CDC Seals New Agreement -All Parties Recommit to Coalition

MONROVIA – The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) yesterday, Wednesday, February 8, 2023, may have weathered the storm to once again demonstrate that it is about the only conglomeration of political parties to forge a union, leading to clinching state power and then despite challenges still stick together to contest for a second term when all its constituent parties finally sealed a new framework agreement recommitting themselves to a renewed partnership for the next six years.

At a brief ceremony held at the National Headquarters of the Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) where LPDP was the last to sign the framework document after the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and National Patriotic Party (NPP) had signed earlier on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the parties said having drafted, studied and made inputs to the document, they have resolved all their differences and agreed to form a united family for the next six years, where in the process they will approach the ensuing general elections and other election with a renewed vigor under one identity.

Minutes after the arrival of the Vice President, Mrs. Jewel Howard-Taylor, the National Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mulbah Morlu in his brief remarks, welcomed the Vice President and those who made it to the program, including Speaker Bhofal Chambers. Chairman Morlu described the day as a new dawn for the three constituent parties to finally agree to work together as one political family. He then turned the stage to the Vice President who was not only there in her capacity, but also represented President George Manneh Weah, the Standard Bearer of the CDC who travelled to neighboring Cote d’Ivoire on an official visit.

Speaking to the audience which also included top officials of the CDC, Mrs. Howard-Taylor said she was grateful to God for making the day possible and said she was also happy to witness the important occasion where the three parties, CDC, NPP and LPDP will be renewing their agreement having expired last year November and historicized how the coalition was conceived and nurtured to victory in 2017.

“About five and half years ago, we gathered to do a similar thing after the discussion of the National Executive Committees of the original constituent parties decided to come together to form a coalition to contest and form a government, and thankfully we were able to win the 2017 election. We were against a ruling party and with all the challenges.

“Today, we have come to do similar things to bind the parties together for another 6 years.

“Despite all of our challenges, despite what has happened over the years, I still believe that with the leadership and the National Executive Committee of the three parties that President George Manneh Weah will be given a second term. My hope is that we should go for the first round as a ruling party.

“Mr. Chairman all of our arrangements ended last November and because of all the necessary discussions in the collaboration and all the needed consultancy, we are here today.

“The three parties remain engaged in the process. I think Saturday was a defining moment for all of us to know God is in all what we are doing and to take what happened on Saturday to the day we shall have won the election by the Grace of God”. VP Taylor said, amid cheers from the partisans.

She said her confidence level that the party will win the ensuing election grew ever before as the CDC led government had performed creditably well in all sectors which no one can ever dispute. She said the opposition has nothing to offer outside what CDC has delivered and that the citizens will surely reciprocate what the party has done for them.

She also used the occasion to urge partisans to explore other options outside of seeking employment from the government so as to minimize the burden on the national government. She said there are a lot of opportunities in government that they could use and invest in the private sector such as seeking grants and other opportunities offered by the government for private sector practitioners.

She said as the coalition is marching forward for the task ahead, it is very important that every partisan should match their commitment with seriousness and ensure that victory comes the way of CDC easily.

Speaking right after the VP, the National Chairman of the LPDP, Moses Kollie said the CDC made history for the first time since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1985 as the party broke the jinx to survive challenges and soldier on to form a government after election.

“We made history a few years back since 1985. Many parties tried to form a coalition but did not succeed. We all subordinated our own personal ambition.

“We have come today as a party, the LPDP to recommit ourselves. We have come because the framework document we signed together and designated the then Senator and now President George Manneh Weah to lead us. We believe in him, we are convinced that he has ably performed, we are convinced that he can still lead us.

“Mr. Chairman, Madam Vice President and Vice Standard Bearer, we have come to prove to the Liberian people through the National Executive Committee, we have decided to recommit ourselves to the CDC. We as a party, political militants will go throughout the length and breadth of the country to re-elect President Weah”, Kollie said.

In his closing remarks, Morlu thanked the leadership of LPDP for generating the required 2/3 majority to provide the necessary legal back of the resolution to recommit to the coalition and urged all the partisans to ensure the recommitment remains intact.

He told the partisans that though there is no perfect system anywhere in the world, the CDC has demonstrated over time as an institution that it can manage its own crisis and has a super structure that is capable enough to provide the leadership the people need.

