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CommentaryGeneralLiberia newsON 2ND THOUGHT

On 2nd Thoughts: Playing their game-The case of CDC and opposition December 17 Political Rally

By Othello B. Garblah

The opposition political parties here appear to be adopting the 12-year game plan of the Congress for Democratic Change, now ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) during President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration.

A game plan characterized by demonstrations and threats of protests that made the Johnson-Sirleaf regime unpopular among some segments of Liberian society. As the ruling party, CDC says it is not having it ahead of the opposition bloc’s planned political rally on December 17.

The planned 17 December political rally by members of the opposition bloc led by former Information Minister and Chairman of Mr. Alexander Cummings 2023 Campaign Team, Amb. Lewis G. Brown was being planned quietly to be announced just days before its holding.

But just like its name, its planning has not been without controversy, giving it all the hype for apparent reasons.

First, it was the acquisition of the S.K.D Sports Complex, where planners had chosen to hold their rally in front of the sporting facility for which an amount of US$2000 was paid upfront.

Upon receipt of payment, authorities realized that the rally’s timing would be detrimental. They decided to reject the payment days later and asked planners to collect their refund.

As of the time of writing this article on Monday, December 5, rally planners were yet to receive their refund from authorities at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, custodians of the Sports Complex.

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In all fairness, authorities at the Ministry of Youth and Sports should have accompanied their rejection letter with the refund check, that did not happen and the organizers seem not to care either.

Under the country’s rule governing protests and rallies, organizers must first obtain a venue before applying for a permit. Organizers have a receipt to show, and Justice Ministry authorities must now issue their permit.

However, this seems not to be the case at the moment, and we might just be witnessing a historical scenario involving local tribal chiefs and repatriated free slaves from the United States some 200 years ago.

The tribesmen had sold their land to the settlers and collected their payments, but realizing that the transaction could cost them greatly, returned to the settlers wanting their lands back.

But they were soon reminded by Chief Bostwane, one of Liberia’s Fulbright tribal chiefs at the time that the settlers had paid for their lands and the tribesmen had already accepted payment, so the settlers should have the land.

“You have sold your land and accepted payment, so let the people have their land,” Chief Bostwane told local tribesmen when he presided over the matter.

Meanwhile, beyond the debate over venues, the planned protest has also doubled down on the credibility of the organizers-particularly Mr. Lewis Brown, a former Foreign Minister under Charles Taylor’s regime.

Some had raised questions asking about his moral rectitude to lead such a campaign against the ruling establishment when previous regimes under which he served did nothing to improve the people’s livelihood only to plunder the country’s resources.

But as good as their argument could be the current regime came ridding on the platform of change. Change it said was imminent, therefore, the people are now demanding to see such a change.

More besides, there is a proverb that says, “a drowning man can even hold on to a knife.” Thus, it is possible that the masses could find their voice in such a man like Lewis Brown who never had the voice to speak at the time.

But that’s beside the point. Recent developments within the country have even drawn public support toward such rallies. All the people want is someone to lead them; they seem to have found that in Lewis Brown and his CPP.

The absence of President George Weah from the country for 48 days in the wake of the ongoing economic hardship, reported corruption, unpaid Civil Servants’ salaries and an increase in the price of rice are all factors speaking against the current administration.

That the president would abandon his people amid these challenges speak volume and exposes his administration to further ridicule opening doors for unlikely allies to join forces in organizing such a political rally to press home the public demand for better living condition.

Frankly, President Weah is not being kind to his own administration with his prolonged stay outside of the country in the face of challenges. And to add insult to injury that he’s in Qatar attending world cup games at the expense of poor taxpayers.

President Weah is currently on globetrotting, a 48-day safari spinning from November 1 to December 19. His globetrotting destinations within 48 days period include Morocco, Egypt, France, Qatar, and Monaco. His trip is expected to be climaxed in the United States on December 13 where he will be attending the United States-Africa Leaders Summit at the invitation of the President of the United States of America Joe Biden.

What is interesting here is that the ruling establishment is referencing the December 17, political rally as a mark for chaos but failing to acknowledge what the action of the President could cause CDC in 2023.

One would ask what is the CDC’s problem. It would have been screaming over the rooftop had this particularly prolonged stay outside of the country been done by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf whose regime suffer some of the worst protests orchestrated by the CDC.

But this is the game they know best and now, the opposition is bringing it back to them. Let’s see how this plays out in the coming days.

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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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