MONROVIA: There has been much ado about whether or not a contemporary Liberian political party is capable of winning elections on the first ballot. Contesting political parties as well as the wider public have been embroiled into the debate, not just on the possibility of such a victory but also on which of the parties is actually capable of thing so. What has been lacking in the arguments and counterarguments on this matter is the statistics and the basis to convince the public on how this is possible. As The Analyst reports, the Campaign Spokesperson of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Kanio Gba Gbala has been unveiling what appears to be interesting details, including stats and achievements of the ruling party which he believes support claims for a one-round victory for his party.
As the arguments and counterarguments on the possibility of any political party securing a one round victory in the ensuing October 10, 2023 general elections continue, the National Campaign Spokesman of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) said it is “electorally and statistically possible for President George Manneh Weah and the CDC to do so.
Kanio Gba Gbala intimate that President Weah is capable of retaining the presidency in the first round of balloting, citing several reasons which according to him are anchored on the the interventions he has made since his ascendency.
Speaking on a panel discussion that also featured three other spokespersons of participating political parties in the 2023 presidential elections, Cllr Gbala pointed to available data on how the votes will come in from the various counties for the President and the CDC.
The panelists included Cllr. Moriah Kou Yeakula of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Amos Tweh, National Secretary General of the ruling Unity Party(UP) and Abdullahi Kiatamba, a professed independent discussant. They spoke on a phone-in Morning Rise program on the OK FM 99.5.
He said President Weah and his party are approaching the elections on the basis of records of achievements that voters are looking at to cast their ballots.
Though his propositions were challenged by his co-discussants who contended that winning the first round was not possible, he insisted on laying out the premise of his conviction with projections of votes which he said the CDC will garner from the each of the counties in the country.
Cllr Gbala maintained that the CDC party is expected to do well in most counties, naming the counties from the Southeast of the country he believes will pull no less than 90% of the registered voters to the CDC.
“We have looked at the numbers and it is statistically possible to win in the first round,” he persistently against counterarguments from other panelists who said the electoral spread of each of the top four candidates including—President Weah, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the Unity Party and Alexander B. Cummings of the CPP—would not permit a first round victory.
“In 2017, we had a voting population of about 2.1 million, voter turnout was about 75%. This time around, we are around 2.4 million. If we estimate voters turn out around 75%, we are looking around 1.8m. We have done the numbers, we are able to comfortably win beyond 930k votes in these elections across the country.”
He insisted, contrary to objections on his analysis from other panelists, that “we only need 30% at the barest minimum to win in the first round. In Montserrado, we only need 60% to win in Montserrado. At the barest minimum. In the Southeast, we are raking in 90% of votes in each of the southeastern counties and that will take us in the first round. We can look at Bong County, even if we can win 50% in Bong County, we can win the first round.”
Cllr Gbala said the projected percentages of votes which are expected to come from the various counties are predicated on the deliverables across sectors in the economy whose impacts are felt in every community in the country under the dynamic leadership of President George Manneh Weah.
He said the party has assigned itself the task of reaching out to the people to give its scorecard on what it has done over the last six years which are unmatched in recent times.
The CDC Campaign Spokesperson added: “As a responsible party at the beginning of the campaign, we told the Liberian people through our campaign schedule that we are going to be at every point in this country and we have visited 7 counties already. Everywhere we went we have a replication of popular support from ordinary Liberians for President Weah for what he has done. I think that popular support from ordinary Liberians is predicated on several interventions in this country.
“Our colleagues talked about records and achievements, but let us come to the statistics and it is important in this country to remind the Liberian people to say what is needed is your record. In these elections, President Weah is running on his records, his development records. The reasons why the people are gravitating towards President Weah is because of his records and we challenge the opposition to bring their records and let us compare these records sector by sector.”
Cllr. Gbala who was on the show as virtually a lone ranger against the other three discussants, then went ahead to cite some interventions President Weah has done in various sectors including health, education, infrastructure, energy among others.
He said under the health sector, President Weah constructed the ultra-modern Emirates Hospital in Gbarpolu county and the 14th Military Hospital in Margibi County, the installation of dialysis at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, the installation of oxygen plant at JFK, the drop in the mortality from 661 in 2017 to 652 in 2022.
“We diversified the health sector in this country when we took over from the failed UP government. We had women giving birth very dismal, people accessing drugs, very dismal, let them show their records in the health sector.”
Touching on education, he said because the government is Pro Poor in its policy implementation, it embarked on free tuition initiatives at all higher public institutions in the country and has been taking off the burden of poor parents relative to payment of WASSCE fees for 9th and 12th graders throughout the country as well as digitalization of the registration process at the University of Liberia.
The combative spokesman discounted the assertion of the CPP representative Cllr. Yeakula who cited the President’s scorecard from the 2022 report of NAYMOTE and Partners in which it was stated that President Weah was only able to fulfil only 8% of promises made to the Liberian people.
He retorted: “The projects are capital intensive and are all ongoing. These are not projects you can complete in one year. We are constructing buildings, empowering schools, building hospitals and these are ongoing and if you took your time to go back to the NAYMOTE report and see the quality and quantity of the projects ongoing, you will see that the percentage has increased to almost 70%.”
In similar vein, he dismissed the claims of the Secretary General of UP, Amos Tweh that the government was involved in importation of drugs in the country, stressing that the government under President Weah has taking more decisive stand against the scourge of drugs including passing the most draconian drugs law in the country to combat drugs, making the offense non-bailable and impossible to bail out a suspect charged with drug related offenses.
He said that achievement was a unlike the days of the UP government where drug suspects were bailed out and in the process the cases are either discontinued or prosecution of the case frustrated.
Cllr Gbala expressed optimism that President Weah will secure the first round victory and that the conviction is not a fluke but is predicated on tangibles the President has delivered over the years to the people.
He said it is because of the enormous achievements visibly seen by Liberians that the President is wholeheartedly welcomed and endorsed at all the places he has gone to solicit support for his re-election bid.