Liberia: “We Were Defeated Because We Defeated Ourselves”

President George Weah

…. President Weah reveals, says CDC will bounce back in 2029 “only if…”

Call it a pep talk or a dose of blunt truth, but one could hear a pin drop when President George Manneh Weah took the lectern at his Forky Klon Jlaleh Family Fellowship Church and laid bare his perspective on why his party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), lost the November 14 presidential runoff election. 

The Sunday, November 26 service at Forky Klon Church was packed to capacity, with CDC top brass in full attendance. 

The crux of the matter, according to the president, was the lack of unity among executives of the CDC, as well as rifts among partisans and sympathizers of the party as a major factor that led to their loss. However, he remains optimistic about the party's chances of reclaiming victory in the 2029 elections if unity can be restored.

Weah admitted that the division among partisans and power struggles within the party played a significant role in their defeat — emphasizing that fighting amongst themselves was the reason for their downfall, acknowledging that sacrifices should not have been made for personal desires.

Weah also highlighted that similar internal conflicts are currently ongoing ahead of the elections for the positions of Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, which could likely hurt the coalition’s chances of clinching either of the two top positions or both.

Despite the recent loss, Weah has expressed his intention to support the speakership bid of current Grand Kru County District 2 Representative, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, a CDC stalwart, for the position of Speaker. However, this is subject to an election dispute associated with outgoing speaker Bhofal Chambers, who is yet to accept the October 10, 2023 election result despite the National Elections Commission’s results for Maryland County District #2 showing that he lost.

“I recognized that we were defeated because we defeated ourselves and had no need to fight. We are going to elections for the Speakership and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and we still continued to do the same thing that led to our defeat without considering the theory of succession,” Weah said.  

In his special message, Weah stressed that unity is crucial for the CDC to secure positions such as the Speakership and President Pro Tempore in the 55th legislature — as he called for the recalibration within the ranks of the party, while urging partisans not to be discouraged, noting that the CDC had experienced defeats in previous elections but managed to bounce back.

Looking ahead to the 2029 general elections, Weah emphasized that the party’s success would depend on the sincerity and support of its partisans and executives — underlining the importance of backing candidates running as per the party’s mandate, a decision taken at the party convention.

Weah also noted that there are people that the CDC raised from the slums, who are now successful and don’t want to listen anymore. “This is the greatest setback for the party,” he said. “If we have people who believe that they have cash and will support candidates against our candidates, [it] will be a problem for us. We will be successful by allowing those who win the party’s primaries to stay on the party’s ticket, and those who do not win to also support the party. This will constitute victory in itself because they will bring their people to support us.” 

Weah expressed concern over influential individuals who no longer respected the party and supported candidates outside of the CDC, which he described as ‘dangerous’ for the party.

He asserted that he would not allow civil unrest or the sacrifice of innocent lives to satisfy the interests of his colleagues, loyalists, and party stalwarts — those who refuse to accept the election results.

He acknowledged that internal conflicts and a lack of a common goal during the campaign had hindered the CDC’s focus and contributed to their defeat. In conclusion, Weah emphasized the need for unity among CDC partisans in order to make a strong comeback in the 2029 elections. He urged supporters to rally behind the party’s candidates and highlighted the importance of a united front to achieve victory.