By Martin K. N. Kollie | Liberian activist and columnist, firstname.lastname@example.org |
In this brief analysis, I have exposed four (4) vicious strategies of CDC and advanced five (5) suggestions to CPP ahead of 2020 and 2023 polls in Liberia.
Without Montserrado, CDC and Weah’s second term bid is a DEAD DREAM. Opposition Senator Abe Darius Dillon currently poses serious threat to CDC’s political lifespan. If the opposition wins Montserrado County for the second time in roll in this upcoming December’s senatorial election, it means that CDC is done for good. Weah and his idol worshippers will have no hope for 2023.
For example, CDC won the 2017 Presidential Election with 720,023 votes (61.5%) out of 1,198,984 total votes. Weah’s major rival, Joseph Boakai, got 451,088 votes (38.5%). Out of the 720,023 total votes that CDC won with in 2017 election, it accumulated 314,594 votes (62.9%) from Montserrado County alone out of 15 counties. This clearly suggests that if CDC loses another senatorial election in Montserrado this year, it cannot win any presidential election in 2023 amid increasing hardship and other objective factors.
CDC has never won a presidential election and can never win a presidential election in Liberia without winning Montserrado. The Party has zero value without Montserrado County. This is why Pres. George M. Weah and pro-CDC zealots are so desperate to get Montserrado back. CDC is willing to sacrifice the other 14 counties only to get Montserrado back. They will do just anything to reclaim Montserrado.
Dillon along with CPP remains a formidable political force against Weah’s ambition and CDC’s political future. Dillon and CPP broke a record that nobody or no political party could break for 14 consecutive years. They overwhelmingly won CDC and Pres. George Weah in Montserrado County in the 2019 senatorial by-election. Since 2005, Montserrado has been CDC’s stronghold. Here are my facts:
- 2005 General and Presidential Election – Weah and CDC won Montserrado with 138,513 votes (36.28%) out of 381,705 total votes;
- 2005 Senatorial Election – CDC Candidate Joyce Musu Freeman won as Senior Senator with 86,008 votes (13.3%) while CDC Candidate Hannah G. Brent (*) won as Junior Senator with 80,331 votes (12.4%);
- 2009 Senatorial By-Election – CDC Candidate Geraldine Doe-Sheriff (*) won Montserrado with 56% of the total votes;
- 2011General and Presidential Election – Weah and CDC won Montserrado with 207,710 votes (45.8%) out of 472,550 total votes;
- 2014 Senatorial By-Election – Candidate George M. Weah of CDC won Montserrado with 99,226 votes (78%) out of 479,936 total votes;
- 2017 General and Presidential Election – Weah and CDC won Montserrado with 276,558 votes (48.6%) out of 590,839 total votes in the first round. In the run-off, CDC won Montserrado with 314,594 (62.9%) votes out of 508,080 total votes;
- 2018 Senatorial By-Election – CDC Candidate Saah H. Joseph won Montserrado with 67,793 votes (54.8%) out of 125,374 total votes.
Finally, in 2019 Senatorial By-Election, the political variables swiftly changed in favor of the opposition. The opposition through CPP overwhelmingly won Montserrado County. Opposition Candidate Abraham Darius Dillon won landslide with 102,549 votes (55.74%) out of 186,978 total votes. Dillon broke Weah’s vote record by 3,323 votes difference after he defeated CDC candidate Paulita Wie by 38,578 vote margin. CDC’s political wing was finally broken after dominating Montserrado County for 14 unbroken years.
I had to set this basis in order for you to simply understand what my analysis is actually driving at. Ahead of 2020 and 2023 polls, CDC along with its political leader George Weah is very desperate to get their political base (Montserrado) back. Without Montserrado, that’s the end of CDC.
The ruling party (CDC) has four (4) machiavellian strategies or tactics which it has cunningly devised to get Montserrado back at all cost as well as Liberia at large:
- CDC through its proxies or fanatics will begin to viciously target Dillon and other prominent members of CPP. It is their plan to even eliminate Dillon;
- Rigging or stealing votes by manipulating the electoral system/database at the National Elections Commission (NEC). They have a plan to manipulate the voter’s roll in their favor. Citizens will vote but the election result/outcome will reflect something different. That’s why Weah recently appointed all of his loyalists as Commissioners of NEC;
- If CDC rigs or steals the upcoming elections in 2020 and 2023, the regime will use the Supreme Court to legitimize this fraud or vote rigging. That’s why Weah has four (4) out of five (5) Justices under his control at the Supreme Court. The opposition will not get justice if there is vote rigging or electoral fraud. And any unjust verdict from the Judiciary will be fully backed by the Legislature because Weah also has control over the Legislature. The Speaker of the House and the Senate Pro-Tempore are Weah’s puppets. The illegal impeachment of Justice Kabineh J’aneh should be a lesson learned by the opposition;
- 4) CDC has a plan to use cash violence and power play to pull over most of CPP’s lawmakers, influential members, and die-hard supporters ahead of 2020 and 2023 polls. Weah and his corrupt cabal of kleptocrats are also financing smaller political parties to reorganize and subsequently declare support for CDC. This strategy is a pretext or a political gambit to rig the upcoming elections. CDC will claim that it has regained its political strength when these smaller parties begin to openly join them. Such claim will be a FALSE alarm and an unscientific conclusion only intended for publicity stunt and to impress international observers.
