Top Opposition Leaders Sign Collaborative Pact

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The four political leaders after signing the pact (from left): Benoni Urey (ALP), Alexander Cummings (ANC), Joseph N. Boakai (UP) and Charles W. Brumskine (LP)

-Unifying for a common purpose

By Gloria T. Tamba and William Q. Harmon

What could be considered as a historic political collaboration in the life of Liberian politics was consummated in Monrovia yesterday as four of the top five political parties, which emerged out of the 2017 presidential and representative elections, came together and forged a common front.

The former ruling Unity Party (UP), which emerged runners-up in the last presidential elections, Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and all Liberian Party (ALP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin a nascent political collaborative for future elections, especially the ensuing 2020 senatorial elections across the country and the 2023 presidential and general elections. All these efforts, according to officials of the unifying parties, are geared towards unseating the ruling CDC, which they think has no solution for the numerous problems that the country faces.

These opposition leaders and many other Liberians are unhappy with the manner in which the CDC-led government is running the country as they believe that there is no sign of relief from the current economic hardship in the country, precipitated by the ever-rising prices of basic commodities and high inflation; unemployment, especially among the youth, is at its highest; there is no sign of a major foreign direct investment to boost the economy.

These unfortunate situations, with a year having already elapsed under the new government, are causes for concern and have prompted major political actors in the opposition community to begin their collaboration, which is aimed at being not just an alternative for future governance but a critical voice that would checkmate the ruling establishment.

The MOU, dubbed by the collaborators as “Statement of Commitment,” was signed at the headquarters of the Unity Party and is the first step to ensure that the country moves forward as a functional democratic state.

The opposition political leaders and standard bearers of their respective parties included Alexander B. Cummings (ANC), former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai (UP), Benoni Urey (ALP) and Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine (LP); each signed on behalf of their respective political institutions. They pledged to uphold the MOU, putting aside personal political ambitions, and ensure that the will of the Liberian people, especially partisans of the parties, are adhered to.

ALP’s political leader and standard bearer Urey was declared the first rotating chairman. According to the agreement, the four leaders are convinced that a fair, transparent and competitive democratic process is vital to Liberia’s long-term prosperity and security, recognizing the role of political parties as indispensable partners in national development as well as strengthening Liberia’s young democracy.

Urey, in a statement, termed the signing of the MOU as a historic moment for Liberia. The venue of the signing ceremony, Unity Party’s headquarters, the chairman noted, signified the first sign of unity by the four political leaders, noting that they have decided to put the country first and their respective political ambitions aside in the interest of the Liberian masses.

“Today, we are signing a document that begins the process of the unity we have been craving for years. We have decided to put Liberia first and to attune our political agenda in the interest of Liberia and the Liberian people, and above our individual and partisan ambitions. We are taking the bold and concrete step which we hope will never be reversed or undone,” Urey said.

With the signing of the document, he said, history was being made and Liberians would reap the impending fruits.

“Today Liberia is once again making history. Over the years we have heard the clarion call from Liberians both at home and abroad and also the call from our international partners of the need for the opposition to unite.”

The historic signing ceremony, he added, indicates that the parties are moving from strength to strength, which is increasing, and must not be allowed to wither.

The tough-talking ALP leader urged his colleagues to commit to the process to liberate the Liberian people from bad governance and under-representation. “We are soliciting the help of our people by their insistence of our continuation of this collaboration. We as a people must ensure that our political leaders put the interest of the country and people paramount to theirs,” he said.

He said the new arrangement must be prepared to sacrifice whatever it takes to implant and sustain this democracy and beyond, “to save our common patrimony, Liberia. We all have made mistakes and missteps in the past. This has led us to where we are today. Fortunately, for us as a people, we have been given a new lease on life to correct our dark past,” he said.

As part of the MOU, the four leaders expressed awareness of the weight and strength of the political leaders’ collaborative and collective opinions on matters of national leadership, the rule of law, and accountability, which are pillars of good governance.

