-Says Coalition was not founded to pursue Taylor Agenda; denies Pres. Sirleaf’s Support
By David A. Yates & Alvin Worzi
The standard-bearer of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change, Senator George Manneh Weah says after 12 years of no improvement in the lives of the Liberian people under the Unity Party led government, it is time for a new breed of leaders to take the stage and make their contribution to clean up the mess.
Weah, who addressed journalists yesterday at his party’s headquarters in Congo Town upon his return from Nigeria, said in the past 12 years, he has remained the true voice of the voiceless in the country and “We have kept the torch of hope burning for the marginalized people of Liberia as the leader of the opposition.”
“My record as a proven patriot and achiever is there for all of you to see. I came from a very poor and humble background like most of you. I used my God-given talent with the support of my late grandmother to lift myself out of poverty. I represented Liberia in the international arena with class and compassion.
“I have worked immensely to make Liberia peaceful and stable; therefore, I want to make it crystal clear that I will not engage in any activity that has the propensity to derail the gains we have made.”
On the runoff elections on November 7, he said Liberia deserves nothing less than a free, fair and transparent process that will produce the will of the people.
He said democracy is about the will of the people, and not the will of a selected few, noting that Liberians have spoken very loudly and clearly in the first round and are yearning for change.
“These elections are about the hopes and future of our country and that no amount of fear tactics and intimidation will stop the Liberian people from realizing the change they truly desire; and the notion that the CDC is a movement to bring Charles Taylor back to Liberia is not true,” he clarified.
He said the CDC has its own agenda, which is not a National Patriotic Party agenda. “Our vision for this country which we have clearly explained since the 2005 elections is an inclusive form of government with everyone having equal access to opportunities and resources including the poor and marginalized.
“This is the lowest level that my opponents have taken our national politics. Instead of telling you about how they will make your lives better after being in power for 12 years, my opponent and his people are lying to you that Charles Taylor will influence me when you make me your President.
“I want you to know that the case with Charles Taylor is already settled in international court and we fully respect that decision, and there is no way he can run Liberia from there,” he said.
In what may be termed as an aside to the NEC, Weah said, “Our people have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. It is therefore mandatory that you perform this job responsibly without fear or favor.
“The continued peace and prosperity of this country depend on how you will conduct these elections. We are aware that there are many influences and pressures on you, but remember that your job is to announce the will of the people and nothing else,” Weah said.
He said the information that is spreading that certain international powers will not work with the CDC government is false, misleading and dishonest.
“I have met with all our international partners and regional leaders and assured them that our government will play by the rules and seek the interest of the Liberian people who have suffered for so long.
“I want all Liberians to know that international partners are prepared to work with whoever the people choose to be their leader,” he said.
The CDC standard bearer called on his many supporters not to allow anyone to deceive them with the notion that Liberia will fall into lawlessness and chaos if the CDC wins the election.
“If you look at our history since 2005 we have remained peaceful even when we disagreed with the outcome of past elections. CDC is and will continue to be a non-violent movement comprised of patriotic Liberians.
“Those who spread such lies and fear are dishonest people who want to do everything to maintain the power even if the people spreading the lies have done nothing good for the country,” said Weah.
He also used the occasion to debunk the “lies being perpetrated by enemies of progress” that he is receiving support from Madam Sirleaf. “If the Unity Party is not able to cultivate a relationship with its outgoing standard bearer, they should not scapegoat the CDC.
“You have your problems, deal with it. I want the Liberian people to think very hard about this, don’t give power to people who are disunited and very distrustful of each other; those that are bent on creating division and acrimony among our people,” he said.
He lauded President Ellen Jonson Sirleaf for demonstrating to Africa and the world “that we have leaders on the continent who are ready to turn over power when their term expires. I would like to recognize the National Elections Commissions (NEC) for the efforts made in conducting the first round of elections even though we still decry the many lapses and irregularities that engulfed the process,” he said.
Senator Weah called on the NEC to perform a very important job that will see Liberia experience a peaceful transfer of power from one living president to another living President-elect.