Newspaper front pages, editorials and articles recently highlighted efforts by a number of Liberian political parties to form mergers, coalitions and alliances ahead of the 2011 general and presidential elections in Liberia. The primary objective of the this paper to publish some of these efforts was to encourage the reduction of political parties to afford Liberian voters the opportunity to make informed decisions in the process of electing Liberia’s new leaders come 2011.
Even in our Monday, May 24 edition, we reported that despite reports about attempts by the Political leader of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, George Manneh Weah, Secretary General Lenn Eugene Nagbe and others to cross over to the ruling Unity Party, some Liberian political parties were in discussions for a grand coalition. We noted that what was more welcoming about these efforts was the realization by these opposition parties that selfishness cannot do the tricks, and that standing alone in 2011 may just be another waste of time for a single party.
Further indicating our position on the road to 2011, we intimated that while the process leading to the merger of the Liberia action party, Unity Party and a small fraction of the Liberia Unification party, which ended with a convention in Ganta may have been characterized by some maneuverings and political chicaneries, appreciation must be accorded such merger, being the first for such initiative.
We did also appreciate the formation of the proposed Democratic Alliance, whose primary objective is to bring a number of political parties together as a way of reducing the number of political parties in Liberia. We did also caution the DA against manipulations, selfishness and deceit in the process of determining the way forward for Liberia in 2011.
On Wednesday, June 9, we also published a front page sub-lead story, attributed to veteran Liberian business man and political activist, Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson or Dew Mayson, under the caption: “No Viable Opposition Now In Liberia” with which we do concur considering the current unfolding political events in our country.
In that publication, Dew Mayson was quoted as acknowledging the strength of the opposition in the House of Representatives, Liberian Senate and elsewhere immediately following the 2005 general and presidential elections, but later noticed a complete decline due to a change in political variables, wherein members of the opposition were lured into the ruling party by jobs or huge cash.
Mayson described such political behavior by both the ruling party and opposition members involved as very dangerous for Liberia’s young and emerging democracy. With all of the foregoing encouraging efforts, we are beginning to be troubled by recent developments in the opposition. For example, efforts by the NPP, CDC and others for a grand coalition were thrown into uncertainty when a group of NPP stalwarts in the Democratic Alliance instigated a number of meetings of the party executives to determine the party’s political direction, regarding the proposed grand coalition or Alliance.
To date, the result of those meetings are yet to be disclosed, suggesting that the NPP which still has a political force is in a state of confusion and may later result to a decision that may divide it. Another example is the meeting of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy or APD influenced by stalwarts of the party within the Democratic Alliance again. We are again told that the meeting scheduled for Saturday, June 12 was prematurely aborted due to what insiders at the APD referred to as unfavorable behind-the-scene discussions between two groups of APD members.
As a result of the foregoing, coupled with other variables, Dr. Togbah Nah Tipoteh, who is the political leader of the APD is now breaking away to form a new political party. Despite our appeal to the opposition political parties in Liberia to put aside selfishness, manipulations and other political differences and keep focused either in an alliance or coalition, confusion seems to be unfolding again, just as it was in 1997 at the Unity Conference Center when Cletus Wotorson and a few others were left in the cold.
And again, at the end of 2011, the same opposition leaders and parties will render the elections not free and fair- the usual slogan of the opposition following their dismal performance due to their failure to properly prepare. We do reiterate our appeal to the Liberian opposition to disregard personal aggrandizements and other advantages they may have over the others and put Liberia first, if they are to be formidable.