By Stephen G. Fellajuah
MONROVIA: The Standard Bearer of the African Democratic Movement of Liberia (ADML), one of the newest political institutions established in the country, Dr. George Parkinson Gonpu, has relinquished his ambition to contest for the Liberian presidency in the pending October 10, 2023 general elections.
Addressing a news conference Saturday, July 22, 2023 at headquarters of the party in Fiamah, Monrovia, Dr.Gonpu said against the background of the assessment of the political landscape, the party had some consultations and debates among the ADML leaders and from what was gathered, he decided to suspend his candidacy for the presidency in the October 10 2023, elections.
“Despite this decision, our party shall continue to be an active player in helping to ensure that Liberia stays on a path of consolidating democracy, which includes peaceful, fair and transparent elections, accountable leadership and the rule of reasonable and good laws”, he noted.
Dr. Gonpu, who is also the vision bearer of the ADML, explained that although the party will have no presidential candidate in the October 10 elections, pointed out that the party has 5 nominees in the elections for the house of representatives who have submitted all of their paper works to the National Elections Commission (NEC). He emphasized that the party will continue to support them to assist them to win in their districts.
The nominees include Andrew M. Wongeh of District #4, Montserrado County, Joseph W. Jallah of District #17 Montserrado County, Trokon B. Lewis of District #1 Montserrado County, Jasgbah A. Jasgbah of District #6, Montserrado County, and Usher P. David of District #1 Bong County.
“And although ADML will not be a ruling party in 2024 and therefore will not have the political authority over the management of Liberia’s resources required to fully implement its vision, we will look at our platform and determine the portion that we can implement as a vibrant opposition party, the ADML Standard Bearer stated.
He went on further to urge partisans, supporters, sympathizers of the party to continue to unite, remembering that ADML has come a long way and has compelling grassroots history and a great vision for Liberia. “Let’s Move Forward Together dedicated to our principles of unity, integrity and creativity. Let us continue to invest in ADML and make it stronger and better ready for other possible future opportunities to lead in Liberia”, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gonpu recounted that on January 16 of this year, he formally announced his interest in the candidacy for the position of President of Liberia. The decision was influenced by the increasing challenges facing the country. Among them, he said, are the challenges of disunity, job creation deficits, rising poverty, corruption, rising cost of living and high inequality; all of which are made worse by the problems of ineffective leadership at the presidency and other branches of government in our country.
Furthermore, according to him, his desire to compete in the Oct 10 elections for the position of president was motivated by his confidence that he represent the best choice as a leader to promptly provide solutions to the listed problems through providing experienced, capable leadership which would start by defeating the CDC presidential candidate in a free, fair and competitive election. “We realized then and now that although popularity and celebrity are attractive, they are, however, not helpful in producing solutions to Liberia’s problems nor in delivery of campaign promises to Liberians”, he said.
Since his announcement, the ADML Standard Bearer said he has engaged Liberians of multiple socio-economic statuses including farmers, market women, public officials and students, in both the rural and urban areas.
“Our engagements with Liberians have helped us learn some important lessons of Liberia’s political landscape.
“First, the Liberian people are genuinely interested in democratic elections as a means for selecting their political leaders; however, they are profoundly disappointed at the failures of their elected leaders to deliver on the promises of good governance and economic prosperity, commonly discussed in their political campaigns.
“Second, the Liberian political system is profoundly corrupt and money has excessive influence in our electoral process. The influence of money in our electoral system undermines the fight against corruption and creates an unlevelled playing field where those who can spend more money are provided an unfair advantage.
“Third, Liberians are enthusiastic about ADML’s vision and how it intends to empower them to address their multiple problems in order to rapidly achieve economic progress and good governance”, he said.
Besides, he said that the lessons learned from his engagements with Liberians have further intensified his resolve to become more dedicated to the fight for national unity, good governance, and economic development. ADML intends to accomplish these goals at levels that will help make Liberia a model for Africa’s economic liberation.