MONROVIA: After two month vigorous campaign exercises taken into villages, towns and cities in 73 electoral districts of Liberia’s 15 counties, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) formally ended its rather fiery national campaign yesterday, Sunday, October 8, 2023 in Monrovia. As The Analyst reports, the colorful exercise saw President George Manneh Weah and an avalanche of supporters and partisans touring through major streets, reaching out to the electorates and then proceeding to the National Headquarters of the party where he made a moving closing statement.
Unlike in the recent past when enthusiastic partisans of CDC converged at various locations before marching to a specific venue for a political function, such as rallies or conventions, the party pushed up the optics to add flavor to the final electioneering event by cyclically going around the city with the President leading the charge.
The final closing of the campaign came on the heels of a successful campaign that took the President and the entire campaign team to all the counties where the President and his administration were lavishly appreciated for what he has achieved thus far in his first term. Consistently, the citizens of the 73 electoral districts then endorsed the President for another six years so as to consolidate on the gains of his achievements.
The President who, having received the acknowledgment of his stewardship, had enumerated most of his achievements and what he intends to do in his second term if elected.
Yesterday’s closing activities changed the direction the party will take to the polls and is hoping to leverage from the outcome of the memorable event.
As early as 7am, CDCians in their numbers began thronging to their various convening points. One of the biggest meeting points was at the ELWA junction when a large number of partisans and supporters met to wait for the arrival of President to commence and lead the parade.
By 10 am, President Weah emerged from the direction of his Rehab residence atop his motorcade, waving to the people jubilantly and the crowd reciprocated with wild celebrations. His convoy experienced a tough time going through the crowd as the sizeable number literally mobbed it.
As soon as the parade was set into motion, the convoy moved towards the direction of the Red Light Community in Paynesville, moving with snail pace. The singings, dancing and shouting battle cries was deafening.
As the crowd moved through the streets, hundreds of people stood from both sides of the road waving to the President and also responded brandishing with a white handkerchief in the air.
Concurrently, the National Headquarters of the party was already jam-parked beyond the capacity, and nearly Congo Town communities jostled with celebrations, many entertainment centers swarmed by CDCians and kept ablaze with CDC campaign songs.
As the hours were fast approaching, and being mindful of the distance to the National Headquarters where others were waiting him, the protocol changed course and allowed the President to fast track his journey. And the crowd in front of him were asked to clear the way to allow the convoy to move faster than it was.
Upon arrival at the National Headquarters, the waiting overflowing crowd went into earsplitting frenzy to usher him into the venue to commence the program.
President Electrified Partisans
In a short but moving statement, the President thanked his supporters and partisans for their unflinching cooperation and love demonstrated during the course of the campaign, and even long before the elections.
He thanked the First Lady of the Republic, Madam Clar Marie Weah, the Vice President of Liberia, Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor, the Campaign Team “and all of you who have been a part of this extraordinary campaign.”
“To the countless volunteers, the tireless foot soldiers, the dedicated party members, and all those who believed in our cause, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Your unwavering support has been the driving force behind our campaign, and I am deeply grateful for your commitment to Liberia.”
The CDC Standard Bearer also acknowledged some special groups who have played pivotal roles in this campaign.
“To our auxiliaries, your tireless efforts and commitment to our cause have been truly remarkable. You are the backbone of our movement, and I salute your dedication,” he said. “To our first-time voters, I want to say that your participation in this democratic process is a testament to the strength of our democracy. Your voices matter, and your votes will shape the future of our nation.
“I also want to extend a warm welcome to those who once left our party, the Coalition for Democratic Change, and have now returned. Your presence is a testament to the belief that we can achieve greatness together, and I want you to know that you are now in very good hands.”
In his opening lines, the President said: “Today, as I stand before you to close our campaign, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. We have come to the end of a remarkable journey together, a journey that has taken us to every corner of this great nation. From the bustling streets of Monrovia to the serene villages nestled in the heart of our motherland, we have traversed the 15 counties, embraced the spirit of each electoral district, and listened to the heartbeat of Liberia, hearing your voices and concerns, and sharing our vision for a brighter future.”
During the two month campaign, President Weah said, “we did not rest on our laurels; instead, we crisscrossed the nation out of respect for every voter. I refused to be complacent, or take your vote for granted, because I believe in the power of your choice, and I believe in the promise of a better Liberia that we can build together.”
For those who have left their various parties to join the CDC, he said, “we appreciate your trust and faith in our vision for Liberia. Together, we are forging a path towards a brighter future for all Liberians.”
“To those who remain undecided, I extend an earnest invitation to join the Coalition for Democratic Change for a better Liberia,” he further stressed, adding: “The previous government had its time, and the results were lacking. We were given the opportunity, and we have done our best. There is room at the CDC for all who seek progress and development, and we welcome you with open arms.”