“We urge the partisans to also show their commitment and loyalty to the party by paying their dues because it was the payment of their dues during the launching of the scheme that most of the funds used to organize the re-nomination program of President Weah was made possible,” Morlu indicated.

Meanwhile, prior to the signing ceremony at the LPDP headquarters, a stalwart of the party, Cyril Allen provided some details of the framework document and what it means for the ruling establishment going to the ensuing general election.

Speaking to the live Morning Ride program on the state radio, ELBC, yesterday, Wednesday, February 8, 2023, Allen who said the framework was never an event but a process, was an outcome of an almost 9 months of discussion, reviewing drafts, making inputs and finally getting the partisans of the 3 parties to agree and sign the document

“Politics is based on experience and over the past five years there has been experience gathered as a result of the coalition. And so those pieces of experience we gathered are those shortcomings and those bottlenecks that were created during the past five years.

“The new arrangement is to embrace those shortcomings with the view of smoothening them.

“The first agreement was clear, that at the end of the election year when we emerge victorious, nominations and appointments to government positions will be given to constituent parties. During this first period, that side was lacking and the parties were not satisfied.

“The President did not broaden the base for nomination and appointment and so everybody was frustrated about that which led to dissatisfaction”, he said.

He said the new framework agreement clearly specified that because there were grey areas in the first arrangement, this time around a broad participation by all parties is factored, adding that the party will play a more decisive role at all levels of the party activities, be it at the national, local , cabinet or legislative level.

He said another aspect of the new arrangement is there will be a primary for all partisans, be it incumbent or aspirants for all legislative seats because it is not a guarantee that the incumbent will win election. He said this sort of imposition of candidates in the past robbed the party of some elections and such will not be repeated.

He said candidates will be properly screened from the structure of the party from the grass root up to the national level and every successful candidate will be product of a democratic process owned and carried out by partisans who will freely choose the candidates.

“We are doing this so that whoever emerges will be supported by the party including those who lost the primary. We want to avoid the situation where the loser eventually goes to contest as an independent against our candidate.

“We will also set up an administrative structure and an ethics and grievance committee to listen to the complaints of contestants with the view of amicably resolving all issues related to primaries and avoid friction within the party”, he said.

Asked why Senator James Biney, national Chairman of the NPP and Alex Tyler, a leader of the LPDP have all not signed and what could be implication of their refusal to sign have on the framework agreement, the former National Chairman of NPP said the framework document is not about individual signing but the intent is to secure 2/3 majority support from the executive committee of each party to provide legal backing to the process of reaffirming membership to the coalition by the three constituent parties. He said so far the objectives have been achieved, adding that with more discussions ongoing, Biney, though having his own reservation towards the framework agreement, will sign eventually, just like the case of Tyler.

Commenting on the decision of Senator Prince Y. Johnson to pull out its support to the CDC, Allen said it was important to correct the impression from the beginning that Senator Johnson and his MDR have never been part of the coalition but they supported the party during the second round of the election. He said the coalition consists of the CDC, NPP and LPDP and another party that supported CDC at the time during the second round collaborated with the party but did not have any membership.

He discounted the insinuation that Johnson could damage the chance of CDC in Nimba County, where he is said to have a large following.

“Senator Johnson has never been part of the coalition. He supported us during the second round. He is not going to affect our chances because NPP as a party has the members nationwide, and for those that really know about NPP, we have a very large support base in Nimba.

“And that is why I told the President he should have not responded to Senator Johnson because he himself has lost support with his people in Nimba. It has always been him and his own group of people and you know Nimba is made up of 4 different groups. His leaving does not mean that the whole of Nimba will follow him.

“I did not take him seriously because something about Senator Johnson is his consistent inconsistency. He will say something here and don’t be surprised if he comes back tomorrow to CDC”, he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Biney who is yet to sign the new framework agreement said after the re-nomination program while stating the procedure of obtaining 2/3 majority vote from the national executive committee on any decision affecting the party, said he was told that VP Taylor has garnered the signatures of 2/3 majority of the national executive committee of the party and if it is true, he will have no objection but to accept and sign the same document.

There has been no confirmation from the party whether those who signed the document are all members of the national executive committee.   

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