The recent coalition entered last week by three opposition parties – the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) – has provoked disenchantment and a barrage of criticism within its ranks, due to a ‘super privilege’ given to leading opposition party, CDC.
According to the Article of Collaboration for the Coalition for Democratic Change (Coalition), the standard bearer and the vice standard bearer will not come from the same party. More importantly, the CDC shall nominate the Coalition’s standard bearer.
“That the standard bearer of the Coalition shall choose his/her running mate from any of the other parties,” the document said.
The pact was signed at the headquarters of the CDC (Congress) in Congo Town.
But many observers from the opposition community, especially supporters of the collaborating parties, are annoyed with the merger as it gives CDC “more power.”
One such observer is an aspirant for the NPP’s standard bearer position, Rev. Hananiah Zoe, who promises to contest the position as the NPP political leader against two staunch members of the party, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and Nathaniel Barnes, at a pending convention.
Rev. Zoe, the former political leader of the Liberia Empowerment and Democratic (LEAD) Party, stressed that in selecting the standard bearer of the Coalition, there should have been an open field for every interested member to contest rather than giving that right solely to the CDC—saying that “this is not a democratic process.”
“I don’t know who came up with this decision, but I feel it is not fair and I am totally against the decision,” Zoe told a crowded news conference over the weekend.
He then called for the decision to be re-visited, “or else it remains a mere joke.”
However, it is yet to be known why this decision was made. Rev. Zoe said he is certain of winning the NPP primary; and if he does, there is the likelihood that the NPP might abandon the Coalition if the decision is not revisited.
Concerned NPP Partisans Demonstrate
Aside from this sticky issue with the Article of collaboration, there appeared to be more disenchantments within the NPP as some of the partisans have voiced their frustration with the merger.
Meanwhile, the party headquarters in Congo Town was besieged by angry partisans who are calling on their leaders to quit the coalition “if they don’t want more trouble.”
A group calling itself “The Concern NPP Supporters” read a press statement demanding Senator Taylor “to stop mortgaging their noble party all because of self-aggrandizements.” The statement was issued by the head of the group, Yekeh Kolubah.
Kolubah said the NPP is not something to be placed in one’s handbag or black plastic bag and taken away for sale. The supporters, he said, will never accept such an arrangement as it renders the party irrelevant.
However, the 15 chapters of the NPP across the country said they would reject the party being part of such a “dubious” coalition.
According to a release signed by the 15 counties’ Council of Chairpersons and the National Patriotic Youth Council of the NPP, all parties to the coalition should be given the opportunity to decide the head and co-head of the coalition.
There is no doubt that there might have been much excitement and expressions of hope within the opposition community when news emerged that efforts were made to form a force that could eventually retire the ruling establishment, which many believe has done very little to bring economic and social emancipation to Liberians for over 10 years.
Meanwhile, a previous collaborative attempt by 20 opposition parties, held in Ganta, where a communiqué, known as “The Ganta Declaration,” was signed, is turning out to be a mere fiasco as key commitments made there have already been violated. The opposition politicians pledged not to castigate or denigrate each other in any manner, and established an arbitration committee to resolve disputes. However, the All Liberian Party and the Liberty Party have been at loggerheads—with the latter accused of being a regime collaborator. The LP is yet to react to this accusation.
According to the Ganta Declaration, the signing parties would reconvene within 60 days from September 17, when the communiqué was signed, through a Joint Technical Committee (JTC), comprising two representatives of each party. Both the CDC and NPP signed the communiqué, however LPDP did not participate.