our coming out here today is to demonstrate to our people and the international community that we are prepared to reclaim the country," she said.
"We have decided to join forces with the Rescue Team to make this history possible," she concluded.