“This collaboration is a further affirmation of our commitment to democracy, and it must be seen in a positive light by all Liberians and those looking from the outside,” he indicated.

However, the four leaders could not tolerate the recent accusations by President George Manneh Weah, CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu, and other ruling party zealots that opposition leaders want to assassinate the president. Each of them took turns to dismiss what they described as “imbecile assertions.”

“As we set out on this incline along our sojourn to democracy, we want to attract the parody and rants of apprehensive and hypocritical hordes hurling their aspersions of, to name a few, ‘enemies of the state’, ‘assassins,’” Urey said.

He added that even though worst things have been said about the opposition community, “we will be inured to those antics and enjoin them to come with us to broaden and deepen our democracy, and not to destroy or bury it. We would rather be engaged in the constructive exercise of nation-building and alleviating the burdens from our people.”

The ceremony was graced by scores of partisans from the four parties, several lawmakers from the collaborating parties and some independent representatives, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. Some of the lawmakers at the event were senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa County; Steve Zargo of Lofa, Oscar Cooper of Margibi and Sando Dazo Johnson of Bomi County. Representatives were Yekeh Kolubah (Montserrado #10), Hanson Kiazolu (Montserrado #17), David Barshell (Montserrado #3), Lawrence Morris (Montserrado #1), Francis Nyumalin (Lofa #3) and several others.

Also in attendance was renowned human rights activist Samuel K. Woods, Rufus Neufville and the spokesman for the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) Emmanuel Gonquoi.

14 COMMENTS

  1. It would be even nicer, if Liberia’s political parties are streamlined to to two “Major Political Parties”
    and an independent slot; with no affiliations to any Political Party. Then comes election time, the two major parties may have a PRIMARY; at their[OWN] expense, to select who’s best suitable as standard bearer/front runner to run for the presidency of Liberia. As it is now, the system is clumsy and way too expensive for Liberia.

  2. If these opposition politicians unite, they will defeat Weah come 2023, but the 2020 legislative election will be a bellwether of what to come in 2023. Given the worsening economic condition in the country, the incompetence of Weah’s leadership and the massive corruption taking place, I believe the Liberian people will send CDC a strong message of disapproval. That’s my prediction because voters eyes are wide open nowadays in Liberia. They know what’s going on because almost every adult has a cell phone, and radio stations proliferate the country. People are informed.

  3. Freeman has a very good suggestion. Let’s take for example the situation in America. There are two major political parties in the US; the Republican and Democratic parties. As election time looms across the political horizon, an X number of Demoncratic politicians are warming up their respective engines to challenge Mr. Trump. Of course, some Democratic politicians have made their declaration to run already. Many more candidates are expected to jump in the ring pretty soon. And yes, there’s a possibility for Jill Stien and other unaffiliated partisans to challenge Mr. Trump.

    In Liberia, it’s a little different. Like the US, ours is a presidential democracy. Unlike ours, the US’s presidential democracy is Jeffersonian. Maybe, the Liberian democracy can be labeled as a parliamentary democracy, although the head of government is a president, not a prime minister. The issue is whether it will be possible for two major political parties to be formed in Liberia. If that’s what the four main parties are aiming at it’s all good.

    • Multiparty democracy is an evolving process in Liberia. Eventually, and for economic and political reasons, there will be fewer parties in the country and perhaps we will end up with two eventually. But that process will depend on the leaders of these parties and the trust between them. Democracy is a trial and error process. I believe George Weah’s presidency has energized the opposition more than they were when Ellen was president because Weah’s administration is a complete disaster so far. They REALLY don’t like Weah and that is the impetus. But legislative elections in 2020 will be a referendum on George Weah and the CDC. If they lose big, then all bets are off for Weah in 2023.

  4. Congratulations to you guys. Please remain strong; don’t let the Liberian people down. With the CDC-led government not merely incompetent but so brazenly corrupt too your coming together as you have is the only peaceful and effective way out. People are embarrassed and ashamed; they are hurting badly. Keep up the good work; we are with you 100%.

  5. Phil,
    You are a darn good conversationalist. It shows in you my friend. You have a noticeable tendency to agree or disagree with a specific topic without having to use a bullhorn or an Angel’s trumpet to showcase yourself displeasure. We both share a commonality of interest in some areas. We do have our share of differences. However, that’s very normal.

    A two-party system will be good for Liberia. Additionally, if Liberians could embrace or practice the primary system, our country’s democratic system would be enhanced. For instance, if the primary were being used, all declared presidential candidates would converge on one county at a time in alphabetical order…..Bassa, Bong, Cape Mount, etc.

    Phil, Liberia was established before the State of Israel., Liberia in 1847 and Israel in 1948. Yet, Israel is a major two-party democratic nation. Of course, Liberia is larger in size than Israel. It’s about time that we had pushed ourselves out of the third world. What’s really holding us back? This is a 65,000-dollar question that could weigh heavily on you. You csn take a crack at it if it’s worth your time.

    As matters relate to Weah, it’s my hope that he’ll swim out of the ocean. You happened to have mentioned the issue of a referendum. Well, in all democratic nations, all voters develop a different line of thinking after a president or prime minister has served for a couple of years. Example, in the US, the democrats are in control of the Lower House. Why? Brief answer…”referendum”! The American people, (we) became united and informed Trump that he was driving in the wrong direction. I am not surprised that Liberians are very concerned about their country.

    I certainly hope Weah will turn things around. I am sure he’ll try. Phil like you, I want the very best for Liberia. Good economy, good roads, good schools and all the good stuff.

  6. I wish the four key politucal parties well, but it’s regrettable that when they had the best chance to prevent Weah from coming to power in the first place during the last elections, some of them refused to combine forces behind Weah’s competitor in the run up. In the event, some 62% of the electorate who didn’t vote for Weah left it to some 38% of the electorate to elect the clearly unsuitable and incompetent Weah, thus leaving the outside world to marvel at the stupidity and ignorance of many Liberians. Btw, why are the four collaborating parties not inviting the smaller parties with likeminded Liberians to join them in the struggle to.make sure that Weah and his corruot, greedy, incompetent and inexperienced hoodlums have only one term—the one terrible term that hopefully will teach Liberians NEVER AGAIN to have this kind of clueless leadership in our country.

  7. THE SIGNING OF A MOU BETWEEN THE FOUR OPPOSITION PARTIES IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THIS IS A CLEAR INDICATION THAT THE INTEREST OF THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE HAS BECOME A SERIOUS THOUGHT. GOD BLESS LIBERIA.

  8. LIBERIA, and LIBERIANS! WAKE UP! Yaw better wait & WATCH… will this ‘Collaborative Pact’ even last?! WE DEFINITELY know Urey…Yaw really think these guys can stand each other? Yaw really got short memories. For real, who can be labeled ‘enemy of the State’ or ‘assassin’? Yaw take this thing for FUN? They ALL come from totally different backgrounds, with their own agenda. Yaw know their outside connections? What almost happened to Senator Prince Johnson when he was lured to a meeting in Ghana? Yaw PLAYING… PLAY, PLAY KILL BIRD.

  9. No two of them hold the same principles, support or esteem the same men, or aim at the same results. They agree only in hatred of the CDC. The basis of their compact is a common malignity. They do not pretend to think alike on any of the great questions that divide the country.
    I do not believe that such a coalition will command the confidence and receive the support of the Liberian people. The coalition will not hold because Brumskine will like to dominate and Cummings is selfish why Urey is aggressive in the manner in which does political business.
    The CDcians at home and in the diaspora have no apprehension of the coalition that has been formed against Coalition for Democratic Change. They believe that it will forfeit the support of thousands of voters, who, under other circumstances, would not vote for the newly formed coalition

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