“CDC Performance Outshines UP 12 Years” -Says Pro-Weah Group, But Critics Disagree

As the race to the 2023 Presidential election is heating up, political and interested parties are already in the trenches flaunting their performance credentials as well as presenting manifestoes of things they intend to do for the citizenry when elected into offices in 2023. For the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) their chances to get re-elected will be from what it has done with the mandate given them by the Liberian people for the past 3 years in power and so ahead of the battle ahead, the party through many of its auxiliaries and supporters of the President, have been rolling out achievements report some of which they believe are unprecedented and will land them resounding victory in 2023.

Over the weekend, one of the auxiliary groups which has been drumming up support and showcasing the achievements of President Weah, the Professional United to Promote the Pro Poor Agenda(PUPA) did a catalogue of achievements and comparing them with those done under the Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration.

PUPA listed achievements in areas such as road connectivity, construction of market building, motivation of medical doctors and civil servants, revenue mobilization, investment in education, etc. To begin with the statistics, the document stated that the current dispensation under Weah recorded the highest in post-civil war era in terms of domestic revenue mobilization in a single fiscal year at $560 million as against that of the UP which has the highest as $375million.

In the area of education, the ruling party said it spent $8 m and $7 m respectively towards its free tuition scheme at public tertiary institutions and payment for WASSCE fees for 12 graders while the former Unity Party did not spend anything in those directions. In a similar vein, the report said the CDC recorded the minimum take home salary of government workers at $100 and for the UP it was $45 and that the highest the former regime could give medical doctors was $700 while the current government is giving $2,000.

The document which was widely circulated within the media space, both traditional and social, said President Weah had a better management of the economy saying while the former regime plunged the country in a whopping $800m domestic debt, only $45m incurred by this government internally; stressing also that the former regime used $600m from the reserve to stabilize the exchange rate as compared to the $17m the present government used to do the same.

Further throwing light on the management of the economy, PUPA said the UP regime had a very high cost of governance, paying as high as $25,000 for some officials which negatively impacted on development efforts of the country and in contrast the CDC drastically cut down the amount, and set a ceiling of $5,826 for government officials.

The document highlighted the opportunities that came to the disposal of the two governments which showed that the UP government had more than that of the CDC. It said only $500m in aid has so far been received by the present government from development partners and other external sources on the one hand and on the other hand, $10 b came the way for the UP. It also said that the CDC led government did not benefit from the presence of UNMIL as regards the annual amount the multinational spent in the economy but under the UP regime, UNMIL spent an average $115m

On infrastructure where PUPA scored the present government the highest, it said the President Weah administration built 1,000 housing units across the country in just 3 years while only 300 units were built by the UP administration; 10 market buildings were done by the CDC and 5 by UP. It further said the present leadership did 15 community roads in Montserrado against 5 for the UP and that the UP did not do anything on the Lofa road as against the 10% done by the CDC.

While this seems to be a good presentation from the ruling establishment and could sway support on her side as 2023 is fast approaching, there have been mixed reactions, with another school of thought opinionating that the government in its bid to project her credentials has also failed to give credence to the foundation laid by the previous administration which has given the present administration lead way to get some of the achievements done with ease.

“I respect their opinion and I also see some facts in what was presented. But the government failed to admit where Ellen took this country from. From a mere national budget of $80m, she brought it to around $500m in about 6 years. This government met a stable economy with a budget around $500m which any serious government can take to at least $700m in 3 years. So, they did not manage or sustain what they met”, Ben Dorbor, a history lecturer from one of the private universities said.

A female right enthusiast Mabel Gbotoe said while she will not want to detest the argument from the Pro-Weah group, she was however taken aback when she saw the government taking credits from what they did not sow. “Those market buildings they are talking about were all projects initiated by the past regime and they were ongoing when this government came on board. So how will they be taking the credit and forget about acknowledging the origin of the success stories. Why are they not mentioning the high rise in youth unemployment in the country, the situation they created because they have not been able to find a way of doing it – Sad”, she said

A noted public affairs analyst, Jerome Worpoe, told this paper that he could only stomach reading few of the achievements by this government and decided to just look at other things because instead of highlighting the main issues confronting the country, the pro-Weah group was deceiving themselves and that they will be paid back with defeat in 2023.

“What a travesty? Where is the $25m mop up money amongst other crucial issues confronting the nation? Are we not worse off now than before? Are we not being isolated on the international scene? Is it not true that FIFA? CAF stopped us from using the SKD Sports Complex because our football President can’t fix it? What is there to talk about in the health sector when our citizens are dying just because the whole area is in shambles? When was the last time you visited the Southeastern part of the country? The whole region is not accessible. Our children leaving from higher institutions cannot get jobs? The government cannot provide a minimum guarantee of security for lives and properties and they are here talking about scorecards? Oh my God,” Mr. Worpoe said.

A prominent opposition figure when contacted for his view just responded to our text message, saying, “My brother, for this weekend, I am trying to ease off the unnecessary stress this one term government has brought on this country. Let them take their “achievements” to the electorates in 2023 and see what will happen to them. That was complete trash that must not be dignified”, he said.

Henry Tuazama, from a civil society organization, Clean Democracy and Rule of Law, said it was sad that people were criticizing without being able to dispute the government scorecard, stressing, “We have to give the government the credit. They were able to exhibit the political will to cut down the huge salaries politicians were receiving under the past government. Are you saying that this harmonization policy was initiated by the UP government? This is laughable. Now there will be more money for development”.

Another keen follower of trending issues in the country, Samuel Moorey, said people should be realistic to speak against what the government has put out there as their achievement.

“Let us be frank with ourselves. Look at the education sector. Do you know the burden that has been removed from struggling parents and students to pay tuition at higher institutions and WASSCE fees for 12th graders? This is the right way to promote and develop the human capital of a country which in return will inspire the citizenry to positively contribute to the development of this country. It will reduce the illiteracy rate in this country”, he said.

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