Five years ago about this time, President Elect George Manneh Weah was preparing for his inauguration just as President Elect Joseph Nyema Boakai is preparing for his. I vividly recalled that there were two kinds of moods created over the nation. The mood of joy and satisfaction felt by CDCians, and the mood of sadness and fear of what the future would hold felt by UPists. After six years, the same moods have been recreated in Liberia once again. This time, it is the CDC that is in the reverse. CDCians are sad and worried about what the future hold for them. Just as it was in the past, so is now.
In 2017 after losing the elections, UPists were struggling in their minds on how to gain relevance under the new dispensation and today, the same applies for CDCians. For the UPists to regain relevance outside the power switch room, they devised the strategy of “putting the CDC Government Feet to the Fire’. For six years, they gained relevance and popularity in a manner that was never done in Liberia before and through their persistence, they made the CDC Government unpopular and have today reaped the benefit by finally taking over the leadership of the Country once again. Just recently, the CDC was unequivocal that they too would put the UP Government feet to the fire for six years. The question is, through which means?
The Unity Party formed collaboration with other political parties and carried out consistent, persistent, and vigorous protests and demonstrations alongside with condemnation of every policy and actions of Government, They did not acknowledge any development as good. To them, the CDC was a failure from start to the finish, while they presented themselves as the rescuers of the people of Liberia from hard times and under-development. The CDC is bent on conducting its opposition in like manner, according to Representative Acarious Gray.
At a Church Service, the outgoing President admonished the Incoming Government to let democracy have its way. He called on incoming President Joseph Nyumah Boakai to respect free speech and rights of association like he did. He cautioned that the rights to protest and demonstrate is a fundamental and constitutional right which should not be hindered, but protected by government and complimented by the provision of water and food to protesters.
As power is about to switch hands from one side of Rehab Road to the other side, social media has been over-run by debates over audit, property seizures, and prosecution of officials of the outgoing government on the one side, while on the other side of the debate, there are calls for comprehensive audit dating as far back as 2006-2023 if truly the incoming government interest is to fight corruption and nip impunity in the bud.
They argued that the comprehensive audit would guide the incoming government against appointing former corrupt officials in a clean slate corrupt free government. Whatever would be the decision of incoming President Joseph Nyumah Boakai would be seen in months ahead. Observers believe it is Boakai’s litmus test that would distinguish justice from witch hunt in his reign.
As we move gradually and closely into the Boakai”s era, several issues of national concerns are popping up. Would the incoming government be able to deliver on its promises, especially those that have to deal with the first 100 days, or were those promises a part of the usual Liberian politics of deception to gain power? Would the incoming President continue development projects and people centered policies started, but uncompleted by the Weah’s administration? Would they scrap them as unnecessary waste and create their own footprints? Students and parents are in a state of dilemma. Would the burden of WASSEC payment and tuition shift back to the wallets and purses of parents? Civil servants are also in a state of uneasiness. Would the incoming government reinstitute the UP signature policy of down-sizing, upsizing, and rightsizing? These concerns are being raised in corners because they were highlighted by the opposition as issues to visit with the hope of eliminating wastage in government.
There are other concerns surrounding steps the incoming government would take to unify and reconcile Liberians. Are they going to ensure “an only UP” administration or a government of national unity, healing and reconciliation by inclusion? Will their agenda be less accommodating or non-accommodating? The Incoming President has all the opportunity in this world to prove himself better than President Weah and showcase himself as an elder statesman placed behind the national wheels to drive the nation depending on how he respond to the voices whispering the direction of the nation into his ears. He can defuse a repetition of the unbearable pressure which they had on President Weah by being himself instead of others.
CDC BACK IN OPPOSITION
Will the CDC be a formidable opposition? Would the Coalition survive the six years tenure of President Boakai? Or, would the opposition be reduced to only the Congress for Democratic Change? Obviously the Coalition is expected to be a formidable opposition if it places its house in order by reframing the Coalition and respecting the values of constituent parties.
Presently, the Coalition is weakening itself by decisions that are counter-productive. The infights in the CDC has accounted for its loss in the presidential elections. That has to be corrected and it seems quite remote. It is inconceivable that leaders of the CDC would continue to make errors from which the party got burnt. President Weah has not ceased to lay blames on leaders of the Coalition Government for fighting amongst themselves. As Standard Bearer, he perfectly has concrete reasons for his statements.
To vindicate the President, recently the CDC took a decision to support Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa for the Speakership while it is clear that the Party has a case in court as a result of electoral fraud against the seated Speaker. While pursuing its case to ensure justice to Dr. Chambers, the same Coalition leaders have given its support to the Deputy Speaker against Dr. Chambers in a case that is clearly winnable. The decision of the Executive Committee is far beyond its scope as the power for such decision lies with the Governing Council of the CDC.
Furthermore, the frame-work document clearly states that the speakership and/or President Pro-Tempore position would go to the LPDP. Without consultation with the LPDP, support is given to the Deputy Speaker. The fact that that the Executive Committee took such a decision against the interest of the sitting Speaker who is a Governing Council Member is in itself divisive and weakening of the spirit of the Coalition.
One can sense the already disintegrating strength of the Coalition by thoughts to even expel the Standard Bearer as publicly stated by one of CDC Stalwarts Dr. Lester Tenny on the Spoon Talk Show. The language of Dr. Tenny clearly demonstrate that much was happening within the Coalition during the campaign. Can one blame the President for taking decisions in the best interest of the nation? Party stalwarts are contending that the CDC needs to revisit its decision making processes and build a cohesive opposition that would have the buy in of all constituent parties. They contend that the Congress needs to respect other constituent parties. Consultations are important to drive a strong opposition, they insist.