Female CDCians Swarm Headquarters -Showcase Huge Solidarity for Weah’s One-Round Victory

MONROVIA – Nearly one year before the much-expected historic general and presidential elections, political grounds are shaking and cracking here and there in preparation. Why it would be expected as per the nature of politics for the ruling government and the current leader to shed much of their popularity after four years of incumbency, that doesn’t seem the be the case—at least for now—for the Coalition for Democratic Change and President George Manneh Weah. Amid cynicisms in many quarters their popularity has dwindled even amongst partisans, things appear recast and recharged last weekend by just the women wing of the party who smarmed, in colossal numbers, the huge premises of the headquarters in Congo Town, celebrating, dancing and hooting solidarity slogans that reminisced major electoral events in the past. As The Analyst reports, what others call the spontaneous groundswell of female partners on Friday, July 1, heralds good news for the party and its supporters.    

The usual way programs of such are organized in Liberia is for organizers to put them on Saturdays or Sundays in order to attract large numbers because those expected to be present might have done all their workloads in the course of the week and use the free time to attend the program. But it was not the route they decided to follow to stake their claims that no matter the circumstances, they were ready, willing and able to set aside all their personal engagements and “hustle time” to identify with the cause they believe in.

That is in reference to the women of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who on Friday, July 1, 2022, thronged the National Headquarters of the Party in a mammoth rally to show their unshakable commitment to the party and stake their claims for women equity and participation in politics and leadership.

Though some of them were at the forefront of the celebration, marking the 17th anniversary of their party few weeks ago, but the female CDCians  decided to set aside a special day to show appreciation the party, and to pledge their unflinching support to the leadership to their political leader and President of the Nation, George Manneh Weah.

They used the occasion to present the case for more women participation in leadership within the party and government and seek for general empowerment for its taming women drawn from across the country especially in Montserrado County, from where 10,300 of them, as district and zonal leaders have come all the way to the party headquarters to make the day.

Amid dancing, singing and chants of “women oh women! Women!” and other feminist and party slogans, the women from across Montserrado County and its environs marched to the headquarters of their party, many on foot, while vehicles ferry some.

Weah’s caravan entry at the National Headquarters

As early as 9 am the venue was filled to capacity for a program that was billed to start in the afternoon. The imminent arrival of the President was visible as security men and other protocol officers were far advanced to make the preparation and so no sooner than expected President George Manneh Weah in a caravan fashion made a triumphant entry to the venue sending the whole arena into festive mood with the women dancing endlessly to the new hit song by Nigerian youthful sensation, Kizz Daniel, BUGA.

Before the President’s arrival, the podium at the venue of the gathering was already filled with top hierarchy of the party and government officials including Mulbah Morlu, National Chairman of CDC; Ministers National Falo McGill, Samuel Tweah , Whilmena Piso saydee-Tarr, and others seated.

Taking to the podium to welcome and deliver the message from the women group, Madam Nora Wreh, Women Leader of Montserrado, expressed excitement for the program and thanked all her team and leaders of the districts and zones for turning out in their numbers to make the program a grand success.

Amid deafening chanting of “women oh Women!” and the resounding response of “Women!” Madam Wreh lauded the contribution of the women folks of the party whom she described as “mothers of the party” who in both bad and good times had held the fort of the unarguably the most grassroots political movement in the history of the country.

“We are the mothers of this great party,” he growled. “We have been there for the party, whether good time or bad time. We will continue to be with the party and support our beloved President, George Manneh Weah who has come to change this country.”

She said the women have been impressed with the leadership style and the level of development in the country.

“In the past, we were talking about rice; everything rice. And it did not take us anywhere. But this time the President is bringing development that will change this country and make it a better place to be,” she said.

On the ensuing 2023 general elections where President Weah will be seeking for re-election, the tough talking women leader and party stalwart said that the women of the party have resolved to mobilize support throughout the country to ensure that the president is elected on a straight one round without going into the second the round with any contender, vowing that this will happen without any hesitation.

She recounted development projects being undertaken by the President, including but not limited to construction of roads, schools, hospitals, provision of affordable education, promotion of women empowerment, etc.

“For the 2023 general elections, we want to tell the President that the women of this party, the women of this country will be all over to support and campaign for you so that the result will just be one round, no second round,” Madam Wreh said amid riotous cheers from the mammoth crowd.

Nathaniel Falo McGill’s spicing words

The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chairman Emeritus of the ruling Party, Nathaniel Falo McGill, who had spoken earlier visibly joyously paid tribute to the contribution of the women of the party over the years and assured the women that the party will always be for them, stand for them and work for them.

“Let me assure you that the CDC government will not let the women down,” McGill said. “We will continue to protect your interest and we will continue to do everything to empower you, the women of CDC.”

“I want to thank you and tell you that this President is your president. I want to assure you that the women will continue to be empowered. I want to thank you for coming,” he said further.

President Weah’s response

The President, rising up from his seat, got the women in a wide celebration mood when he said that the day was for the women and that all the women present at the event will dance the trending song, BUGA with him, which drew excitement from the ladies and shouted on top of their heads.

