Why CDC and UP are Poised for Run-off

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Coalition for Democratic Change standard bearer George M. Weah and Unity Party standard bearer Joseph N. Boakai could end up in a 2nd-round election to decide who becomes President of Liberia

The possibility of a run-off between presidential hopefuls George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP), is becoming increasingly likely as unofficial polling results so far confirm traditional geographical strongholds of either party.

For clarity, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to begin announcing official provisional results today.

However, so far since October 10, unofficial results of the presidential elections broadcast on national radio from polling centers in different parts of Liberia show the two candidates performing exceptionally better than the 18 others who feel they have what it takes to lead the country. The unofficial count, even in the race among candidates for the House of Representatives, has led several hopefuls to already concede defeat, while others have declared outright victory ahead of an official announcement by NEC.

Traditional strongholds

These results, though unofficial and in progress, are not entirely surprising, partly because they are announced in the presence of observers and poll watchers loyal to the various candidates. However, these results confirm traditional strongholds certain political parties possess in various parts of the country. For example, the Unity party presidential candidate, Boakai, appears to be performing quite well so far in vote-rich Nimba County as well as his home county of Lofa. Yet the CDC candidate, Weah, is so far practically sweeping the southeast and boasts a large following in Montserrado County, where its standard bearer currently holds the senior senatorial seat, which he won by a landslide at his first attempt in 2014.

Bong and Margibi counties could be major battleground areas even though UP has had an upper hand there before.

Weah’s CDC is also doing exceptionally well in the southeastern part of the country, and it has been that way since he first ran for President of Liberia in 2005.  The CDC appeared to be in total control of Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties, the total votes from which could almost match the achievement of his opponent in Nimba.

Dividing the vote

Traditional turfs aside, another factor that continues to make room for run-off elections in Liberia of late, is the plethora of presidential candidates. This election period, Liberia audaciously boasts a total of 20 presidential candidates, many of whom have barely achieved a handful of votes in the unofficial count so far.  Of the 20, about seven of them are actually pulling together significant amounts of votes from various parts of the country. Apart from the two earlier mentioned, there are Charles Walker Brumskine (Liberty Party), Alexander B. Cummings (Alternative National Congress), J. Mills Jones (Movement for Economic Empowerment), Prince Y. Johnson (Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction), and perhaps one other.

So many choices of candidates make it difficult — almost impossible for any one candidate to achieve a 50% plus one which, according to Liberia’s election law, is considered an outright win.

In the past two elections, the crowded presidential race could be regarded as a business venture of sorts, especially for those who knew before hand that they could not win, but managed to pull together enough of a following to “float” to one of the two candidates who would make it to the second round.  Compensation could come in the form of cash or kind, such as a plush government position at home or abroad.

Of course, not every candidate might be considered a broker of the electorate.  There are others who genuinely believe they are called to lead and have a solid chance; while others, still, are in it to spoil the vote for another rival candidate. Their utterances, actions and campaign organization tend to give the public a basic idea of the strength of each candidate, in terms of how far their campaign will go.

For example, newcomer Alexander B. Cummings (ANC) appears to really believe that he is called to lead Liberia as president, while businessman Benoni W. Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP), is driven by an ambition that appears divided between priorities of winning outright versus ensuring that a Unity Party candidate does not reach the presidency again. “I don’t have to become President of Liberia,” he once told the Daily Observer in an interview. “I really want to make sure that the Unity Party does not win this election,” he said.

Following the 2005 elections, presidential hopeful Dr. Joseph D. Z. Korto, having fallen short in the first round, yielded his constituents to candidate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who made it to the second round against two-time rival George M. Weah. In the end, Korto eventually became Minister of Education in the first administration of President Sirleaf.

Maturing democracy

There are signs that Liberia’s democracy is maturing and that the electorate are, in turn, becoming increasingly politically aware. Examples abound in cases where, more than a decade ago, voters blindly chose candidates based more on party, religious or tribal affiliation rather than what causes and policies they stood for. Now, voters are carefully studying all candidates to know their competencies, core values and scruples, among other things, while choosing who to vote for.

