Weah, CDC Split -President Concedes Defeat, Party Smells ‘Fraud’

MONROVIA: What appears to be a troubling rigmarole with potential to stymy peaceful transition is bellowing on the horizon. Bracing for any eventuality following the crucial runoff polls, the Liberian populace sighed with great relief when President George Manneh Weah made his concession speech, earlier placing a call of surrender to his rival Joseph Boakai. While the President is hailed in some quarters, including the international community, for such a bold and tolerant move, it seems all is not over. No, not yet. It seems overtures by the President has not been going down well with the party whose couple of officials are now taking the public stance to air their apprehensions and misgivings which clearly contradict President Weah’s concession. As The Analyst reports, there are gathering clouds of fogs handing over unhindered democratic transition because the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change is likely to challenge the runoff election results over allegations of fraud.

While the Unity Party is preparing to retake the political throne, for the third time, following President George Manneh Weah’s concession of defeat, worrying signs are emerging over any possible transitional discussions. The Coalition for Democratic Change says it has detected fraud in the runoff elections and that it will not condone it nor accept undue gross disadvantage.

“What we will not condone is fraudulent elections. What we will not permit is gross disadvantage. These were statements coined by the Secretary General of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee when he addressed partisans Sunday at the Party’s Headquarters in Congo Town during a media engagement he convened.

Last Friday, after the National Elections Commission’s regular pronouncement of progressive tallied results of the runoff poll, President Weah conceded defeat with “a grateful heart, but with the utmost respect for the democratic process that has defined the nation.”

President Weah acknowledged that, as the President and the leader of the Coalition for Democratic Change, he considered the results announced Friday night, though not final, indicative that his rival, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, was in the lead that the CDC could not surpass.

“Therefore, a few minutes ago, I spoke with President-elect Joseph N. Boakai to congratulate him on his victory,” the president said, calling on his partisans and supporters to also gracefully accept the results of the runoff election.

But despite the President conceding defeat, that Coalition for Democratic Change does not seem to buy in the overture.

National Secretary General Koijee in disagreement with the President said the election was laden with fraud and that it would be challenging the results this week.

“This party went into the election with our heart and souls for the sole purpose of winning,” SG Koijee said, adding that he and others who are taking up the matter are prepared to take responsibility for their actions.

“Although our Standard-bearer has spoken and we respect that, but as a party, we will react responsibly to the final announcement from the National Elections Commission,” he further noted.

Secretary General Koijee said during a press conference Sunday at the headquarters of the CDC that the party uncovered fraud in the conduct of the runoff elections, and said the ruling party would not condone any form of fraudulent election in the country.

Mr. Koijee, in his usual mood of excitement in addressing CDCians, pointed to the conduct of the elections in Nimba, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh Counties, which he said the party considers fraudulent.

He stressed that the party’s complaint has already been compiled and would soon be filed with the Court. He did not say clearly what went wrong in the counties he named.

Amidst their usual battle cries, the Monrovia Lord Mayor stressed that CDC was determined to take a collective action to ensure that the right things are done.

“What we will not tolerate is injustice,” he noted.

According to him, the CDC would not condone is what he called “a fraudulent election”, noting that they would not permit “gross disadvantage”.

Mr.  Koijee said the CDC would take a collective action to have the needful done. He also emphasized that the ruling establishment has always committed itself to a free, fair and peaceful election across the country.

However, he called on all partisans to disengage from being involved in any illegal and undemocratic action as a result of the unfavorable election results, saying that after all and very soon, partisans will be called upon through their National Chairman.

Acknowledging that President Weah is their leader and as such, they deserve clarity from whatever decision he had taken relating to the November 14, 2023 presidential runoff election, Koijee warned that any action taken by any of the CDCians in the form of revenge will be condemned and considered a unilateral decision.

In the meantime, Mr. Koijee disclosed that the Flag-bearer of the party, President George Weah, will have an open engagement with his partisans on Monday, November 20, 2023 to tell them what informed his decision to concede.

It can be recalled that the National Elections Commission said Ambassador Boakai obtained 814,428 votes constituting 50.84% while President Weah obtained 793,910 or 49.36% as per the national presidential consolidated tallied report.

Full disclosure of the total tallied ballots have not been disclosed as the election governing body said a rerun of at precinct in Nimba was to take place last Saturday.

NEC added that results from 20 polling places in Grand Gedeh were being quarantined for verification before full disclosure of the final results of the Presidential elections.

Amid those happenings, President Weah congratulated his main challenger, Unity Party’s Joseph N. Boakai and stated that the remaining numbers are insufficient to surpass the numbers of the Unity Party Candidate.

“Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize that the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia. Through your peaceful and orderly exercise of your constitutional right to vote, you have once again demonstrated your commitment to the democratic principles that bind us together as a nation.

“Under my leadership, these elections were organized with a promise to the Liberian people – a promise of fairness, peace, inclusiveness, transparency, and credibility. I am proud to say that we have fulfilled that promise. The Liberian people have spoken, and we have heard their voice,” he said.

“However, the closeness of the results reveals a deep division within our country. As we transition to a new administration, we must be vigilant to the dangers of division, and must work together to find common ground. Now, more than ever, unity is paramount for the love of Mama Liberia,” President urged his followers.

President Weah then urged his party to follow his example. “To the members of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change, fellow partisans, CDCians, Weahcians, auxiliaries, first-time voters, campaign managers, and party leaders, I understand that this is not the outcome we desired.  ‘Although we did not emerge victorious, your hard work and support have been the backbone of our campaign, and for that, I am deeply grateful.”

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