CDC Legislative Seats for Sale?

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Laraamand Nyonton (right) claims CDC political leader, Senator George Weah (left), was paid by legislative incumbents to prevent their seats from being contested in the party primaries.

There may not be any primaries in 14 of the 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) at the October 10 polls because the higher bidders, many of whom are current members of the National Legislature, may have bought them, according to former CDC Executive Committee member Laraamand Nyonton.

These higher bidders, Nyonton claims, “gave the CDC political leader over US$80,000, describing it as “royalties” thereby exempting them from any primary.”

Nyonton also headed the secretariat of the USA Chapter of the CDC as its Secretary General.  He said it immediately dawned on him to resign from the party—a decision he considered for a while, because the hierarchy of the party failed to effect necessary changes that could present the party as credible and viable.

The youthful SG disclosed during a press conference yesterday that at a recent executive meeting, the CDC political leader, Senator George Weah, told the party’s executive committee members that 14 of the 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County will not be going for the primaries.

“The reason provided, which I’m finding very difficult to understand, is that these people have not done what they are supposed to do to acquire the slots,” Nyonton said, “I later learned that these people have given Weah US$80,000 which secured the slots for them.”

He, however, failed to elaborate on which of the districts have been sold, but disclosed that those who already have their slots secured are current members of the national legislature.

“We have been in the vanguard to bring about changes that will make us a better party but these have been resisted heavily, especially at the highest level,” he said.

Nyonton has chosen the All Liberian Party (ALP) as his new home.  “I want to tell the Liberian people that I’m no longer associated with the CDC and my new home is the ALP, which I strongly believe is in the position to deliver Liberia,” he said.

However, a CDC official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak for the party, refuted Mr. Nyonton’s claims against the standard bearer of the party, saying that “If Nyonton has found a new party, it is his right to leave the CDC and not to heap lies on Senator Weah.”

He told the Daily Observer in a phone interview yesterday that the CDC Executive Committee would clarify the lies heaped on Senator Weah and urged their numerous supporters not to be deterred by the negative actions of those who are determined to create disunity in the party.

Nyonton argues that Weah has been using his popularity to amass wealth at the expense of the already poverty stricken Liberian people. “This is unfortunate because it does not represent the core values of a party that considers itself as a grassroots political party.”

“What is more disappointing about the situation,” Ambassador Nyonton said “is that the funds do not go into the party’s coffers but rather for the personal use of the political leader.”

“This is why we see no growth within the CDC. Though the party considers itself the largest opposition political party, these are just words. The CDC’s got nothing to show for that and I don’t think it is anymore because many of the young people have become disenchanted about the lack of growth and development within the party,” he said.

Nyonton said it is no secret that legislative slots have always been on sale at the CDC. “We fought with all of our might to ensure that this does not give them automatic qualifications to represent the Coalition at the upcoming polls in their respective districts.”

He said the coalition appears to be a mere superficial face of George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) that makes almost all of the decisions pertaining to the merger.

Weah’s party recently joined forces with the National Patriotic Party of former and imprisoned President Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) of indicted former House Speaker, Alex Tyler. But it is unlikely that the other two parties will be given any legislative slots in Montserrado County.

The CDC has lost many of its stalwarts in the past on principles. Many of the ex-members, including its first chairman at the 2005 elections, Cole Bangalu, Secretary General as well as Lenn Eugene Nagbe, current Minister of Information and Secretary General of the Unity Party, have always mentioned lack of structure or a more coherent leadership structure in the CDC and have accused Weah of running the party singlehandedly.

Many Liberians have become critical of Weah’s actual role in the country’s body politic and have wondered whether the CDC political leader is engaged in sincere politicking for the love of country or to make a profit. His supporters hold the belief that Weah is the only politician who sincerely loves this country and the only one who can make the country a more prosperous one.

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