The leader of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Charles Walker Brumskine, says he is not being courted by Vice President Joseph Boakai as a running mate in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, the Voice of America (VOA) reported yesterday.
Earlier this month Boakai was nominated at the ruling Unity Party (UP) Gbarnga Convention to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose second term of office expires January, 2018.
Mr. Brumskine, who competed and lost in the last two presidential elections, says he and other opposition parties look forward to changing the leadership of Liberia from the governing UP to an opposition party, hopefully his Liberty Party (LP).
He’s willing to work with other parties to come up with a united ticket against the ruling party, Brumskine says.
“There’s no way that as an opposition party we will be associated with the ruling party in the 2017 elections. It is simply rumors, and as has been in the past, the tactics of the UP trying to distract the voters from the real issues. Let me make it unequivocally clear, we’re not associated with the ruling party. We’re not going to run on the same ticket. We look forward to changing the leadership from the ruling party to an opposition party, hopefully led by the Liberty Party,” he told the VOA’s James Butty.
It had also been rumored that Brumskine would team up with Liberian football legend George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Both Weah and Brumskine contested the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections individually and lost to President Sirleaf.
But Brumskine says he is willing to put aside his own presidential aspiration to work with other opposition political parties to come up with a united ticket against the ruling party.
“We hope very much that we will be able to build an opposition coalition to oppose the ruling party,” Brumskine said.
He said he first proposed forming an opposition coalition at his party’s special convention in Voinjama City, Lofa County a year ago.
“I put forth an olive branch to all opposition parties. I said to them let us follow the example of Nigeria and let us get together, sit in a room. I’m prepared to walk out of that room, not having my personal goals accomplished as long as we come out with a ticket that the Liberian people will respect, will vote for to ensure that UP does not perpetuate itself in power,” Brumskine declared.
Blames himself for losing previous elections
Brumskine said he lost the elections of 2005 and 2011, “because I did not effectively articulate what my party stands for.
“The failure of LP the last two times around I attribute to myself because we have, as a political party, the best national agenda, the best vision for our country. I did not effectively communicate them to the Liberian people during the past two elections,” Brumskine admitted.
He said his party’s platform is based on four strategic principles called the 4Rs – reconciliation, reform, rebuild, and recovery.
“Everything we want to do to change the direction of this country, for the good of our people and to build on the foundation that President Sirleaf has laid will be found in one of the 4Rs,” he said.
Promises to end corruption
Brumskine says he does not want to politicize the Global Witness corruption report. But he hopes the investigation will go further to include past General Auditing Commission (GAC) reports that are not currently being investigated by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or prosecuted by the Justice Ministry.
“My suggestion, however, will be that the fight against corruption does not stop with the Global Witness report. As you know, corruption deprives the average Liberian of the schools they should have for their children. So, we must all join in the fight against corruption and make sure that we move this country to a different level,” he said.
The London-based Global Witness alleged in a report released last May that over $950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made to top Liberian officials by the Britain-based Sable Mining Company and its Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman.
According to the report, Sable Mining wanted to obtain the concession rights to Wologizi Iron ore in Lofa County. Sherman allegedly told the company that in order to get the contract Sable Mining must first offer bribes to senior officials to change Liberia’s concession laws, a claim Sherman has denied.
Both Cllr. Sherman, a Senator for Grand Cape Mount County, and House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler, have been indicted and are awaiting trial.