Though difficult it may seem to be, there has been calls for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to immediately concede defeat and congratulate the winners of four Collaborating of Political Parties (CPP) for their electoral victory in the just concluded Special midterm senatorial election, as results trickling in from across the country indicate embarrassing defeat for the ruling Coalition for CDC.
The calls on the Fallah Camp to concede defeat, however, come against the backdrop of several comments by some senior CDCians against opposition victory during the race to the House of Elders – the Senate, to the effect that some of them had promised to resign their positions or abandon future political ambitions should Montserrado County fall to the candidate of the Collaborating Political Parties, Abraham Darius Dillon.
It can be recalled that the CDC’s Chairman Mulbah Morlu pledged to resign his position when Montserrado, the County considered the stronghold of the ruling establishment, falls to the opposition bloc while CDC’s Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph promised to abandon his future political ambition in the country should the opposition take victory over the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change in the 2020 contest for the Senate, amongst others.
Notwithstanding these assertions, preliminary polls certified by party agents and both national and international observers and already reported on several media outlets have pointed to victory for the CPP ahead of official announcement of final results from across the county and the country in general.
As a consequence of these trending developments that have seemingly been against the victory of the ruling CDC especially for Montserrado County, calls have cut across opinions from major stakeholders in the polity reasoning that though the National Elections Commission (NEC) has yet to release the official results, preliminary outcomes from polling places around the country – especially in the highly contested Montserrado County, have all pointed to failure by the ruling establishment to outweigh the CPP in the contest.
While the opinions of the stakeholders were being given media attention, a group calling itself Citizen Initiative to Protect the Rule of Law in Liberia said it is differing with the call for the ruling CDC to concede on the account that results purported to be those from the various polling centers were showing that candidates of the CPP are poised to win the polls, no matter what was done to short change the process.
“This is a dangerous way to proceed; let us not wreck the ship midway when we are all on the shore to receive it safely. We must learn to obey laws in this country. The law says the National Election Commission (NEC) is the only statutory institution established to conduct elections and release official results, not any other person or institution. Let us wait for NEC to release the official results and we take it from there,” said Mr. Reuben Tarn, Public Relations Officer of the group.
However, the opinions by stakeholders expressed belief that there is nothing extra that is being anticipated from what is already in the public domain that will change the clear victory of the opposition.
“Therefore the ruling CDC should do the honorable thing by just making a public declaration accepting defeat and congratulating the winners. Preliminary results so far collated from the various polling centers and pasted on the bulletins show that the opposition bloc is in commanding lead in the various counties,” Bismarck Taryon, a Liberian in the diaspora asserted in a mobile phone conversation with The Analyst .
“Conceding defeat should not even be a matter of debate; certainly this is not something we should be debating about. The ruling CDC lost woefully against the opposition bloc. The most honorable thing right now is to just call the CPP people and congratulate them and then move on. We are talking about defeats across the country especially areas that we expected the CDC government to be making progress in this election”, said a prominent member of the Civil Society who pleaded not to be mentioned in print.
Yet other stakeholders opined that though CDC deserves the right to wait for the official results from NEC, but delaying doing so will further overheat the society and cause unnecessary anxiety which at times snowball to chaos and confusion. Specific mention was made of how the government before the election made very threatening statements and vows to do everything in its power to reclaim the lost senatorial seat of Montserrado County which was won by Senator Abraham Darius Dillon last year.
The CDC believed at the time that losing the Montserrado seat for the second time will spell doom for them in the 2023 general elections and therefore the best way forward was to stop Senator Dillon from emerging the winner.
A lecturer of Political Science at the state run University of Liberia who asked not to be named said the CDC government did itself disservice by oversubscribing to Senator Dillon’s stock through personalized campaigns and statements that later came back to haunt them.
“I don’t know if CDC really had strategists going to the election or by extension how the government even conducts its business. You can’t go that route with your opponent in a race that you will need superior arguments or showing your tangibles to win votes.
