Liberia: “MDR Not Supporting CDC,” Says Senator Jeremiah Koung
.... My party has asked me to contest (for the presidency). Discussions are going on and you can be assured that once those discussions are concluded, I will speak to you in the affirmative,” Koung told panelists on Spoon Talk, an online evening talk show.
President George Weah’s second term bid at the ballot box in October this year might face its toughest challenge as the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) is yet to decide on whether or not to support him.
MDR is one of Liberia’s many political parties and it was established by former warlord Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County. The party has been among the top five political institutions in Liberia since its formation and Nimba, the second vote-rich County is its base.
Whether or not the party would support Weah as it did in 2017 to allow him to continue as President of Liberia remains an issue Senator Jeremiah K. Koung said it is under discussion.
Koung is the Senator of Nimba and the newly elected Standard-bearer of the MDR managed by Johnson over the years.
“We went to a convention and I was elected as a political leader. My party has asked me to contest (for the presidency). Discussions are going on and you can be assured that once those discussions are concluded, I will speak to you in the affirmative,” Koung told panelists on Spoon Talk, an online evening talk show.
On the argument as to whether MDR is divided over support to Weah and that it is no longer in a political marriage with the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), the MDR political leader said his party is not divided, nor factionalized, and that he knows no written record available suggesting that MDR is part of the CDC.
“Obviously when things get tough, because of jobs and other things, people will say what they can say but the party is together and we are strong and we are moving. People will leave and people will come,” Koung said as he responded to a statement from Wilfred Bangura, suggesting that MDR still supports Weah’s reelection bid.
It can be recalled that following Senator Prince Johnson’s political outburst in which he said that he does not support Weah for the second term, Bangura, former secretary general of MDR and now Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry said that his party will support Weah’s reelection bid.
For Koung, the disagreement is in no way capable of defeating the singular purpose of the party, which is focused on ensuring that it contributes to the betterment of Liberia through better alignment or realignment.
He noted that he is aware that being a political leader in Liberia is a challenging one, adding that “some people come and lie to you as a leader while others have their own games but he does not waiver,” he explained.
“I take calculated risks. I have been doing that all my life and so, I think I am strong and I can face it. It is challenging but I think I am prepared for it because I went through the process before I got here,” he boasted.
Since the end of the war in Liberia and the country’s return to democratic rule, Prince Johnson has led a fierce campaign each presidential election to convince Nimbaians about whom they should vote in a runoff, and that game has played well for him, beginning with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005 and 2011; followed by Weah’s in 2017.
While Johnson has done this, he has never forgotten to make demands from the one he supports to become President.
For Weah, it is speculated that Johnson asked him to appoint qualified Nimbaians to the positions of Minister, Directors, and Executive Directors as well as principal deputies but Weah failed to meet up with the demand, thereby leading to the break between him and Johnson.
Johnson has not been a loser though, as his game is a pay-to-play game, something he was sanctioned for by the US government.
Koon, however, has said that he is aware that pay-to-play is not a good deal and as such he would not give in to Weah for any position.
He expressed though that he is willing to get into talks with any political institution(s) that bear the same ideology and vision as his MDR.