Recounting Some of CDC Achievements
The President used the occasion to draw partisans and the nation’s attention to how he met the county and what he achieved in the first six year term.
He said: “You are all aware that in 2018, we inherited a broken economy. Nevertheless, in the five and a half years since then, we have managed to place our economy back on the track of progress and growth.
“For example, over the last two years, economic growth has averaged more than 4 percent. Sustaining this growth to higher levels is critical in the years to come. We have also increased our domestic revenue by more than 3 percent of GDP. It should be obvious to all that we have scored some impressive development successes during our tenure, and together, we will continue to solve the challenges of the future.”
The President told the enthusiastic crowds that his administration reformed government systems in order to give our government workers their fair salary and to make sure salary is fair and equitable across the government.
“As we improve the government pay system, our goal in the years ahead will be to continue to increase the salary of government workers in key sectors such as health, education, and local government,” he noted.
“We have provided free college tuition that has impacted more than 27,000 Liberians, and our government has paid the WASSE fees of more than 207,000 high school graduates. We have built schools where schools did not exist since our country’s founding; and we continue to work to improve our education system. We have built hospitals to increase access to health for all our people and are working to improve the quality of healthcare delivery.
“We have given electricity to about 1 million Liberians since 2018, and have brought the cost of electricity down from 35 cents per kilowatt hour to around 22 cents per kilowatt hour for businesses and to 18 cents per kilowatt hour for some of our very vulnerable households.”
He also recalled building markets for all market people and housing units for some poor Liberians.
“And of course, we have built more community roads than any government in history and have built more than 347 kilometers of primary roads over the past 5 and half years,” he bragged.
He said he was he was proud of this record of achievement in a very difficult period.
He added: “We were able to do more with less resources and were able to solve many structural problems. But while I am seeking re-election on these achievements, my goal for the second term is to do more and bigger things for the betterment of the Liberian people. For example, my second term will be dedicated to completing Liberia’s road infrastructure. Every county capital must be connected to the next county by a paved road.”
The CDC Standard Bearer promised to continue to grow the Liberian economy in order to provide more jobs for Liberians.
He further intimated: “Most of these jobs will be created in the small and medium enterprises sectors and in key sectors like agriculture and manufacturing. We will also continue work to increase our capacity to provide more electricity, which is a major reason why the jobs situation remains challenging.
“I have now concluded plans with the World Bank and other development partners to move Liberia’s electricity generation capacity up from a mere 88 megawatts to more than 300 megawatts; and this will be the backbone for jobs in agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors.”
He also promised that in his second term, there are plans to increase the effort in the war on corruption.
“We have now reconstituted the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission which now has seven independent commissioners,” the President promised. “We will empower this new LACC to enhance the fight against corruption, waste, fraud and abuse of public resources. We will empower the GAC, the IAA and the LACC to work better together to move the fight against corruption to a new level.”
Acknowledging that the journey over the last six years was a difficult one, “but we somehow held together to overcome the difficulties. We have kept our peace in the absence of United Nations Peace Keeping troops. In fact, it is worthy to note that this is the first Presidential and Legislative elections that we are holding without the presence of UNMIL. We must all cherish this peace and continue to keep it, because without Peace, our world will be difficult. Without peace development will NOT happen.”
Calling on Opponent Boakai
President Weah used the campaign closing statement to call on Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to condemn the recent incident in Lofa, his home county.
The incident the President referenced took place in Boakai’s hometown of Foya, and it led to the loss of lives of some of our citizens.
“The Government is investigating this matter, and will bring the perpetrators to Justice. Our international partners are seriously concerned that justice be done to the victims and their families. As President I will ensure that this justice is done,” Dr. Weah said.
Concluding the campaign and concluding his message to partisans, the CDC Political Leader said:
“My fellow CDCians and Weahians, as we close this campaign today, I want to leave you with a clear message: I kindly ask you to go out on Tuesday and renew our second term mandate. Our detractors have tried to use lies and propaganda to destabilize our Government, but we stood strong and Liberians throughout the country now see the results of the hard work of our Government.
“On Tuesday, the 10th of October, wake up early, go to the polls, and cast your vote for a better Liberia. Let’s be finished voting before noon, and then go home and wait peacefully for the results to be announced, assured in the knowledge that we are the ones who can deliver the goods for Liberia, who can lead this nation to even greater heights.
“Let our actions speak volumes about the unity and strength of our movement. Together, we will continue to build a Liberia that we can all be proud of, a Liberia that stands as a beacon of hope and progress in Africa.”