A Reality Check Against Electoral Diatribe -CPP Chairman Calls for Issues-based Campaign

MONROVIA : As Liberians across the 15 political subdivisions braced themselves for the official commencement of the political campaign season on Saturday, August 5, 2023, the National Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Musa Hassan Bility, in a rather conciliatory tone that captured the essence of the  Farmington River Declaration, has called on all politicians to use the remaining days leading to the October 10 Presidential and Legislative Elections in a positive way that will allow the voters to choose the quality of leaders that will move the country ahead. Bility said this can only be done if politicians devote their time in debating the critical issues that affect the people, rather than trading insults and invectives at one another.

“As you may know, campaign is starting in a few hours, and I’ve been thinking as to how we can go about to campaign in a way that our country Liberia can benefit and have the opportunity to choose the quality of leaders that it deserves to take us to the next stage,” Chairman Bility said in his latest podcast on last Friday.

The CPP National Chairman said he has given a lot of thought to all the fights at all fronts – government against opposition, opposition against opposition, and has come to compare the decision of politicians as it relates to the ordinary people and the relationship.

“I’ve seen a huge variation; I’ve seen a huge reality check; and I have decided that the best thing I can do at this point is to think about it, how we politicians can use the next 65 days. What do you want to do with the time? What do you want to do with politics? What opportunity do you want to give to the country in order to make the right choice?

“Whether we like it or not, whether we are right or wrong, our politics have witnessed turmoil, both within the opposition, and between the government and the opposition. And so, we’ve come to that point where now the Liberian people have to make a decision. I’ve come here tonight to say to all of us that the next 65 days we have choices as people we can make; we have things we can do at this point, to make sure that Liberia and Liberians will have the chance to choose the leader that will move us to the next stage. Can we do that? Can we give Liberia that opportunity? Can we as politicians, as Liberians give ourselves the opportunity? I say yes.

“I can spend the next 65 days throwing jibes at Vice President Boakai or George Weah or my friend Mo Ali. And I can ask myself whether that is being fair to Liberia, as compared to giving Liberians the chance to make a choice not based on how hard I insult Joseph Boakai or anyone in the opposition or George Weah; or whether I think it’s fair for me to give Liberians the chance to know my program – what plans do I have for the country; how do I intend to govern other than the way CDC is governing; or the way I’ve known Unity Party to govern, so that Liberians can be able to contrast between the way, for instance, how CPP wants to run the country. What are our tax policies, our governance policies, as compared to the Unity Party’s policies; as compared to the CDC policies, or as compared to Counselor Tiawan Gongloe’s policies – so that the next 65 days, instead of shouting at each other, insulting each other, things that don’t matter, we can debate the real issues. And I can give you a lot of reasons why it doesn’t matter.

“Yesterday, Henry Costa and myself, we wouldn’t see eye to eye, today we see eye to eye. Yesterday we in the CPP were hit day and night by Taa Wongbe; today we sat with him. So, it shows that those things can move around. What will not change is whether or not we were able to put ourselves in the position to allow the Liberian people to see through what kind of leadership we intend to give them. For me, I think we all should challenge ourselves and do this for our country. Let the CDCians tell the Liberian people why the Liberian people should not choose the CPP, and why they should not choose the Unity Party or any other party; or why they should be given the chance to remain in government.

“Let the Unity Party contrast based on the policy that Alexander Cummings has propounded; let the Unity Party dissect it, examine it and tell the Liberian people that don’t vote for Alexander Cummings because this plan he has, it’s not good for the country, and this is why it’s not good for the country. And let the CPP go and check and say, we in the CPP we believe, and we strongly do, that you shouldn’t vote the Unity Party because they have a tract record that you can check and see, and we are in a position to present a better option, and they don’t seem to be presenting a different record. Let’s tell the Liberian people that do not give CDC another chance, and that you gave them, they did not use it properly. They’ve not been effective, the economy is in ruins, nothing seems to be going right, everything is upside down, and therefore you should not allow them to regain power. Then everything is formed around ideas,” Chairman Bility said.

“If my friends both in the CDC and the Unity Party, and the opposition, if we all can commit to say that let’s put our plans out to the Liberian people; let us critique each other’s plan, and let make a presentation to the Liberian people through debate – Joseph Boakai, Alex Cummings, Tiawan Gongloe, George Weah, Sara Beysolow, all of them can come and present the case to the Liberian people, to give the Liberian people the chance to say yes, I like this plan. As it stands now, it looks like the decision is going to be based on who lies more, who has the largest mouth, who has the best propaganda team, who has more access to the media. Everything is now about manipulation; how does that help our country?

