MONROVIA – As political parties have begun to showcase candidates who will be flying their respective flags for various positions, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) on Saturday, February 4, 2023, probably demonstrated for the first time in electoral history in Liberia for any political party to hold a major political event on a simultaneous basis when it held its re-nomination for President George Manneh Weah in Montserrado, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Grand Kru, River Gee, Maryland, Nimba, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Lofa and Bong Counties and drew an unprecedented crowd in the process.
Preparation for President Weah’s re-nomination rally has been on the cards for some time even before he told Liberians during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that, although his first term saw tremendous achievements, more could be achieved if he was given another mandate to consolidate on the gains of his first term.
The program was initially planned for the latter part of last year but perhaps the President’s lengthy foreign trip might have stalled the event and forced the organizers to choose February 4, 2023 for the new date.
According to the program itinerary, the events were divided into regions – with Region 1 comprising Lofa County alone, and held in Foya while Region 2 also had Bong County alone just like Nimba that constituted Region 3.
Also, within the distribution, Region 4 included Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe and River Gee; wherein CDCians and their sympathizers all met in Zwedru City. Region 5; while CDCians from Grand Bassa and Rivercess counties met in Buchanan. Likewise, Region 6 included Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties; and CDCians converged at Tienii. As for Region 7 which included Montserrado and Margibi Counties, CDCians and their sympathizers converged at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.
According to our correspondents who reported from the various regions across the country, the convergence of the citizens on Saturday was absolutely phenomenal, especially with Region 7 where citizens were seen trekking from their various homes and businesses to answer to the call of duty from the Coalition for Democratic Change whose Chairman Mulbah Morlu is now being hailed for organizing one of the most formidable re-nomination events in Liberia’s political history.
Presenting their respective petitions for the re-nomination of President Weah, the citizens said their decisions was predicated on the numerous development initiatives across the country, key among them are road connectivity, women empowerment especially the rural women, tuition free scheme at tertiary institutions, free WASSCE fees, provision of a means of mobility for traditional rulers, among many others.
They were unanimous in their decisions to re-elect President Weah in October this year, vowing to mobilize citizens to give President Weah a resounding victory in the ensuing general election.
The program held in Monrovia for obvious reasons went on beyond expectation as partisans and supporters virtually turned the city to an all-CDC affair as if it was a public holiday to celebrate the day exclusively for CDCians. As early as 6 am communal mobilization had started, and based on the locations, the citizen started moving towards the direction of the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, some in cars, on motor bikes while others preferred trekking in processions from far and near.
Long queues of people dressed in Blue T-Shirts printed with photos of both President Weah and Vice President Mrs. Jewel Howard Taylor and others in various attires could be seen marching through streets towards the ATS singing, dancing, and shouting solidarity slogans, and showering praises on the president for what they called monumental achievements recorded over the space of five years despite the “many challenges being faced”.
Perhaps what spiced up the occasion most from thousands of those who turned out were the two songs released to coincide with the re-nomination, one coming from the President himself, entitled Talk, Talk , Talk Mr. B and Mr. C” and another one by a Liberian artist, entitled, “Yor, Yor”. The songs were the hit of the town as almost every joint or shop around Monrovia played them through the day and even during the evening hours when some of them decided to climax the day, partying the night away.
Various legislative aspirants, both incumbent and those declaring their intention, were not left out of the fray. Some of them were also responsible to mobilize their supporters all the way to the program with their photos and placards conspicuously displayed by their supporters.
Former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel Farlo McGill, seemed to be the biggest individual crowd puller during the historic occasion. He led his famous “Porcupine Brigade ”, his political structure and thousands of other supporters all the way from Margibi County in a long convoy of cars that held onlookers spellbound.
Mr. McGill who is also a former National Chairman of the CDC showed his strength in terms of grassroot support and massive outreach at the event, and it is expected that he could replicate the same during the election where he is standing for the senatorial race in the county.
From all indications, the venue could not contain the mammoth crowd such that the nearby Liberia National Fire Service was called in to spray water on the crowd to ease off the effect of the heat from the scourging sun. Almost all the streets in central Monrovia especially within the proximity of the ATS played host to the surging number of people who kept trooping into the city even when the program was concluding.
The elated President, accompanied by the first lady, Mrs. Clar Marie Weah, was dressed in Blue suit, which he popularized with the name “Pro Poor Suit”, weaved through the crowd under tight security and showed fist salutation in the air as he found his way through the huge crowd, some of whom were even struggling to touch him.
The entry of President Weah set the venue into frenzy with dancing, jubilation, chanting of slogans and hailing him. No sooner did he settle down, the program commenced immediately.
The Chairman of the Re-nomination Committee, Representative Thomas Fallah, extended thanks and appreciation for those who graced the occasion, especially, those whom he called “committed partisans”.
He enumerated several reasons why the party decided to re-nominate Mr. Weah as the sole presidential candidate to contest the ensuing general elections. He said that it was never a mistake for the party to consider a unanimous decision to petition him to recontest “so as to bring the dividend of democracy to the people”.
Reading the re-nomination petition on behalf of the Party, Mulbah Morlu, who had clearly stated that there was “No Vacancy” in the Presidency, commended the partisans for standing with the party and “defending the revolution” and urged them to repeat the feat of 2017 by going out and electing Weah in the first round to send out a clear message to the opposition community that the CDC has provided the right leadership and has delivered on its promise since the Liberian people entrusted power in the hands of President Weah in 2017.
“I, in my capacity as National Chairman and with the power in me vested, I hereby officially re-nominate President George Manneh Weah as the Presidential Candidate for our great party in the 2023 general election”, Morlu said amid thunderous cheers and jubilation from the people.
To demonstrate the political marriage existing among the constituent parties, the National Chairman of the Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP), speaking on behalf of the party, reaffirmed the commitment of the party to the coalition and said that the party stands with the re-nomination bid of the president.
Vice President Howard Taylor, who will be the running mate of the President, speaking on behalf of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) as standard bearer said she was pleased to second the motion and the NPP will support the ticket to the hilt.
Several high profile government officials and partisans of CDC, including Speaker Bhofal Chambers and President Pro Tempore Albert Chie were present at the occasion.