Apparently being buoyed by the electoral victory of the Cllr. Joseph Kpator Jallah, who was endorsed and supported by the CDC in the Lofa bye election, the President said before anything else “let me thank God for what he has done in the life of the people of Lofa County” and added that he was now convinced that the people of Lofa County normally support government in elections and not opposition.

The President said rather elatedly: “If you can remember during my county tour, the people of Lofa told me that their tradition is to work with the government; they do not work with the opposition. The chief spoke and said ‘George Weah is our son, George Weah was not in government and we voted for the other government. Now that George Weah is in government, we will vote for the government’. So I want to thank the people of Lofa County for respecting their words and to our good friend Mr. Jallah, congratulations and welcome to the government of this country.”

Turning to the women, the President said that it has always been his desire and that of the party and his government to promote women emancipation, equity and participation in leadership and politics of the country to the extent that when the National Elections Commission was raising the issue of giving the 30% quota a top priority for political parties.

He proposed to leadership of the party for 50% to be given to women. He said that in 2005, many women came around, got nominated and some of them got elected on the party’s ticket and that CDC will continue to be in line with its tradition of promoting women in leadership and politics.

He continued: “Here in this country, they call me ‘Feminist in Chief’ and that is why today in our government, you see a lot of women in key positions and the women are working doing well so it tells you women cannot challenge the men but they can do well as the men. So this government is a diverse government that promotes democracy, human rights and promote women rights as well.”

The President also indicated that women issues, especially empowerment, equity and promotion of women in top leadership remain the front burner of the government and that has informed the decision for him to be physically present to discuss with the women of CDC.

“In our government, we are fighting hard for women to participate in government and that is why we are here. We have to give women the choice because we have women who can work and help us develop this country.”

President  Weah urged  Mulbah Moru, the National Chairman of the CDC, to explore any means necessary to make sure that women are given more opportunities to excel in leadership positions within both the party and the government.

“Mr. Chairman, I know you have your own processes, but I want for you to give women at least 40% quota in government so that we can have more women in leadership and politics,” he said with resounding cheers and standing ovation from the huge crowd present.

He challenged the women to embrace education, be it academic, vocational or skill acquisition to enhance their chances for employment and other empowerment opportunities.

Dr. Weah said it was not possible for everyone in the country to go through formal university education to obtain degrees as a way of being successful but there are other options available where they could be fashion designers, caterers, hairdressers, etc. and generate income as well as contribute to the development of the country.

The President singled out Public Works Minister Designate, Mrs. Ruth Coker-Collins whom he described as exceptional with her work.

 “We have great women in the country and some of them that are in government are doing extremely well. I want to mention Madam Ruth (Coker Collins). She has been doing well. When there was a vacancy, we met on the table to decide who should be appointed and I said we have tried men before so let us try women too and she has not disappointed me. She has been exceptional” he said.

Flaunting his credentials about women emancipation and empowerment, the President said he was making a comparison not out of disrespect against any particular regime, but he has had reason to ask Madam Mary T. Broh, Director General of the General Services Agency(GSA), whom he described his aunty, why it was not possible to have more women in government when women were in charge of leadership in the country but with his government being led by a male, he has employed more women in top positions in the country than others.

President also used the occasion to convey to the audience how he has been the cornerstone of the CDC right from the formative stage when the five original members met to organize the party, even when it increased to 10 persons and then when it came to naming the party.

He said the selection of the party’s name was followed by a series of democratic processes when names are suggested and the names are placed in a box for random selection and on all these occasions, all the names he selected were fortunately picked randomly.

The CDC Standard Bearer reflected on some fond memory on the founding the party. The narrated: “I was in Washington DC looking for people to join the party when I received a call from our former Chairman Gould who said. Big brother, where are you? I answered what was the problem and he told me that the Election Commission did not accept us using the name Liberia National Congress so we need a new name to register the party. I was in the traffic and the car before me had CDC on it but the meaning was Center for Disease Control (CDC) so I told him the party is CDC and he asked what is the meaning of CDC and I said Center for Disease Control and he yelled oh but then, no one will join us oooo; but I just laughed and said it is Congress for Democratic Change and they took the name, put it in the box with other names they have proposed. When they picked from among the names, mine came up and that is how the party became CDC.”

The President who also used the opportunity afforded him at the occasion to defend his stewardship also took a swipe at his detractors whom he said have always derogatorily referred to him as “just a footballer”, stressing that as difficult as football was, he made it easy for himself and it was able to produce results and that he has also been able to apply it to politics.

“I am not just a footballer on the field of play. I won the first Ballon d’Or as the first black African; I am not just a footballer; I was able to learn it and apply it and make it simple through hard work and that is what I am applying in politics and it is working for me.”

He drew the attention of crowd to prove his point about his thoughtfulness and decision making process to the analogy used by Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah Jr, to referred to the memorable and recording breaking goal he scored while playing against Lazio in the Italian top league where he took the ball from his own half and dribbled his way through opponents up to the goal post and scored without being dispossessed of the ball.

The President added: “And now look at the analogy that was used by Minister Tweah about the 14 strides and 14 touches that led to the goal. It was not just the scoring of the goal. It has to do with the strides, the precision, the speed taken in between throughout the process. There were some obstacles along the way but I was able to get through by hard work, not luck, not chance. And so this is what that goal and the process represent.”

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