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Bad blood entrenched in opposition

Abdullah Kiatamba predicts division if runoff is held in 2023

Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) supporter Mr. Abdullah Kiatamba has predicted here that opposition leaders would be reluctant to give support to each other if one of them goes to a runoff against incumbent President George Manneh Weah in 2023 due to an existing entrenched bad blood in the opposition community.

“What I fear is that the opposition got bad blood, the bad blood is too much … for [Alexander B.] Cummings to look at [Amb. Joseph Nyumah] Boakai and say I endorse you [in the] second round,” Mr. Kiatamba told a local radio talk show on Prime FM Thursday morning, 21 April in Monrovia.

Kiatamba indicated that you have people calling another partner criminal, an act that he thinks is not going to make supporters of these different opposition political leaders happy.

“So there’s a bad blood. Cummings’ people are seeing Boakai as a failed man who did not use wisdom when wisdom was needed to address the issues, the division,” he said.

“So Benoni Urey, Nyonblee Karnga – [Lawrence], Musa Bility, the bad blood is so much entrenched in the relationships that if they go to [the] second round people will be reluctant to support their friends,” Kiatamba claimed.

His comment about the political divide relates to a prolonged internal political crisis that eventually broke apart a once-formidable opposition bloc, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) which was founded by four opposition political parties.

Unity Party (UP), All Liberian Party (ALP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and Liberty Party (LP), once under the CPP umbrella have now divided, leaving only ANC and a faction of LP as allies.

Their path to break up had a period of unending brutal exchanges that ended up in lawsuits which are yet to be concluded as Liberia braces for the 2023 presidential and legislative elections. 

Mr. Kiatamba indicated that the opposition bloc is dead, no matter how people pretend.

“CPP is dead, I mean Liberty Party and ANC [Alternative National Congress], they can pretend, they can stay there. But who will they stay there with?” Mr. Kiatamba noted.

He believes that they can rebuild a new alliance and go separate ways, an option he suggested would pose a formidable and existential threat to the ruling establishment.

Mr. Kiatamba argued that with CPP Mr. Boakai represents “a formidable threat”, but alone, Mr. Boakai represents “just a threat.”

According to him, the former ruling Unity Party headed by Mr. Boakai has existing moral support, regional support and a lot of people are using Boakai to channel their anger at the government.

However, he said if Mr. Boakai goes to the second round against incumbent President Weah, his fear is that there is so much bad blood in the opposition community and he may not get Cummings to support him.

In the past presidential election held in 2017, Kiatamba noted that the late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, then standard-bearer of the opposition Liberty Party, did not give support amidst some dissatisfaction he may have had.

Kiatamba suggested that ANC political leader Mr. Cummings could have changed the race here had he set himself apart as an outsider and a reformer with global economic experience who did not form part of the broken and dysfunctional bureaucracy.

He recalled that President Weah got elected in 2017 because some Liberians felt that he was not a traditional politician and that he would have reformed and changed the unfulfilled and broken promises of the traditional politicians.

But Mr. Kiatamba noted that the experience is different now and he knows that people have different interpretations about that.

Talking about Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, a presidential hopeful who hails from votes – rich Nimba County, Mr. Kiatamba agreed that the former president of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) could make a wonderful president of Liberia.

But he wonders if Cllr. Gongloe is a winnable candidate for the coming presidential election.

According to Kiatamba, Tiawan is seen as an integrity champion, a mirror that anybody can look up to as a standard, as a symbol of how people prefer country over personal aggrandizement and personal enrichment.

“And I think he has positioned himself well because of that. He has a history of being a good public servant, a poor man’s lawyer. But the issue now is, is he a winnable, viable candidate? Can he win an election?” Kiatamba asked.

“He’s not been tested. His electoral test has not come up to an extent where we can vouch and validate that this is [a] viable, formidable candidate,” Kiamtamba argued.

Kiatamba continued that if the past is any indicator, then he can comfortably predict that Cllr. Gongloe “is still an unknown factor.”

He acknowledged that Gongloe has a regional strength which is Nimba County, adding that if Tiawan wins by a wide margin in Nimba, then he is among the most decisive players, especially in the second round.

He thinks that Tiawan has to prove to the larger electorate that he has a base outside Nimba maybe in the West, in the North, and in the South.

As it stands, Mr. Kiatamba claimed that there is no indication that Tiawan has a base in those areas.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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