This also means that the brokerage market for constituents in a run-off election may soon become extinct.

Be that as it may, the CDC and the UP have for the the last 12 years been ultimate arch-rivals, bitterly battling for political power in Liberia with tremendous partisan support on either side, polarized by perceived levels of competence and patriotism of their respective candidates.  While their traditional spheres of influence have been rather hard to shake, disruptive forces such as the Cummings’ ANC and Jones’ MOVEE have come to the fore to offer compelling alternatives, tackling the one issue that matters to most: economic opportunities for all.

Apart from the traditional third-place split between one-county candidates like Charles W. Brumskine (Grand Bassa) and Prince Y. Johnson (Nimba) these factors have significantly contributed to the reason why a run-off election is highly plausible.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Mr korkoya our country peace depends on our truthful you will be. Liberian across the globe is following every jot and details about the election.

  2. This is one of the most bitter decision to take by Liberians! Many options but single choice! We are aware that ALL THE CANDIDATES HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER AND LOVE BY THEIR SUPPORTERS! To unlocked the key of progress, the winning team needs to preach reconciliation, offer an olive branch to opponents, invite the brightest minds in their specialized fields to address the Challenges facing the country now! NO TIME TO AWARD UNQUALIFIED AND UNDERQUALIFIED SUPPORTERS! This old saying “winner take all” WILL BE A TRAGIC MISTAKE FOR LIBERIA AT THIS TIME! On the other hand, we don’t need provocateurs now! The country needs to move on!

  3. Two candidates, namely Boakai and Weah are in a dead heat! The idea of a second round is increasingly becoming a reality. Should that happen, and it looks so, I hope and pray that Boakai will become victorious.

    Boakai is calm and collected. He embodies the qualities of a good leader. He’s in his 70s, but his age does not excuse him from being an effective leader. On the other hand is Weah, who seems not to have a clue as to how he’ll govern. He makes all kinds of promises, but bothers not to explain to his countrymen and women what his policy agenda is all about. Of course, he too could be highly effective. Let’s wait and see.
    There’s one thing that the two gentlemen have in common. That commonality in the words of senator Prince Johnson is that they’re “authentic”. By authentic, Prince Johnson states that the two men are typical Liberians. In order words, the two gentlemen do not have the label of Congo or Americo-Liberian. Now, that’s a fact!

    In the final analysis, one of the two men will lead Liberia. May the good Lord help Liberia in this hour of need.

      • “We must give thanks for a peaceful elections & the overall Peace! The toughest task before any one leader ushered in as full President is to ‘Unify Liberia or All Liberians’, around national patriotism! …(Other key upfront challenges and some specific concerns, as posed by Concerned Liberians, on point, include ‘Jobs & the Economy, Fiscal Management, (specific, to ‘assets’ declaring before taking office), Infrastructures, Foreign Relations, Accountability, Good Governance, Selection of Leadership Team, Education, Vision for Liberia, Qualities that make this leader stand out and Good Citizenship’!)…It will help greatly, to know the ‘Initial 100 days goals and plans for Liberia’, as what the Leader hopes to accomplish, by the mid-term and at the end of the term, navigated! (These were major questions & concerns developed for all ‘Aspirants / Candidates’ for the highest office 2005 & 2017, by COFFOL…Coalition for the Future of Liberia)…The 1st and central test in a complex post-war era is ‘UNIFICATION’! How to bring all of these diverse, conflicting groups & forces together, for ‘unity, healing, peace and national progress’!…

