CommentaryON 2ND THOUGHT

On 2nd Thoughts: Why Liberian opposition marriages don’t last

By Othello B. Garblah

A house that is built on sand would easily fall, when the rain descends, the floods come, and the wind blows-Matthew 7:27 (Paraphrased), unlike the ones built on solid foundations.

This is the graphic story of Liberian opposition political parties and why their political unions or “arranged marriages” usually crumbled at the most significant moment.

On Friday, April 28, former Vice President Joseph Boakai announced his running mate ahead of the October 10 polls. Though his choice of running mate did not come as a surprise to many here as per the ongoing political scramble for Nimba, the absence of three of his key allies at the ceremony was the most surprising.

The likes of businessman turned politician Mr. Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, the embattled political leader of the Liberty Party (LP) and talk show host Henry Costa were all conspicuously absent from Boakai’s pronouncement of Senator Jeremiah Koung as his running mate for the 2023 Presidential election.

Their absence speaks volumes of how Liberian politicians have viewed collaborations- “if it is not me, then we will all just watch to see it collapse.”

These three have kept close to former Vice President Boakai since the disintegration of the once viewed formidable Collaboration of Political Parties (CPP) previously comprising the Unity Party, ALP, LP, and the Alternative National Congress (ANC).

The trio UP, ALP, and a faction of the LP led by its Sen. Karnga-Lawrence stayed with Boakai while ANC and the faction of the LP led by Musa Bility remained in the CPP to date.

One would have thought that their loyalty to Mr. Boakai over the period since the demised of the original CPP was based on their belief that he is rightly positioned to wrestle power from incumbent President George Weah.

This is what many Liberians had been led to believe was the main purpose of their union. No, it was all about greed and personal interests. And when none were chosen, they showed their disappointment by boycotting the program.

Greed and personal interest, not country has played a major role in all the political arrangements among Liberian political parties’ collaboration and unity. The lack of defined ideology or purpose to hold parties together regardless of internal outcomes is lacking. Therefore, at the very least minute of disenchantment, such unions are destined to fall apart.

In any given scenario, it is very difficult, if not impossible for individuals driven by diverse agendas and personal interests without a defined goal or oneness of purpose can come together and last in that uniformed group.

Given the circumstances in which political parties arranged themselves in Liberia, the term marriage of convenience does not even apply, because even though in marriages of convenience there are no love and commitments, there are some sorts of strategic purposes that bind the actors involved together.

These strategic purposes could be shared values or ideologies that hold key to the marriage and the desire to achieve such strategic goals are above all else regardless. That also goes to say that an individual or group of individuals coming together in such a marriage may not like the desired outcome of the choices being made within the group but once the intention therein still serves the same strategic purpose, the marriage holds for that period.

The lack of political traditions and ideologies as foundations of Liberian politics has also played significant role in the disintegrations of attempted political collaborations, particularly among opposition blocs.

This sort of political alignment and subsequent dissolution or split even before a pending election is held, is not new among opposition political parties in Liberia.

 In 1997, for example, dozens of political parties came together to form a political marriage for the sole purpose of defeating then warlord Charles G. Taylor of the rebel faction National Patriotic Front of Liberia -NPFL, which was transformed into the National Patriotic Party (NPP).

The dream of that opposition union then collapsed at the convention and parties went their individual ways all because political leaders were not committed to the process but were bent on personally defined interests. The result of that election is now history.

Greed, personal interest amidst dishonesty, and personal gains above country will always undermine opposition unity in Liberia.

Back to top button