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George Weah and Robert Sirleaf: Where There is Smoke, There is Fire

Everywhere one turns now a day, the rumor of a George Weah and Robert Sirleaf ticket for the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections fails the air. While some are condemning such a ticket, others have embraced it faithfully and joyfully. But why so early? Liberians have just got through a near electoral nightmare and catastrophe with political rivals, the CDC and the ruling UP- two giant parties in Liberia. But it is said that everyone has an obligation to prepare for the future; and so is a nation; and reasonably so, are political parties and politicians.

Though all may not be as rosy as the mind contemplates; but for Liberians, 2012 presidential and general elections are gone. The focus is now on 2018. Who will mount the challenge of leading Liberians?  Would it be Senator Prince Johnson or Ambassador George Weah? Or, are there others yet unveiled?  But who has the courage of President Sirleaf to direct the national course of a people that have entrenched the culture of individualism like France? Of course, no one should doubt the resolve of George Weah and his CDC. You can bet it that whoever stands in the way of George and his ambition may face the fate of Winston Tubman.

How sad! Even critics of Winston say he represented the toughest political leader parallel to Mrs. Sirleaf who re-imaged the CDC deteriorated political standing in Liberia like she did the Unity Party and could take the nation towards desired goals. Though the influence of Weah within the CDC dwarfed him to unappreciable levels and the CDC Cult pressed him towards unpopular pronouncements and actions, Tubman’s un-ceremonial and conspiratorial removal as standard bearer and his expulsion have returned the CDC to its former status of immaturity and recklessness, say political commentators. Its only option now is to bring a replacer to Winston who would bring in expertise, funds, and credibility; but should be willing to accept the Vice Presidency.

Despite all of its usual predictive faults and the exuberance of youthful and chaotic militant positions, experts on CDC say the party is at most a usual surprise modem. They believe like Churchill said, that “success is not final; and failure is not fatal; but the courage to continue”. According to a highly placed CDCian, every means will be employed to get CDC into power. This means taking decisions that would send shock waves in the spines of Liberians. It should therefore be no doubt if the rumor of a George Weah and Robert Sirleaf 2018 ticket becomes a reality.

The presumption that these two young men of direct opposite up-bringing, training, cultural attitudes, and political persuasions would combine their strength and popularity to gain state power has become a wild and uncontrollable bush fire. Despite their vast differences, the two young men might become formidable and daring to those who wish to join the race. George has the popularity and zest among the young people and so is Robert who has built his own image among the youths and adults as a philanthropist, workaholic, and  administrator with focus on every detail and strategic approaches to the attainment of ambitious goals like his nationally and internationally acclaimed mother who has won the admiration of Liberians and the international community.

Analysts are of the conviction that Robert’s presence on the Weah ticket as Vice Presidential Candidate could influence massive support from the Unity Party; or perhaps its merger with the CDC. If this becomes the case, the world should be expecting a George Weah’s Presidency in 2018. But what are the voices of some Liberians? Mr. Jerry Roberts, an NPP partisan who vigorously campaigned for President Sirleaf doubts that the ticket would be in the interest of the nation. According to him, the two young men have had no political and recognized social affinities and could be subjected to influences from their peer groups of two distinct class systems. He therefore fears a future Weah and Sirleaf administration could be violently dichotomized and methodologically abraded.

Mr. Jerry Roberts strikes a profoundly debatable argument. Roberts Sirleaf’s Knowledge in state governance and the impacts he has made towards youths empowerment, women empowerment, sports development and national development as Robert Sirleaf one the one hand and as the first son of a Liberian president on the other hand are enviable records that could be used by detractors to polarize the administration and fuel enmity that would suggest to Weah that Robert desires the Presidency and seek to oust him out. But those who are close to Robert believe such presumptions and thoughts are distant from Robert’s development agenda for Liberia. They point out that Robert’s contributions to development programs have made him a subject to current rumors circulating in Liberia. According to them, Robert has not expressed such intent at amalgamating the CDC and Unity Party to achieve any presidential or vice presidential ambitions. But if Liberians see it fit, that would be their constitutional franchise.

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Emmanuel Mineen, a UP mobilizer also believes a Weah and Sirleaf ticket would be disadvantageous to other political parties – considering a possible UP/CDC merger with more than two million citizens support bases. Yet he fears that Robert’s superior education, international links, training, discipline and purposefulness could spark off reprehensive thoughts and suspicion that might dichotomized the administration and cause setbacks to unity and peaceful co-existence. But on a positive note, he believes that ticket would inspire development and if both decides not to value intimidating divisive detractions, ahead of them is victory. The Mineen’s analogy seems to synchronize with Mr. Jerry Roberts. But Mr. Mineen shares the opinion that George and Robert combinational attitude towards national development presents a perfect agenda for Liberia. But would this ever be possible?

A highly placed CDC partisan who prefers anonymity says Robert and George are progressive generational leaders. According to him, both are possessed with passion to develop this nation and unify the different divides. He insists that such ticket must placed Weah as the Presidential Candidate and Robert as the Vice Presidential Candidate. He believes national politics is dynamic and conditions and events occasion strange marriages and promote national cohesiveness.

Out of a total of hundred Liberians whose views have been obtained, fifty five see nothing wrong with the ticket as it would prevent the kind of tension experienced during the last presidential elections; while forty five expressed bitter opposition with unkind sentiments. The George and Robert ticket, according to sources, would test the nation’s commitment in bridging the Americo-Liberian gap from the opposite direction of the Sirleaf/Boakai ticket. It is also seen as a further test of the sincerity of the campaigners for generational change.

Political observers are on a keen watch. Though the source of this combined ticket from the two extremes are yet to be authenticated, experts on the Liberian society are of the belief that rumors in Liberia are truths spread in disguise. While this columnist is making efforts to contact George and Robert, it should be made clear that both are Liberians and if by choice of their own they desire to combine their popularities, passion for the people, and commitment to a developed modern Liberia, the answer is with the electorate and no violation of the constitution would have been committed.

Many of those who expressed disapproval of the ticket seem to direct their argument against the biological attachment of Robert to Liberia’s current President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the rivalry between the ruling Unity Party and the Congress for Political Change. But such compromise and concession would not be first of its kind in politics. It can be recalled in the Federal Republic of Nigeria that two bitter rivals of equal wealth, social and political statues, and interests merged and became a formidable force. When late M. K. O. Abiola sought the mandate of the people of Nigeria to lead them through the democratic process, his major obstacle was the man who organized the most formidable political machine in Nigeria, Major General Shehu Musa Ya’ardua. Both men ranked first place among Nigeria’s wealthiest businessmen and close associates who became better enemies. But at the end of the day, after series of meetings and interventions, Ya’ardua’s political machine sailed M. K. O. Abiola to victory that was denied by military powers.

To those who are shouting “IMPOSSIBLE and over their DEAD BODIES” would such a ticket become a reality, political history of Liberia and politicians profiles contained many contradictions and crossovers of the bitterest politicians against administrations who become praise singers. If Robert and George contemplate establishing such a team for 2018, it may be shocking to detractors to see the mammoth display of support. However, this is just a rumor that might end as a rumor.

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