THE COLLABORATION OF Political Parties which comprises of the four main opposition political parties, the former ruling Unity Party (UP), the Liberty Party (LP), the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the All Liberia Party (ALP), over the weekend made good its intention to provide a robust challenge to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) when it received from the National Elections Commission (NEC) its certificate of registration to operate as a full fledge political institution under one political unit – The Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).
COMING AT THE time when there is a need for opposition actors to bury their individual differences and forge a common front so as to provide a credible check and balance on the ruling establishment, we see this merger as a major watershed in our political history and call on the stakeholders within the new arrangement to shift the focus on political debates away from sentimentalism to addressing concrete development issues and problems that confront national development.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, GETTING major political parties to put aside their individual differences and form a single and united front against a ruling establishment has eluded the political space in the past. The narrative changed in 2017 when the then main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), the former ruling National Patriotic party (NPP) and the Liberia People’s Democratic party (LPDP) merged to form the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and eventually defeated the then ruling Unity Party (UP against all odds.
THE COLLABORATING OPPOSITION Political Parties should see that unprecedented feat as a lesson to learn from and leverage on the opportunities to practically address burning national issues such as the declining economy, the status of security, the deplorable health sector, the messy education sector, hunger, the bad shape of our infrastructure such as our roads, threat to rule of law, the muffling of the media, etc.
WE WISH TO REMIND the CPP that the role of the opposition is sacrosanct as it is essential to the smooth running of any representative democracy. In other countries it has helped in galvanizing the citizenry to partake in government’s activities; define issues in the psyche of the ruler and ruled; present political candidates whose candidatures are founded more on issues and less on sex, tribe or religion; accept governance on an agenda that is rate-based.
WE EXPECT THE CPP to work on this kind of template above. We don’t look forward to another congregation of odd folks all bent on taking state power just to further plunge this country into deeper calamities. We are keen to seeing an opposition that drives an ideological and issues-based approach to governance. We are looking out for an opposition that will take the lead on situations that confront the country and not outsourcing its responsibilities to pressure and interest groups which we saw when the Council of Patriots (COP) became the mouth piece of both the opposition bloc and the people on critical national issues.
There should be decorum, decency and believability in order to avoid scornful rebuke from the citizens just as our form of democracy will not grow to maturity with the mediocre government and opposition that we have continued to produce in the country.
MEANWHILE, WE CALL on the CDC led government to see the CPP as a strategic partner working together to ensure that the democratic space is enriched through constructive engagement, synchronizing the alternative policy debates and harmoniously working with our development partners so as to restore public confidence in our people and inspire patriotism. The government must therefore strive to open channels of expression and encourage individuality of opinions as this helps in opening up debates for the polity, leading to better thought-out policies.
IT WILL BE TO the credit of the government in many years, were it to allow the opposition to freely operate as an exercise of its basic fundamental human rights guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic of Liberia which will be a radical departure of what we saw in the past where the opposition was derogatorily referred to as an enemy of the state.
WE IMPLORE BOTH sides of the divide to explore all workable avenues to midwife a win-win approach for the survivability and sustainability of our nascent democracy.