“The least we expected from CDC was going personal with the young man, making his name the subject and predicate of everything they want to say and do. Of course there is always a boomerang to this kind of elementary way of campaigning and they saw it dearly”, the tough talking university teacher said.
It can be recalled that after the death of Mrs. Geraldine Doe – Sheriff, a former Senator of Montserrado County, a by-election was held during which Miss Paulita CC Wie, currently a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was fielded by the CDC. Miss Wie was heavily beaten by Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, the incumbent in the 2020 race.
Affectionately referred to as THE LIGHT by his followers, Senator Dillon later created an effective outing in the senate and got a lot of accolades from a sizeable number of supporters in and around the country. His exploits to disclose his monthly salary and benefits, taking only $5,000 of that salary home and giving the balance to the county he represents in the Senate through an enlarged committee he set up, and flagging issues of national concern greatly swayed for him a positive public image which immensely helped in his acquiring the votes status that suggest victory for him in this current electoral process.
Mr. Gerald Saydee, a retired dock worker of New Kru Town, Bushrod Island, who described himself as a “disappointed CDCian” puts Dillon’s stay in the senate thus far this way: “The man has been looking for this job for a long time now, so God answered his prayer and he too did not disappoint God.”
Saydee, a 65-year-old man stated further, “From day-one Dillon ascended to the office of Montserrado County Senator, he told us he will expose all the secrets in the capitol building and he has been doing it. He didn’t give me money to vote for him but I campaigned for him. We expected our own CDCian to do all what they promised the people, but every day there is hardship for us the citizens. So, do you expect the people to vote for CDC again?”
During the round of campaigns, President George Weah made sure of trips to nearby counties that took him to Bomi, Margibi, Nimba and Bong, where he tried vigorously to sell the candidates of his party; but he could not yield much results.
While in Bomi County to canvass for votes in favor of former Speaker Alex Tyler, he descended on Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe for not delivering relief materials and solar panels he had given to the people of the county, but were allegedly used by Honorable Snowe to support his own campaign efforts.
The CDC Standard-bearer and President of Liberia also took a swipe at Vice President, Mrs. Jewel Howard – Taylor, whom he alleged was supporting rival candidate and not Senator Henry Yallah, who was the flag bearer of the CDC.
Despite these advances for the ruling establishment, President Weah strangely failed at achieving the desired results as everything tended to have backfired with most CDC candidates supported by the President.
For the race in Montserrado County, CDC’s candidate Representative Thomas P. Fallah contesting the Senate seat for the county received massive support from the government. Candidate Fallah also got a lot of endorsements from groups and institutions around the county.
The government also backed his candidature and placed at his disposal services that should have ordinarily been offered by state institutions. For instance, Honorable Fallah was seeing in communities constructing and rehabilitating roads, launching and commissioning projects. He was also making huge donations to people and institutions such as churches, schools, charity organizations, among other, throughout the county.
“You are definitely going to be frustrated and downcast after spending such huge fortune, whether it was from the government or from your own pocket, and then losing the election. The disappointment is just too much. CDC and Thomas Fallah are not happy, and they want to do everything possible to make themselves happy,” said Retired Sergeant Kelvin Suomie, a former member of the AFL.
But the retired sergeant of the AFL continued, “You can’t do it by changing the results in your favor. The people have spoken. We want peace. Let them forget it and try next time. This is not a do or die affairs.”
Against these lines, popular opinions have suggested that the CDC candidate should do the honorable thing to concede defeat, to avoid greater shame when official confirmation of the prevailing results are made by the electoral governing authority, the National Elections Commission.
Meanwhile, sources from the CDC’s Thomas Fallah camp discounted early conceding of defeat, stating that the CDC has been tabulating the results coming in and is still confident that Representative Fallah will win the race.
“We have our situation room that is tabulating the results; and as of this morning, Mr. Fallah had 60% of the votes in Montserrado while by the evening the tally accumulated 80%; the remaining three districts never make Dillon to claim victory over Fallah,” an insider from the CDC camp confided in The Analyst, but accounts from the CPP camp state that the CDC was counting results with the intention of rigging the elections.