Sunday, August 15, 2010

COALITION GLITCH? CDC’s ‘Unambiguous Disapproval’ Threatens ‘Grand’ Merger

By Nat Bayjay

Source: FrontPage Africa


What appears to be a coalition glitch surfaced in the midst of the formation of a grand coalition that is to stand as a major contender to incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in next year’s Presidential and Legislative elections as a faction within George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is expressing opposition to being a part of what is styled and named ‘Coalition for Democratic Change’. As if to further worsen the grand coalition’s dream, several other parties have backed off from what was initially slated to be an eight-party grand coalition, limiting the signing of a communiqué Saturday to only four political parties.

Fearing that the political leader of the party would not be allowed to assume leadership of the coalition, some executive members of the CDC, in an August 14 letter to the Chairman of the CDC, Montserrado Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, described their action to oppose the signing ceremony as an unambiguous disapproval and that the decision to form the collaboration was not based on the knowledge of the locals believed to be the larger base of the CDC.

Coalition Convention- A Slaughter House for Weah?

Budu Wilson, Vice Chairman for Administration, Adama B. Samolah, Vice Chairman for Operation, Acarous M. Gray, Deputy Secretary General and Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr., National Chairman on Policy Committee stated in the letter, “Negotiators of the ‘Proposed Grand Coalition’ appear reluctant to clearly state in the communiqué that the CDC will assume leadership of the coalition. The refusal of negotiators to initially identify the frontrunner of the coalition, coupled with verified anti-CDC leadership campaigns being staged by some stakeholders of the alliance, is a worrying development that may threaten the implementation of any signed communiqué”.

The dissenting letter from within the party’s hierarchy seems to further strengthen speculations that the coalition is ganging up to defeat Weah during whatever conventions that would be held leading to the 2011 elections.

Weah, for his part, insists that if he is to form a part of any alliance or merger, the party with the largest number should head it and Saturday’s signing ceremony that has the signature of his CDC could as well be pointing in the direction of his elimination during the conventions.

The opposing executives said: “In response to your well-circulated ‘Short Message Service’ (SMS).in which you have invited strategic party members to our national Headquarters on 13th August 2010 at 2PM, to brief partisans about a ‘Joint communiqué’ expected to culminate into a ‘Proposed Grand Coalition’, an ideal that has already been named and styled ‘Coalition for Democratic Change’, we wish to express our unambiguous disapproval and opposition on the signing of the communiqué”.

Riding on CDC’s Popularity?

Gray and others believe that the coalition is being formed in order to ride on the grassroots’ popularity of the CDC, as they stated in their letter: “Additionally, we are also under the impression that a mass rally and street parade is being envisioned to accompany the signing festivity, with the Congress for Democratic Change providing political leadership due to its vast grassroots support base”.

Originally planned to comprise of eight parties, the August 14 joint communiqué witnessed only four parties affixing signatures to the communiqué at a well attended ceremony held at the newly refurbished Monrovia City Hall.

Weah’s CDC, Cllr. Winston Tubman’s Liberia National Union (LINU), former President Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP), and former warlord Sekou Damate Conneh’s Progessive Democratic Party (PRODEMP) affixed their signatures on a document, forming what they called a grand coalition named and styled as Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Last year, Cllr. Tubman’s LINU and CDC signed a joint communiqué in the Ghanaian capital in what was expected to set the stage for both candidates to have a joint ticket.

At the time, both Weah and Tubman agreed to collaborate, join resources and efforts to put up a joint challenge during next year’s general elections. The pair also agreed to report to their respective Executive Committees on developments in keeping with the parties’ constitutions. The two political leaders at the time called upon other opposition parties to join in their collaboration efforts.

With Saturday’s signing, observers are getting overly convinced that Weah may be heading to the slaughter-house at the convention.

An inside source of the NPP revealed to FrontPageAfrica recently that under no condition would they sit and allow Weah to head any coalition that they would form a part of.

“But who will sit and allow Weah to head any coalition ticket? We are just dragging him to the convention to defeat him”, the insider had told FrontPageAfrica.

Four other parties who had been mentioned earlier to form a part of the coalition backed off at the last stage with some of them taking to the airwaves to deny ever being a part of any grand coalition.

Liberia’s oldest and longest serving True Whig Party (TWP), the late President Samuel Doe’s National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), and the National Reformation Party (NRP) were said to be a part of the coalition but few hours following the announcement that linked them to the coalition, the TWP and others denied knowing anything about such a grand coalition.

“While it’s true that we have been in series of coalition talks and are willing to form one, we have not finalized anything of such with anyone”, an executive of the TWP had said.

Earlier, former warlord Alhaji Kromah whose party had been linked to the coalition described the action on the part of the NPP as irresponsible because according to him, his All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP) had signed or reached no agreement of any coalition.

Additionally, fear of inconsistency seems to also be haunting the CDC opposing executives: “In furtherance, history of political alliances and coalition-building processes has proven very fragile and inconsistent, and the extent of these inconsistencies has always turned out to be disruptive and politically chaotic”.

But Cyrill Allen, Chairman Emeritus of the NPP, provided what appeared to be an entirely different reason for the boycotting parties. He said political parties which should have affixed their signatures on the document to total the eight, were having some problems with the National Elections Commission (NEC), therefore they were unable to sign.

Allen noted that the gathering of politicians to form a grand coalition is not something new in Liberia, because on many occasions political parties have tried to form alliances.

He believed that the merger of the opposition sometimes failed because of greed and personal interest.

Doe-Sherrif, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould, Atty. Samuel Y. Zaza and Garbla V. Williams signed on behalf of their respective parties as national chairmen during the weekend ceremony.

The communiqué, which was read by CDC Legislative Chairman and Montserrado County Representative Rufus Neufville, told partisans of the various political parties that they met and reviewed the progress made in the on-going discussion aimed at forging collaboration for the upcoming 2011presidential and general elections.

Neufville acknowledged that the grand coalition’s commonality of purpose and philosophy in the promotion of national unity, sustainable peace, good governance and development as necessary conditions for ensuring an effective participatory democracy in Liberia.

He said the UP's nearly five years of misrule has brought untold hardship and abject poverty to the vast majority of Liberians.

Recalling on a convened consultative meeting that was held at the Great Wall China Restaurant on 10th Street, Sinkor, growing out of Montserrado County Senatorial Bi-election November 24, 2009 victory of the opposition on December 3, 2009, Neufville said political leaders of the CDC, NPP, Liberty Party, Alliance for Progressive Democracy (APD) and the NDPL resolved that a joint secretariat would be established to draw up modalities to consolidate collaboration amongst opposition political parties ahead of 2011 elections.

Based on the hiccups being incurred by the coalition, some political historians who have been following the trend of Liberian politics during the past years are arguing that it could be difficult for the grand coalition to yield any fruitful result as anticipated by the framers of the communiqué. With election season only months away, complications of the latest communiqués looking to bolster the opposition political cards appears to be headed for trouble amid uncertainty of cohesiveness and chemistry of those hoping to bond in time for the 2011 political play.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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