MONROVIA : After attending an engagement meeting along with other presidential aspirants called by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and its partners last Thursday, President George Manneh Weah immediately convened an enlarged media meeting at his Jamaica Resort on the RIA Highway on Friday, August 4, 2023 to solicit media institutions’ support in maintaining and promoting the peace during and after the course of the crucial October 10, 2023 general elections in Liberia.
During that meeting, the President challenged the media to ensure that peace remains a cardinal agenda in their reportage as well as their responsibility to the country and its people, stressing that if the elections succeed or not, it will be attributed also to the members of the media fraternity. But as The Analyst has discovered, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is itself bent on disavowing their Standard Bearer’s peace mandate, when they went on the rampage on Saturday, August 5, 2023, toting a casket bearing photos of Unity Party Standard Bearer Joseph Nyuma Boakai, and chanting slogans expressing wishful thinking about Ambassador Boakai’s death.
In the video footages that flooded the Internet on Saturday marking the official commencement of the 2023 electoral campaign season, throngs of CDC partisans and loyalists were seen wailing and openly weeping over the death of Mr. Boakai while others were heard saying: “Aye yah, Joseph Boakai, rest in peace”, “No more Sleepy Joe, go and rest in peace”.
Angry Public Reactions
The ugly situation drew angry reactions from many people who said they were highly disappointed over the “embarrassing” behavior of the youth wing of the CDC who paraded the streets of Monrovia with a casket which had on it photos of the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP) Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai.
Some of the citizens’ reaction described the CDC open display of electoral antagonism as “wicked, diabolic, treacherous, deceptive and inhumane” which according to them is dangerous to the attainment of peace which the Standard Bearer of the CDC, President George Manneh Weah spoke about when he met with media institutions recently.
Several persons who spoke to The Analyst on Saturday were unanimous in condemning the act carried out by partisans of the ruling party in broad daylight when efforts were being exerted to ensure the entire elections were characterized by issues-based politics.
“This is the least that could come from the ruling party to convey a casket around, bragging as a viable means of campaigning for votes. This amounts to saying that the party lacks anything to show to the electorates what they have done in the past six years to warrant a reelection. This is shameful and I just hope that President Weah and the leadership of the party could take some measures to stop these acts from occurring in the near future”, Joseph Mawolo Teah Sr, a social critic told The Analyst last night.
Another person, Mabel Neneh Thompson, a peace crusader, said the act carried out by the CDCians was counterproductive to what everyone including the President has been preaching against, and urged the CDC Standard Bearer to summon the courage and reorientate members of the national youth wing of the party on directing their thoughts and actions to working for peace and mutual co-existence.
“This is the lowest ebb the ruling party could go to contradict its own Standard Bearer, President Weah who few days to the official kick off of the nationwide campaign urged various media to caution the citizens against anything that will derail the electoral process. That behavior by the CDCians surely was in that direction to jeopardize what we all have been praying for”, she said.
“Can you imagine the Unity Party or any other political party doing similar things by parading with a casket claiming the death of President Weah and those doing it weeping openly to the admiration of their friends?
“I just hope that the President could go further with his stand against these kinds of bad politics his partisans have embarked upon and institute measures that will ensure the promotion of peace remains paramount among the Liberian people,” Ms. Thompson said.
A community-based organization (CBO), Clean Elections Initiatives Inc, issued a statement a few hours after some of its field outreach agents reported the incident to its secretariat. Condemning the act, Clean Elections Initiative, Inc. reminded the ruling party that it was high time it realized that it is no longer in opposition where it used to engage in such negative politics that was totally below the belt of civility.
“We wish to remind the ruling party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) that gone are the days when the citizens sat supinely as the party went about desecrating the norms in our society. The idea of toting a casket around was something that was done when they were in opposition where a casket said to be that of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf portraying her as a dead person was carried around.
“What they did today was to reactivate what they did some years ago but it is shameful and a complete disgrace that a ruling party, instead of showcasing what it has done in the six years given to it, will go that far to create trouble for our fledgling democracy that we are trying to protect. If CDC does not have anything to show for re-election, they should quit the scene and allow those who are serious to lead this country to prosperity step forward”, the release signed by its National Secretary General, Wilson Pate Shaw, III, said last Saturday.
Weah Reelection Campaign Team Deplores “over-exuberant” supporters’ action
In a related development, the National Campaign Manager of the ruling party’s Campaign Committee for Weah’s reelection, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, says the CDC deplores the action of some of its “over-exuberant supporters who marched the streets toting a casket on Saturday during the official start of the political campaign period for the Presidential and Legislative elections in October”.
This action, the Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Team said, is unacceptable and does not represent the set of activities that have been envisioned to characterize this crucial democratic exercise.
“The committee believes that the unprecedented gains the Weah administration has made over the years provide sufficient nuggets for a massive victory in the upcoming elections. It, there, urges everyone working towards this ultimate goal to remain on message,” the release from Mr. Nagbe said, noting that the Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee of the CDC recommits itself to the conduct of an issue-based campaign that emphasizes the exceptional record of development and good governance of President Weah while also stressing the importance of maintaining a peaceful democratic environment.