“What are your tax plans? What are your plans to develop the country? What are your plans to boost the economy? How do you intend to do it differently? How do you intend to get Liberians involved in the economy? How do you intend to deal with the stagnation? How do you intend to bring in investments as compared to what it is now? How do you intend to deal with corruption? How do you intend to deal with governance so that we debate those issues?

“As we are right now, we are depriving Liberia and Liberians the opportunity to choose the right leaders simply because the core debate has been crowded by misinformation, lies, deception and clear attempts to misdirect our future.

“We can stop that and focus on the issues. CPP is willing, prepared and able to debate the issues. Let us talk about why we think JNB should not be the next president; why we think George Weah should not be the next president. When I say I don’t want to vote for JNB, that’s not a crime. That doesn’t make me your enemy. And it should not make me your enemy. What is important, does Alexander Cummings have a better plan as compared to Joseph Boakai. Or, what is Joseph Boakai’s plan?” Bility averred.

According to the CPP National Chairman, even the media is part of the problem in denying the people to choose the quality of leaders that will move the country forward.

“What has happened now is that the mainstream media has gone into hiding; and politicians have now turned into journalists, and media institutions have become weapons of mass destruction. And our country is going to fall. Let us give the Liberian people the chance; let us stick to the issues. Why does Alexander Cummings want to be president? Let him tell the Liberian people,” he said.

Speaking further, Bility conjectured that the biggest problem in Liberia today is the economy and the economic situation of the people, but the media has failed to properly project this core issue to the politicians so they can tell the voters their plans for the economy if they come to power.

“As the media, you have not been able to pin the candidates, and most of the candidates are okay with that because they don’t have a plan. Because nobody is asking them for a plan, they are fine.

“Look at the United States. There are two political parties. The democrats believe that you need to increase tax in order to decrease deficit and then spend on social welfare. The republicans believe you need to reduce tax that spur business that will increase taxes and spur growth across the country and reduce individual dependence on government. There are two ways of running a government. And it is in those ways that the American people navigate. Some days, they find it reasonable to say the rich people need to pay more money so that the poor people can benefit, so let’s vote for the democrat. Once the democrats stay long in power, they say at this point in time, we need to do it the other way around. Then they vote for republicans. Or sometimes they vote for republican president, and vote for the democratic legislature. They balance democracy. We are not giving ourselves this chance. The chance we are giving ourselves is to insult one another, call people names that they are not.

“Let us debate the issue. One of the reasons why we can’t get people to debate the issue is because the CPP will win on the issue. We have a good plan; we have a man with credibility behind the plan. There are people in most of these opposition parties that come to us and say that Cummings is best suited for president. For CDCians to say if George Weah is not in the race, they will vote for Cummings, but let him just give George Weah the chance,” Bility said.

An olive branch with a caveat

Chairman Bility also used the time to extend an olive branch to old political foes, saying he is prepared to let bygone be bygone and chart a new course that will allow the political campaign to be issues-driven instead of being riddled with personality attacks. But he also cautioned that no one should mistake his stance on conciliation as a sign of weakness.

Speaking of his embattled relationship with his “younger brother and friend” Mo Ali, Unity Party Campaign Spokesman, Bility said they have decided to patch their differences and sail ahead toward a smooth campaign free of invectives.

“I told Mo Ali that going forward, I am not going to insult him anymore. He has insulted me, and I have insulted him. He’s my younger brother, we’ve been friends. You are spokesman for your campaign, and I am chairman for my party. You have the right to speak for your campaign, and I have the right to defend my party. So, let’s do so without attacking personality, without being personal. I extend this olive branch to everyone who has been insulting me, insulting Cummings. Let’s put it behind us. Let’s debate the issues. At this point in time, it’s not what you say about me. It is not important. What is important is to know what is Joseph Boakai’s plan for Liberia; what is Alex Cummings’ plan for Liberia; what is Tiawan Gongloe plan for Liberia; what is George Weah plan for Liberia. Once we get all of that in place, then we make a decision.

“If you love Liberia, if Liberia means well to you, let us debate the ideas. Tomorrow is campaign day; we have prepared ourselves. Our weapons are fully loaded. We are ready to fight anybody. We are ready to take you down. We’ve put together the best cyber tact team that you have in the country. Our guns are ready and we are trigger-happy and ready to pull it. So, we are not afraid. But what we are saying is that we will only pull that when you pull your trigger. So, think about it. Think twice, and let us campaign on the issues,” Bility said.

Comments are closed.