MONROVIA – In less than 21 months, Liberia will hold general elections in which President George Weah will hope to win a second term in office. The probability of success is bolstered by in-fighting among his adversaries.
Former vice president Joseph Boakai, standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party, few months ago emerged as the leader of the opposition coalition, but is taking charge of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) at a time when the coalition is on the brink of disintegrating.
Despite a strong showing at the Special Senatorial Elections in December 2020, there is strife among the CPP constituent parties about managing the coalition and ultimately selecting its 2023 presidential candidate.
Recently, the CPP has been enmeshed in legal battles, with Writ of Arrest issued on its members. The first was issued by the government, through a former member of the CPP, Benoni W. Urey of the All Liberian Party, against Mr. Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress, a member party of the CPP.
Also, Cummings’ legal team has also filed a Summary Proceeding in Circuit Court ‘A’, challenging Judge Jomah Jallah’s ruling requesting Defendant Cummings to provide evidence against himself for government to prosecute him.
If the CPP fails to decide on a leader, local commentators say, it may effectively collapse and the 2023 race may be thrown open to be decided through informal alliances.
Liberians have been weighing in on the ongoing in-fight and legal battles that have engulfed the CPP ahead of 2023 presidential elections.
Euodia T. Gbatoe, student, University of Liberia:
“CDC could be re-elected if the ongoing fight and legal battles continue within the CPP. We had thought the coalition would have remained stronger together after an impressive showing in the December 2020 Special Senatorial Elections but things have changed for the worse. I can’t see the CPP taking over from President Weah if this continues.
“If the CPP decided to come back together and put its house in order, trust me, it would be a force to reckon with in the 2023 elections. The coalition could send President Weah packing in 2023, but I’m pessimistic that the ongoing crisis can be resolved before 2023 presidential elections. Joseph Boakai, the standard bearer of Unity Party is not doing anything to solve the problem and they are undermining each other, so I don’t see them coming back together.
And so, I foresee the defeat of CPP because with this kind of rigmarole we are going to give George Weah the Presidency again.”
Henry K. Varsen, vendor at Waterside Market
“We saw the CPP when they were united but to see the CPP today and their members are all in court, we thought they were going to solve their in-house problems, but now, we don’t know when their court issue will end. There is nothing in the CPP that they can show to Liberians to vote for them as we did in the Special Senatorial Elections.
“I can predict a George Weah victory in 2023 because it will be difficult for Liberians to take the CPP serious as we did during the 2020 midterm Senatorial elections. Even when they come to us for the second time, we will not take them serious.
Romeo Fabulleh, Political Activist:
“The CPP has lost its taste because due to the ongoing rigmarole. The political leaders of the CPP seem not to be serious. Egos have derailed their focus, dashing the hopes of thousands of Liberians who are disappointed with the current regime.”
“The political leaders are not genuine enough to settle their crisis, and by that, they have informed Liberians about their unwillingness to lead the country. They can’t formulate the CPP with a document that has been fortified, and now they are in court. I don’t think the CPP will hold together ahead of 2023. I predict an easy victory for President Weah because our leaders in the CPP have failed by the internal fight.”
George Kiadii, resident of Clara Town Community:
“If the CPP reconciles and joins ranks again, it would make George Weah a one-term president. A united CPP won in most of Liberia’s fifteen counties and those election victories may have sent a strong message to the ruling establishment. But as things stand, the disintegration of the CPP is on the verge.
“It’s just the matter of time. Internal fight over who heads the CPP ahead of the 2023 presidential elections and court issues with members of the CPP would make it difficult for coalition to survive.”
“On one occasion is Benoni Urey takeing Mr. Cummings to court, another day Musa Bility taking Darius Dillon to court; another person will carry Musa Bility to court. So, if we trust these people with power, this is how they are going to be dragging each other to court. My personal assessment of CPP is a group of power-drunk people that should not be trusted with state power, they have lost relevance in the country.
Varney Fanhbulleh, CEIO Member:
“The issue of court process cannot make the CPP not to win election. We understand the strategy from government and we understand the implications from the damage the government wants to cost. But that can’t secure re-election for President Weah in 2023.”
“Liberians seem to be tired with the state of the economy, bad governance, secret killings. Liberians are sleeping with hunger, electricity is not on time, and no pipe-borne water and the list goes on. George Weah said to Liberians that they “won’t be spectators in their own economy, but today, we are distance from the stadium. In 2023, Liberians will speak through the ballot box. Being in court doesn’t won’t change anything for the regime of President Weah because he will be massively defeated. “It’s glaringly that the re-election odds are against President Weah in favor of Boakai.”
Joe Johnson, Mechanic:
“I wish CPP can solve it’s crisis and once again unite to defeat President Weah in 2023. The incumbency factor could be in President Weah’s favor in 2023 but with the level of sufferings being experienced by Liberians, secret killings, missing money, the opposition will win the election.
“The CPP needs to recalibrate and put aside all the internal fight if it truly wants to liberate Liberians from this current state of deprivation, hardship.