The opposition Liberty Party is not coming out clearly on recent conditions set by the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC for a merger with the LP or any party ahead of the 2017 elections.
At a recent news conference in Monrovia, the CDC said for Liberty Party or any political party to form a merger with it, particularly wanting to take the standard bearer position such party should be prepared to go thru county primaries in all 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.
CDC National Chairman Nathaniel McGill said primaries will be conducted by the National Elections Commission or NEC with funding to be provided by the two parties that would be involved in such merger. He indicated that primaries will allow all qualified voters throughout the country that have interest in the merger and elect candidates of their choice to determine who should become standard bearer to go for election.
He confirmed that the CDC and the Liberty Party have been in merger talks but it would be very prudent for both parties to go to primaries to know each party’s numerical strength.
“Any political party especially the Liberty Party whom we have been in talk with wants sincere merger with the CDC that party should be ready for a primary throughout the country and that qualified voters can be given the opportunity to select a candidate of their choice because we want to know the numerical strength of each party. Elections is about numbers; if the Liberty Party wins those primaries, we will accept the vice standard bearer position. Senator George Weah will not go as running mate to anybody until this requirement is met,” he stressed.
The LP and the CDC have been in series of discussions on possible merger to field a single ticket for the Presidency in 2017. Liberty Party political leader Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, who is preparing to contest for the third time, recently visited Senator George Weah at the Liberian Senate to discuss common interest.
Brumskine is calling for a united opposition bloc perhaps against the ruling Unity Party as President Ellen Johnson, who is completing a second term, would not run again. UP vice standard bearer Joseph Boakai has accepted petition from the people of Lofa County to contest for the Presidency, but it’s not clear whether the ruling party would endorse his candidature when contacted on the party’s position to the CDC’s conditions, LP Secretary General Jacob Smith said, it is inappropriate for a merger talk, which is being held behind closed doors to be discussed in public.
Although he indicated that the Liberty Party will not relent in its political discussion with the CDC, but stressed the LP will not make any official statement either to condemn or disapprove the current pre-condition, adding that Liberty Party will remain engaged with all political parties.
That seems to be the same position of Liberty Party National Chairman, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Kofa. When he was asked on Saturday, August 1, 2015 in Kakata, Margibi County, to give his reaction to the CDC’s conditions, Chairman Kofa could hardly say whether or not the Liberty Party will agree to go second to the CDC in any coalition or merger. “Well, that’s the statement of the CDC; you’ve got to talk to the CDC; I have no comment on that”, he retorted.
Cllr. Kofa spoke with reporters in Kakata where he had gone to attend the first anniversary of the newly formed PUP, dubbed as the party for grassroots Liberians. When asked continuously about whether the LP will agree to provide the vice standard in a merger with any party, including the CDC, he said: “The thing about power in 2017 is not about who comes first or who comes second.”
Kofa said Liberty Party will agree to any arrangement that leads to victory for the opposition bloc in 2017. On whether he sees in the CDC any arrangement that could lead to opposition total victory in the 2017 elections, the LP Chairman maintained that he could not answer any question relating to the CDC.
He said since it is the CDC that made the statement about coming first in any coalition, the CDC must be asked instead of LP, which seems to strongly indicate the LP is not prepared to go as running mate in any arrangement.
For his part, Liberty Party Senator Jonathan Kaipay of Grand Bassa County, said he would not go for coalition, but coordination and cooperation with political party, but when they get to the table as politicians, they will use their own political science and math to determine the way forward, adding that he is not discussing which party goes up or not. By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi – Editing by Jonathan Browne