The opposition United People’s Party over the weekend selected Reverend John Bleah, former president of the Liberia Inland Church, as the party’s number-two to the standard bearer, MacDonald A. Wento.
The Nimbaian’s selection comes nearly two months after the standard bearer of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Charles Brumskine, also selected another Nimbaian, former Forestry Development Authority managing director Harrison Karnwea, as his running mate.
Rev. Bleah’s selection as running mate to a party’s standard bearer brings to two the number of Nimbaians in that capacity. Meanwhile, speculations are rife that the governing Unity Party (UP) and other political parties are contemplating choosing Nimbaians as their running mates.
Like Karnwea, Rev. Bleah is a resident of Saclepea and a son of the county.
Mr. Wento made the announcement on May 21 at the party’s convention held in the auditorium of the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Hall in Saclepea.
Before announcing Bleah as his running mate, Mr. Wento said Liberia is faced with multiple problems, “because of voting the wrong people into office.”
He said in the midst of economic failure, Liberia is now faced with the dilemma of electing a new government in October.
He explained that among the country’s numerous failures, it will baffle the international community to note that after years of being a dysfunctional society, “they are yet to arrive at a solution that would evolve a simple mental picture of where Liberia would be in about 5 years from October.”
Wento then rhetorically remarked: “As funny as it may sound, how many times have we heard policy interpreters saying we have a challenge to take us back to prewar status?”
He said in 21st century Africa, most of Liberia’s sisterly republics have advanced far ahead of her.
He said the country’s “forever backwardness” is one of the reasons some of the youth revolted, “because they want a future of hope, not backpedal where unpleasant memories of death and destruction belong.”
Mr. Wento stressed the need for reconciliation, adding that history bears testament of the UPP as Liberia’s national liberation movement, “a regrouping of a hardened, professionally purged and battle–poised band of political warriors ready to push out any incompetent and non–performing government.”
He said: “This movement bears the insignia of the radical matrix for reform transformation, an elite political fighting machine mobilized to threaten and uproot the ‘Last of the Mohicans’ in the domestic arrangement, and to ensure the UPP assumes the mantle of the country’s leadership for a better Liberia under my leadership.”
He noted the UPP’s impressive democratic performance since its formation, adding that the party has refocused its efforts to deepen its “motherly” role and to restructure its social contract with the people of Liberia in terms of the social, cultural, educational, political, religious and economic dimensions in the context of a multi–party and multi-ethnic environment.
“Fellow Liberians,” he said, “to achieve these virtues, we must reconcile ourselves and develop the attitude of patriotism and nationalism.
“We need to change our negative thoughts toward our country and develop the attitude of love. We need to be passionate to serve, not to be served, so as to rise above tribalism, sectionalism, nepotism as well as all forms of discrimination.”
Mr. Wento said it is on the basis of this reconciliatory drive that the UPP and its collaborating parties – the People’s Progressive Party and the Liberia Restoration Party, deemed it necessary to have the standard bearer from Grand Gedeh County and the vice standard bearer from Nimba County so that the two counties, along with UPP, can draft a new agenda for the future of the country.
Rev. John Bleah is a well-known personality in the county especially in the county’s predominantly Christian communities. He served the United Liberia Inland Church (ULIC) for many years as president and subsequently retired. He is currently the missions director of the Saclepea Inland Mission in Central Nimba County.
In his acceptance speech, Rev. Bleah thanked Mr. Wento for selecting him as his running mate. He then stressed the need to reconcile the nation, something he said Liberians are in need of because they were traumatized by the country’s civil war.
He called on all Liberians to reconcile with God before calling on each other to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
The program was attended by the executives of the three collaborating parties – PPP, UPP and LRP, and Nimbaians from all walks of life.