MONROVIA – As the clamor for a united opposition front which will ensure victory in the 2023 presidential and general elections, former Maryland County Senator and leading opposition figure John Ballout has added his voice to the need for the opposition to bury their differences for the sole purpose of wrestling power from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Congress (CDC), as he advanced a number of suggestions to make the prospect possible.
Addressing a major press conference yesterday, Wednesday, January 11, 2023 in Monrovia, Ballout said with the reality on the ground, there was no way the opposition can go into the 2023 general election divided and fragmented in their composition and expect to pull victory against the ruling establishment that is desperately seeking re-election despite its failure to deliver the promises to the Liberia people.
“The choice before us is either the opposition bloc unites to win the first round or remains divided and loses the election. It must be remembered that in politics and political arrangements, no one gets everything and in the midst of the harsh political reality, there must be room for compromise and greater strength.
“For two years there have been calls for unity in the opposition bloc and it can be emphatically claimed that this has positively resonated with the masses of this country”, he said.
Ballout, a member of the former ruling Unity Party, who expressed his dissatisfaction when his party pulled out of the CPP in the wake of the crisis that rocked the political alliance about two years ago then advanced some suggestions beginning with the once united CPP coming back together as a strong union and presenting former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai as the Standard Bearer and Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, political leader and standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress, as the running mate.
He stated that there should be a memorandum of understanding signed by the parties within the CPP that Mr. Boakai shall serve for a single term, paving the way for Mr. Cummings to be the next standard bearer and Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
In the same token of the suggestions, Ballout also recommended that in the event of Cummings becoming the Standard Bearer, he should pick his running mate from the Liberty Party, just as the constituent parties of the reorganized CPP must ensure that the crisis in the LP is resolved.
He also recommended that the All Liberia Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey should be given considerable relevance in the new government should the CPP succeed in taking state power while also taking into account other opposition parties to form part of the collective governance process.
Ballout had historicized the genesis of the CPP and how it represented the hope for the masses as the only alternative to democratically uproot the CDC in the 2023 general election and redeem the Liberian people from the “misrule of the CDC government”.
“For five years we have seen Liberians get poorer; for five years our institutions of government get weakened and for five years Liberians lose hope. Because of the severity of the socio-economic breakdown of the country, the Liberian people, especially those in the opposition, were compelled under the circumstances to unite so as to save Liberia from the clueless and catastrophic national leadership.
“As the result of this, the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress and All Liberia Party came together to form the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), thus bringing the Liberian people under a singular political umbrella.
“Immediately, the re-emergence of hope became alive for the masses, where Liberians were truly excited for real change. The excitement and reassurance were not only as a result of the conglomeration of these political parties but importantly grew from the confidence the political leaders of these institutions inspired”, he said.
He said the synergy built among the parties energized the electorates in 2020 during the special midterm senatorial race to elect eight senators who were fielded on the platform of the CPP, against only three from the CDC; but the momentum fizzled away when crises plagued the once strong and united opposition bloc.
“Ultimately, when the moment of truth arrived, where the leadership of the CPP had the perfect opportunity to demonstrate patriotism, loyalty to state, sacrifice for the masses, compromise for the nation, the people of Liberia saw the gigantic political atmosphere crumble and disintegrate from the foundation that was meant to provide.
“The power struggle in the CPP did not only cause the disintegration, but equally flamed the heat of uncontrollable political bad blood.
“The people of Liberia sat confused, frustrated and in some cases irritated as they witnessed leaders in the CPP throw insults at each other. Supporters in the CPP factions directly insult the leaders of other parties,” he lamented.
He said it was regrettable that the CPP was distracted from providing the necessary check and balance on the government, and that the opposition bloc should learn from the bitter experience of the past.
When asked how optimistic he was now that both Boakai and Cummings have gone far to launch their separate campaigns, Ballout said he was very optimistic that both of them will see reasons to forge a common front and democratically unseat President Weah and the CDC government.
“Don’t forget that the Boakai-Cummings ticket is the greatest nightmare for this government and the government knows that. That is the surest possible way to defeat the government and both of them need to reason to compromise. In politics anything is possible and we will explore the possibility,” former Senator Ballout stated bluntly.
He further slammed the government for abusing power and leading the country down the drain due to incompetence of those in leadership, stressing that the Weah administration did not come with anything on the table but destroyed everything they met there from the former regime under Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.