With only a year before Liberia’s next presidential election in 2023, the political atmosphere in the country is gathering steam daily, as both the ruling establishment and the opposition bloc jostle here for voters’ attention.
President George Manneh Weah himself has been touring several of Liberia’s 15 counties, thanking citizens for electing him in 2017, and rolling out developmental plans that could further endear him to the people, as he prepares to seek a second term in office.
Already, Mr. Weah has begun to receive assurances from traditional leaders and local authorities that he still has their confidence for the presidency even for a second term.
But the opposition Alternative National Congress accuses the Weah administration of incompetence, complacency and corruption, vowing to restrict or hold the President to one term at the ballot box, comes 2023.
“From the bottom of my heart, I promise you – we will work as hard as we can to make President Weah a one-time President”, the ANC political leader vowed Tuesday, 27 April during a nationwide address delivered in Monrovia.
The speech focused on wide range of issues, including wave of suspiciously mysterious deaths that have characterized the administration for the last four years without adequate explanation, backed by a seeming lack of political will to prosecute thus, igniting citizens’ protests. Other concerns are insecurity and land disputes.
“And when we do, we will end this mysterious deaths business in our country by going back and investigating all of these deaths, from Mr. Matthew Innis to Mr. Anthony Johnson. Anyone we find to be involved – big hand or small hand – we will arrest you, try you, and punish you severely, in keeping with the law”, he also vows.
The ANC leader, who is a constituent member of a larger four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) that have combined forces to challenge President Weah describes the increasing mysterious deaths of Liberians, including officials under the current government as troubling. He cautions, “My people, I don’t know how, but today, I have come to beg you to please protect yourselves. Get home early. Lock your doors at night. Look out for each other. Do your best to be safe.”
He notes that when a government is silent, or cannot seriously investigate and convincingly explain the deaths of people, that government is actually encouraging criminals to continue to kill people, adding that it threatens the lives of everyone, which is not how serious governments behave.
However, he acknowledges that the Weah administration cannot be totally held responsibility for all of the wrongs that Liberia had suffered, saying they met some of the wrong things there, but have spoiled the wrong things even more.
“And so, here again, I have come to ask all of our people to do all we can to accept each other. Let all of us try to keep our peace. Like I said, this government time will end in three years. As soon as they leave, we will look seriously into all of the major land palaver in the country to find a workable and lasting solution to them. Our interest is that all of our people will live and prosper together as citizens of one nation”, he further promised Liberians.
However, keen political observers say restricting Mr. Weah to a one-term presidency would be a top hill battle for members of the opposition especially, as leaders of the four parties that make up the CPP seem not to be speaking with voice due to personal ambition.
Recently, former vice president Joseph NyumahBoakai, who heads the Unity Party in CPP said on an online talk show he’s the best qualified to face President Weah in the coming election, having come second in the 2017 runoff poll.
But Mr. Cummings, a former corporate executive and new comer to Liberian politics from the last election is equally determined to ensuring he appears on the CPP’s ticket for the presidency in 2023, while the other two constituent parties – All Liberian Party and Liberty Party are publicly saying less with lukewarm enthusiasm.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne