Partisans and supporters of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) locked down Monrovia Saturday, 7 March in mass gathering to participate in the party’s first national retreat since it took state power in January 2018.
Thousands of people dressed in blue and white T-shirts, and blue and red caps made their way to the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in central Monrovia for the retreat which had earlier been postponed at the height of a prolonged gasoline shortage here which resulted to transportation crisis.
President George Manneh Weah and CDC political leader, Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor and other stalwarts of the ruling Coalition gathered for the celebration and climaxed the party’s retreat with a political rally.
The retreat came ahead of conduct of the 2020 Senatorial election due in October in which the ruling CDC is particularly battling to regain ground in Montserrado County, dubbed its stronghold by ousting opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP’s) Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, who defeated the ruling Coalition in a senatorial by-election by an unprecedented 102,549 votes in June 2019.
Partisans especially, the youth league of the Congress for Democratic Change, one of the three political parties that form the ruling establishment, marched from their party headquarters to the stadium with countless battle cries.Women, young and adults – used government assigned buses to be transported to the stadium.
The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change comprised of three political parties, including the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler; the National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Vice President Jewel Taylor, estranged wife of imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of President Weah.
Speaking at the retreat, President Weah said he was overwhelmed by the turnout, noting that it reminded him of the humble beginning of the CDC back in 2005 and the current mandate it has as a ruling party.“We started from the bottom, now we’re here,” he said, adding that the CDC remains committed to the mandate of its supporters who voted the government into power.
According to President Weah, some partisans were given the opportunity to serve, but they have been ineffective in their jobs, thereby giving the party bad name.
He admonished such partisans to step up their game and be more diligent on assignment, as failure to do so they will be replaced.
He threatened to dismiss those he considers as non-performing government appointees, adding that he will kick out all those who do not mean well for his government.
“There are many CDCians who have been given the opportunity to serve the Liberian people in this administration and have developed the attitude of entitlement and who are under performing. They are slack with their jobs and give the party a bad reputation,” President Weah lamented.“These people need to step up their game and be more diligent at their assignment or they will be replaced,” he continues.
President Weah states that as President, he continues to do the work of the Liberian people for which he was overwhelmingly elected in 2017.He asserted that it is now time for the CDC to transition from being just a winning party to recognize and conduct itself as a ruling party.
“Fellow partisans, as your standard bearer and political leader, let me remind you that in order to justify the mandate of the people’s hopes and trust, it is now time that we transition from being the wining party but to also recognize and conduct ourselves as the ruling party,” President Weah cautions.
He indicates that the ruling CDC should now re-calibrate and transform itself into a mature and united governance machine with a clear focus on transformation and rapid development of all sectors of the society.
The former football legend – turned politician boasts of having the backing international partners and as such, the country and its people would soon start enjoying the fruits of their labor.Songs by Liberian artists moved President Weah to give a standing ovation before he danced with jubilant partisans.
The field was turned upside-down as partisans sang praises to President Weah and his administration for the level of development and good governance he brought to the country since 2018 when he was inaugurated.
Speaking to this paper, CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu said a vigorous reconciliation effort has been taking place within the Coalition, especially among home members, overseas chapters, community engagement with partisans, stalwarts and executives of the three political parties.
He said two weeks ahead of the retreat, different forums were held internally to unite the party, the last of them setting the stage for the event at ATS.
“What you saw today is an absolute reaffirmation of support to his Excellency by CDCians of the tripartite Coalition. Even the CDC has never been able to pull this success outside campaign periods. Even during campaigns, the show of strength today remains unmatched, especially, by a governing party,” Chairman Morlu noted.
Prior to Saturday’s rally, the CDC after various community engagements last week installed over 20,000 zonal heads from the 17 districts of Montserrado County.The zonal heads were recruited to steer the affairs of the party to be able to reach every community member for the purpose of recapturing the county that hosts the seat of government.The weekend’s retreat renewed hopes for the ruling party in its quest to reclaim Montserrado County senatorial seat from Sen. Dillon.
“This was a mandate based on hope and choice with the expectation that our lives would be changed for the better; that their prospects would be brighter and that your children will have a more peaceful and prosperous future,” Mr. Morlu added.The rally was organized by the CDC to amalgamate forces ahead of the October senatorial election.By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor—Edited by Winston W. Parley