    • F. Hney, the topic said, “Why CDC and UP are poised for Run-Off”. You started out well and detour to foolishness. So my question to you, how far would you want to devisive behaviors to go? “Us vs Them”. We as civilized liberians are ready to move our counrty from diversity to inclusion. We are ready to work and live as decent human beings. Our leaders need to work with everyone, free of prejudice and discrimination -and to generate awareness, dialogue and action for people to recognize diversity as a asset and not an abstacle. Ingroup and outgroup wiill not do you nor your followers any good. Humanity is better. Off course I am a woman different from you as a man. It is an asset given to me by my Creator but not an obstacle. Slavery was an obstacles and we as black people need not deed with it stupidly. Our ancestors suffered immersely. So if you think a politcal leader only way to succeed is to demogogue conqua or Americo-Liberian, then the country we all profess to love will remain right where it is right now. We need to come together for the common good of our country. See the best in oneself and share with others. ..humanity is better served than evil in oneself. So back on topic above, why CDC and UP are poised for Run-Off? What I would say to both parties, extend the olive branch for the good of humanity. Six years is long and we need to start now. Future generations are looking up to us to admend these differences. Let us come together and help our country to start the reconstruction process. We all Liberians, both abroad and local regardless of being Liberian-Canadian, “One nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. I need to come home with my Western ideas in Grand Cape Mount County. My people need me and more so the entire country. Whoever emerge as our president no problem. We will work with you. #Let’s follow Rwanda model. #it is possible.

  4. Age does means wisdom. Mr. F Heny, from your name, I know you are a Christian . When you read your BIBLE, the story of King Solomon and David tell you that leader can be young, leader can come from every walks of life. You are tslking about Boika is CALM, ok, who is not calm. I know you want to compare him with CDC . I live outside Liberia, I have not heard that George avocate violence. Lets look at it from another angle, if UP lost the presidential election, 3 or 5 of their supporters get in a schuffle with the law, should hold ellen sirlef or Boika responsible. Mr. Korkoyan (NEC chairman), peace in Liberia depends on READING YOUR LIPS…it may sound funny, but it is not a joke. We know what happened in 1985

  5. I m not a Christian, nor a George Weah supporter. I m only a concern Liberian living abroad.”GIVE TO CEASAR WHAT BELONGS TO CEASAR” , SO say prophet JESUS.

  6. Thank God the likes of Brumskine, Cummings, Jones, Urey are way below the political ladder. Liberia needs a qualified “Country Man” to lead the country. One who speaks both English and one of our traditional languages(President William Richard Tolbert,Jr. was the only exception. He was Congo but spoke Kpelleh fluently.)
    These Congo people if given the chance will continue to steal from our coffers and then abscond the country to live better lives in Europe and America as they did during the past and during the Sirleaf presidency. They view themselves as Americans. Take for example Mr. Brumskine who says he hails from Bassa. Ask him whether he can speak Bassa. He will tell you NO. What a shame. He is only Bassa when he wants Bassa votes. The other day I saw him and said to him”Moin Gai yu”. The stupid man looked at me with amazement. The same goes to Ellen. Her father was a bonafide Gola. This woman behaves like a Congo Woman. She never helped her own people. Did you ever see her take pictures with Country people? Her own relatives(the Golas)? We have the votes. We now know that one of us will be the next president. The voice of the majority of the people, is the voice of God. To our new Country Leader to be let the benefits of our resources trickle down to the majority of our people so that we tackle poverty at its roots. As you make your acceptance speech, please one of you, whoever it is, speak your language at certain point, be it Kissi or Kru, so that all Liberians can hear clearly as President Tolbert did several years ago when he spoke Kpelleh to the Liberian people for a change.

    • The country people flooding America and these people still talking nonsense. Country man this , country man that. The voice of the people is not the voice of God. So was it God that put evil people in office. No, it was the stupidity of the common man who voted because the man can say Moin Gai yu. Who cares about that. We care about the man saying “the budget is balanced” and the people have jobs, in whatever language he damn well please.The stupidity of our people will continue. We need a qualified leader, but some Liberians like to label people “country”. So now we need a “country” man they say. The same “country” people who stealing with both hands while in government. Corruption not for one group of people. Country man now stealing worse than Congau man but our people still talking nonsense. They the same ones standing in line at Moneygram waiting for money from their relatives overseas, the same relatives they calling diaspora. Let stop the money and let them live under their country president and see how they will be dancing like mosquito. Liberians rally have black hearts under all that white teeth.

  7. George Weah I hope you do not win all he will do id turn the country into a prostitute place as we all know him for a man with no values and education what can this country man along with a rebel leader ex wife. The country don’t need this.

