“Our Ma fooled us, our Pa na come,” reverberated throughout the vicinity of the newly acquired headquarters of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), where thousands of partisans gathered yesterday for the dedication of the facility.
The song claimed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has failed to live up to her promises to the Liberian people and it is time for her to go, along with Vice President Joseph Boakai, who aspires to succeed her.
Their message called for a total change in the leadership of the country because they “are now tired and weary of the current administration.”
The crowd complained about unbearable economic hardship under President Sirleaf’s administration, erupted into song after song indicating that, under the LP government, the US rate will be drastically reduced and living conditions would improve, though they did not explain how.
“We want change and we believe that only the Liberty Party can bring that change,” a partisan said.
The political leader of the LP, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine did not disappoint his supporters and in his response briefly declared that “change is definitely on the way.”
Cllr. Brumskine, like many top contenders for the presidency in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, appears he would be more poised to deny the ruling Unity Party (UP) a third term.
He told his fellow partisans that with their consent and commitment to a just cause, President Sirleaf and her deputy, VP Boakai, who has assumed the political leadership of the UP, would be retired at the polls this year.
“President Sirleaf and her VP have done what they could do for Liberians. So it will be prudent enough for them to be retired together,” he said, “because the UP administration has nothing to offer Liberians again.”
Just ahead of the 2011 presidential and legislative elections Cllr. Brumskine himself promised Liberians that if he did not win the presidency that year, he would retire from politics for good. He has not since addressed that promise in his bounce-back bid for the nation’s highest office.
He however indicated that Liberty Party is better positioned and prepared to lead this change that Liberians are calling for, adding that the LP is the most prepared alternative to the ruling party. “Our gathering here is more than just for the dedication of our new headquarters; it is a dawn of a new day for our beloved party. We are here to bring hope to our people,” he said.
“This government just admitted to us that it has failed us. The President said that her government cannot reconcile Liberians and fight corruption, which she has on numerous occasions termed as public enemy number one and a vampire,” he said.
The President, in her state of the nation address, admitted that two areas that have posed challenges to her administration were reconciliation and the fight against corruption.
Senator Prince Y. Johnson was more than a guest of honor at the ceremony as the crowd went into massive celebration upon his arrival. “I’m here in the spirit of collaboration, because this is the only way we will succeed in our quest to deny the ruling party a third term,” he said.
Senator Johnson, who also initiated a collaborative meeting that eventually led to “the Ganta Declaration” in September 2016, added, “We have to ensure that the UP government is booted out this year. Madam Sirleaf and Joe Boakai are in a political marriage and they must leave the scene together.”
Many other opposition leaders, including Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP); Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress; Dr. J. Mills Jones of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) and others have been pushing for collaboration within the opposition community if the UP is to be defeated at the polls this year.
What has been difficult until recently for collaborative efforts is the choice of who should be standard bearer. But recently, three parties – the Congress for Democratic Change, the National Patriotic Party and the Liberian People Democratic Party – established a coalition, Coalition for Democratic Change, which many see as a viable collaboration. The coalition is headed by Senator George Weah with NPP’s Jewel Taylor as vice standard bearer. Whether any other collaborative efforts will arise as the election draws nearer, remains to be seen.
Liberty Party stalwarts, including acting chairman Ben Samvee, secretary and assistant secretary general Jacob Smith and Kla Toomey, Darious Dillon, Israel Akinsanya, Laurence Bropleh, E. Surprise Wea, Vincent Willie and several others, graced the occasion.