Fragmented Opposition President Sirleaf's Greatest Re-election Asset
By: paul pauley jackson
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Introduction: Social and political critic, Paul Jackson makes a forceful posit that President Ellen JohnsonSirleaf reelection bid to reclaim the highest political office in Africa's first republic is all but certain this 2011 political season, because the major political actors in the country are puzzyfooting and doing all to undermine the chances of each other. He is of the view, that, if the political opposition is serious to dislodge the current occupant from the Executive Mansion, they must join forces and move with a unity of purpose.
President Sirleaf appears impervious to political defeat later this year partly due to a congested presidential race that holds the assumption that the more the opposition parties, the lesser the chances of the incumbent getting re-elected.
This view, birthed out of ignorance of presumption has given rise to a long line of political parties and pretenders. However, this laundry list of political parties and geniuses has never translated into victory for the opposition, as greed and narcissism have always gotten in the way of forming a single and formidable opposition capable of defeating the status quo.
We have heard of countless meetings and exchanges between these leaders none of which ever resulted in the formation of a coalition.
Throughout this piece, I will loosely exploit the term “opposition” to speak specifically of three key political figures (Brumskine, Tubman, and Weah) and their unwillingness to form a healthy, functional, and viable coalition aimed at unseating the current political leadership in Liberia.
Madam Sirleaf has consolidated power enough to employ all the resources (legally and illegally, if she so chooses) to aid her re-election bid for a second term, and has also managed to convince a significant portion of the electorate that she is the best thing Liberians has ever had since burger wheat. Looking at the existing attitude of the opposition, I don’t know whether I can discount this assertion anymore.
If our opposition leaders cannot work together on a single goal of defeating the incumbent, how in the heck are they going to be able to unite our much-divided nation? The “oldma” surely knows and realizes something we are taking a lifetime to grasp: That the more fragmented the opposition, the more ‘politically sexy’ she looks in the eyes of the electorate. And I agree with her on this one.
Don’t get me wrong, for ideological purposes and other true and honest reasons, I highly subscribe to the political parties maintaining their separate identities and agendas. But there is also this thing called “SITUATIONAL AWARENESS,” a tool that should come in handy for George Weah, Charles Brumskine, and Winston Tubman, if these people really want to put an end to Ellen’s reign of errors. But everyone seems to be having his own agenda and fantasies of sitting in the Executive Mansion.
The fragile political situation currently in Liberia demands a decisive and united opposition. Because the already ambivalent and disillusioned citizens would rather have a relatively stable and dysfunctional Unity Party leadership than a single political name brand that is unwilling to be part of an effective coalition. At least, with Ma Ellen, things are stagnant, pretty predictable, coupled with superficialeconomic recovery, no electricity, broken bridges, poor health care, but no gun shots or arbitrary prosecution of citizens.
The men who could be president: Brumskine & Tubman
Brumskine, Weah, and Tubman need to take advantage of these failures and work together to right some of these problems. The last time I checked, Liberians care less who is in the Executive Mansion, and gave Taylor and Ellen (one highly, the other partly responsible for the loss of so many lives) shots at the presidency via the ballot box.
The opposition has as much to play in Ellen’s re-election as Ellen herself. With friends like Weah, Brumskine, and Tubman undermining each other, Ellen doesn’t really need a political bedfellow. The electoral process would be worth another effort in futility should these key political figures refuse to work in tandem for the sole purpose of the better good of the motherland. God Help us!!