  8. Let the will of the people prevail. Hoping that Liberians will not expose the other side of their motherland, here in Kenya, the economy has literally taken a nosedive as tribal tension rises as a constitutional crisis looms following the withdrawal of the opposition from the repeat poll set for October 26th. By November 1st, the timeframe of the current caretaker govt set by the Supreme court will have expired and noone can ascertain the dark future that will follow.

  9. Agnes,
    Coming to America is an opportunity. It has nothing to do with what you call “country people”.
    The issue is simple.
    If a person is born in any country, she/he is a native of that country. But in Liberia, a segment of the Liberian population feels that they are not natives, even though they were born in Liberia. Okay, so that’s how they identify themselves. No problem.
    Do you know how the term “uncle tom” came about in the antebellum South?
    Black men who worked in yards of their white masters thought that they were better than the black dudes who picked cotton in the fields. So, the cotton pickers mocked the black men who worked in the yards of their bosses as “uncle toms”.

    Black is black. A corn seed is a corn seed. You plant a corn see in Germany from Liberia, it will come out as a corn seed. Let’s get out of the weeds. A country person is a Liberian just as an Americo-Liberian. To refer to a person as a “country person” is vituperative!
    Let’s move on and appreciate ourselves as bona fide Liberians

  10. Sarra,
    You misread my comment. Please go back and re-read it. I do not write crap!
    Do not read between the lines. Read only what’s written on the lines.

    I do not know who Boima is. Finally, the use of polemics is unacceptable. Let’s be convivial.
    Thanks

  11. Hmmmm. I hope all Liberia sail through the elections with success. The key thing is “Who is best fit to develop your country”. I hope all those who voted also looked at the team the two key candidates have. Ruling a nation is a team work, not by an individual alone. You could have the most dumbest president in the world but his team of ministers and managers will let him shine. Likewise, you could have the cleverest president in the world but will be let down by his team. Best wishes from Ghana. One love, one Africa.

  12. An anonymous philosopher once said, “The best leaders are those most interested in surrounding themselves with assistants and associates smarter than they are and being frank in admitting this, and willing to pay for such talents.” President Obama used this strategy effectively.

    Whosoever wins this election, his primary goal is to unite the people of Liberia regardless of political affiliation. Without a united country it is difficult to effectively carry out the duties of the president.

    With all the mess Liberia has been through, Liberia needs a God fearing leader: a breach-builder and not a divider. Liberia needs a leader who is a team player, reconciler, and not a person who is spiteful.

    To speed up our economic development: health system, educational system, infrastructure development, market economy, and foreign trade, Liberia needs a leader who will surround himself with the best minds and talents. A leader who will take criticism when he is not performing in accordance to the constitution and the mandates he promised to carry out.

    Over the years, we have seen the worst of humanity caused by the atrocities Liberians inflicted on their fellow Liberians. Let’s us put our foolish pride and personal egos aside and put “The Love of Liberia and The Liberian People First”. This is indeed true Leadership.

    There is no way this little country of ours will ever prosper, despite our intermarriages and social cohesion among various ethnic groups, if we continue to practice the evils that destroyed our beautiful country. The evil that destroyed us are: war, violence, tribalism, egotism, murder, crimes, ethnic division “Native/Congo” ism, racism, prejudice, economic and social divide, sexism, nepotism, animosity, corruption, moral decadence, financial greed, hunger for power, political dominance, poor governance, financial mismanagement, ritualistic killings….voodoos, Satanic worship, stealing, sexual immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, drug abuse, drunkenness, lying, last but not all, the diminishing fear of God in the new Liberian dispensation.

    As we prepare Liberia for this generation and the next generation, let us all unite for the sake of our country. We are all Liberians. This is the only country we have, and if some foreign nation attacks us, I bet, every Liberian will unite to fight them off be it so-called “Native or Conqua”.

    I pray that our new Leader (Joe Boakai or George Weah) puts God first in his daily deliberations and do the right thing to unite this divided and broken nation of ours. May God bless Liberia at this crossroad!!!!!

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