The opposition political parties must now begin to think ahead in order to avert CDC’s machiavellian strategies/tactics as 2020 and 2023 polls loom. Let me repeat this, since the CDC has become so unpopular after presiding over the State for less than 3 years, the regime will become overly brutal and vicious against those it perceives as “potential threats” to its survival. The regime will use iron fist, gang groups, and ruthless state security to repress perceived enemies and even kill opposition figures.
Remember, Weah and his cronies have already tasted power and they’ve illicitly acquired a lot of wealth, including mammoth private properties, in less than 3 years. They won’t just allow power to slip off their hands like that. It will be a tough clash but the will of THE PEOPLE shall prevail at the end of the day. Therefore, the opposition will have to be strategic and very vigilant going forward.
Here are my suggestions or recommendations to Senator Dillon and CPP as a whole:
- Senator Darius Dillon needs to beef up his security as of now. Similarly, all influential members of the CPP, including political leaders, must also beef up their security. The CPP must now build a viable internal safety network to fully protect all leaders, partisans, well-wishers, and solidarity groups of the CPP.
- The CPP must immediately demand ELECTORAL REFORM especially at NEC in order to guarantee a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful election. This can be quickly achieved through the full involvement of Liberia’s International Partners (e.g. UNDP, USAID, AU, ECOWAS, IFES, Carter Center, NDI, EU, Sweden Embassy, etc.) and local civil society organisations (e.g. IREDD, ECC, NAYMOTE, LEON, CENTAL, CEMESP, INHRC, Human Rights Platform, YWCA, PUL, LCC, NMCL, etc.). The Independent Press must be involved as well. Additionally, the CPP must hire a group of IT experts and fraud examiners to advise the CPP, analyse the voter’s roll and voting climate, and monitor NEC’s voting system including the database. CPP must demand a restructured NEC.
- The CPP must extend its outreach to smaller political parties and influential organizations across Liberia (e.g. workers’ union, motorcycle union, marketing association, teachers’ association, student groups, civil servant union, community leaderships, etc.). Furthermore, if CPP must be different and honest about real CHANGE, it must not retain those CORRUPT and disloyal CPP lawmakers on its ticket in any pending election. They must be replaced with a new breed of patriotic, competent, integrous, visionary, and people-centered aspirants. These new aspirants must sign a bond of commitment and loyalty to remain faithful, dutiful, accountable, and transparent to Liberians and CPP.
- The CPP must hire a very strong legal team that is also linked to and licensed by the ECOWAS Court and other international judicial bodies. If CPP can raise money, it should also hire an independent firm to conduct a nationwide Voter’s Survey or Opinion Poll ahead of 2023 polls.
- Currently, the masses are yearning for genuine CHANGE and not “Change for Hope” anymore. The CPP must clearly explain through a MANIFESTO how it intends to change/deliver Liberia. The CPP must produce a realistic alternative recovery plan or a doable development roadmap in various sectors including education, health, agriculture, employment, energy, tourism, infrastructure (e.g. road), technology, foreign direct investment, social security, housing, water and sanitation, foreign policy, gender equality, reconciliation, security and rule of law, transparency and accountability, etc.
In addendum to the Montserrado Factor, the Collaborating Political Parties (UP, LP, ANC, and ALP) still stand a better chance to win the 2023 General and Presidential Election. But such victory is largely dependent on the outcome of this upcoming senatorial election in Montserrado and other Counties. CPP must do all it can to win at least 12 out of the 15 counties. Judging from the latest 2017 general and presidential election, this is another proof that puts CPP ahead of CDC in any presidential political contest:
2017 Presidential Election:
- A) Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC):
- CDC, NPP, and LPDP – 596,037 votes (38.4%)
- MDR – 127,666 votes (8.2%)*
- Total – 723,703 votes (46.5%)
- B) Collaborating Political Parties (CPP):
- UP – 446,716 (28.8%)
- LP – 149,495 (9.6%)
- ANC – 112,067 (7.2%)
- ALP – 24,246 (1.6%)
- Total – 732,524 (47.2%)
Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the Movement for Democracy Reconstruction (MDR) is not clear about whether he will throw his weight behind CDC in 2023 general and presidential elections. He has been disgruntled of late. He is on record for saying that he only supported the CDC for President George Weah to suffer the Liberian people. This means that CDC is likely to lose 127,666 votes. Even if Johnson supports Weah for a second term, a lot of his supporters are likely not to follow him because of some of his latest revelations which remain shocking in most parts of Nimba County and elsewhere.
As extreme hardship spirals as a result of economic paralysis, corruption, and bad governance under President Weah, CDC is going to lose more support (votes). Ahead of 2020 and 2023, there is a bitter price that CDC has to pay for increased job losses, rape, poor health, messy education, hunger, failed promises, public graft, etc. A lot of votes will be lost. This means that the CPP stands a far better chance to win both in 2020 and 2023 elections if they prefer winnable/sellable candidates and if they remain on a plinth of unhindered unity, honesty, maturity, and loyalty.
Beyond this end, Liberia and Liberians deserve far better. Currently, Liberia cannot breathe because President Weah’s knee is on our country’s neck. Can CPP save Liberia? Only history has an answer. But for now, Dillon and CPP must listen and begin to take immediate steps to avert this predatory plot that has already been concocted by CDC!
Sources of Data on Election Results: NEC, IFES, NDI, and Carter Center.
About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian activist and columnist who contributes to international and local journals. He fled Liberia into exile a result of Weah’s dictatorship.