The missed opportunity from the 2017 Presidential Election and the tough lessons learnt are still fresh at memory. The opposition was severely bruised in both rounds (…first and run-off) by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) due to the failure of key Political Parties like the Liberty Party and Alternative National Congress (ANC) to support the Unity Party (UP), particularly in the Run-Off against the CDC. Many Liberians were disappointed, and felt betrayed by the undesirable actions of the political leaders of the Parties. The reactions were mixed with some claiming that the UP leadership did not do much to attract the support of the two Parties, while others believed it was out of selfishness and greed that they did not lend the needed support to the UP. Prior to the Run-Off Election, pundits also averred that genuine support from these Parties to the UP would have given the opposition the needed win. Their projections were largely based on the numbers of votes obtained by the three Parties (UP, Liberty and ANC) in the first round, and the unchanging voting trend in the country.
In the wake of this regrettable failure and its attending consequences, four Political Parties (…UP, Liberty, ALP and ANC) came to the realization that no one political party or independent candidate will unseat the CDC led-administration in 2023. Thus, according to them, it was prudent to form a coalition, a collective ideology that gave birth to the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP). Experts and many Liberians welcome the idea underscoring that a solid coalition would easily garner the needed votes, resources and international attractions required to effect the much needed change. Like experts and my fellow compatriots, I also agree that only a well-organized coalition with the commitment of selfless leaders can defeat George Weah’s CDC and establish a governing model based on the rule of law.
It is no doubt that the CPP is the largest political grouping in the opposition community. The two front runners are Messrs. Joseph Boakai and Alexander Cummings of the UP and ANC, respectively. Boakai is very competent with both political and corporate leadership expertise. As a seasoned diploma and administrator, he has an uncompromising name recognition with favorable ratings amongst voters based on the numbers of votes obtained from the last three presidential elections. Cummings is also competent and qualified to contest the presidency. He is a corporate leader with significant leadership expertise and financial capital. However, Cummings does not have the much needed political capital and favorable ratings amongst voters compared to Boakai. His 100K plus votes obtained in the 2017 Elections was far less than Boakai’s consistent 400k plus votes. These numbers will have no significant upward or downward shifts if both candidates run on two separate tickets in 2023. That will be very disappointing and disastrous. It must not be an option by any measure. Boakai has the political capital and Cummings has the financial capital. As such, they should stop at nothing to forge a ticket by consensus to prevent the creation of any room for a divide.
Notwithstanding, the Liberty Party Political leader, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence is also an important leader of the CPP. There are indications that she might contest as well. This will be highly welcome from the gender perspective given that a female is aspiring to be head of the Presidential ticket of the largest and consequential opposition political grouping in the country. It speaks to the steady progress being made towards attaining equity in our participatory democracy. However, there are serious concerns about the return of Madam Sirleaf to the political arena, and the irrefutable claims that she’s the architect of a Nyonblee candidacy which is a canopy for undermining and disintegrating the CPP. Mrs. Lawrence is competent to run for president as well, but does not have the political and financial capital to pull a CPP win. Having Mrs. Lawrence at the top of the ticket will be a spoiler as being clearly pursue by Madam Sirleaf. The former President’s 2017 political undercut she gave her own Vice President, Mr. Boakai is well at play once more. Pundits have abundantly emphasized that Madam Sirleaf had a hand in Mr. Musa Bility’s ascendency to the Chairmanship of the Liberty Party which is her path to the disintegration of the CPP. Her distraction would be her so-called support to Nyonblee (…a female candidate). Accordingly, Madam Sirleaf is seriously engaged with leaders of the Liberty, not the CPP. The former President is acting in bad faith and the CPP must take note and exert itself. The way to counter this vicious attack from Madam Sirleaf is to forge a ticket now by consensus leaving no room for a third party scenario. Conversely, the Political leader of the All-Liberian Party (ALP), Mr. Benoni Urey may not contest or the may not feature a candidate to compete for the CPP Presidential ticket. In fact, Mr. Benoni Urey has indicated his support for Mr. Boakai countless times.
The CPP cannot afford to let the Liberian people down again like previous political leaders and Parties have done consistently. The 2023 Elections has to be the turning point, that’s why the CPP is under the spotlight. The Liberian people are not expecting anything less than a genuine change that will promote decency, the rule of law and above all, good governance.
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