Deepening Democracy Coalition or DDC, organizer of the first debate among the six top candidates in the race for the presidency here announces the next and perhaps final round of public interaction among the top politicians who want to become Liberia’s next President after Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for Tuesday, September 26.
The second debate is slated exactly 13 days to the October 10th Presidential and Representative Elections that would lead to the transition of political power from one democratically elected government to another the first ever in more than 70 years.
Executive Director, Attorney Lamii Kpargoi, who made the disclosure in an interview with UNMIL Radio on Wednesday, 20 September, says the second debate will be similarly held at the Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville City, outside Monrovia.
He says all six presidential candidates, including Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party (LP), Senator George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Vice President Joseph Nyumah of the governing Unity Party (UP), Benoni W. Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), and Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) had been formally written respectively since 20 August for the next round of interactive forum.
A total of 22 Presidential Candidates, five of them Independent, including one female are vying for the nation’s highest office. Atty. Kpargoi explains that the candidates will be queried on thematic areas such as the Economy, specifically (poverty, youth empowerment, jobs); Land Rights, Political Participation, Gender Empowerment and Natural Resource Management, among others.
“We expect to see everyone present; there is no reason why anybody will be absent, and that is why we informed the candidates one month ahead”, he says. During the first round of debate on Thursday, 17 August at the same venue, Senator George Weah of the Coalition and Dr. Mills Jones of MOVEE were conspicuously absent, leaving many disappointed.
Weah, who had never participated in such exercise in the previous two elections (2005 and 2011) was said to be out of the country, while Dr. Jones, a newcomer to Liberian politics, had gone to one of the counties to campaign.
In the previous debate, public rating placed Liberty Party presidential candidate Cllr. Brumskine far above his contenders in the race based on his frank discussion of issues that confront Liberia’s peace and socio-economic development.
Speaking with much exuberance and high-level confidence of his ability to provide solutions and bring about change, Brumskine, a two times contestant for the presidency, vowed to slash his own salary by 50 percent if elected President, and to make his officials comply accordingly in order to redirect those funds to most needy areas of the economy to meet basic social services as well as improve salaries of teachers, doctors, security and the entire civil service. “I have been tested, proven, and I’m ready to serve”, he bragged.
The exercise, which provides Liberian electorate an opportunity to hear from candidates vying to become their next President, is an initiative of the DDC, a conglomeration of five Liberian media organizations, including the Press Union of Liberia under the auspices of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA.