Friday, September 23, 2011

Weah and the CDC claims must be investigated!

By: ralph geeplay

The football maestro turn politician George Weah

This week in Monrovia, George Weah, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) vice standard bearer issued strong worded accusations in the Liberian capital against the Liberian presidency and the presidential candidate of the ruling Unity Party standard bearer Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

No doubt, Weah was angry. His tone was neither civil nor helpful in a charged political season as the country gears for an all important elections.

More so, giving the recent waves of attacks and violence that has occurred in the country with the CDC partisans behaving violently on several occasions, the recent Weah press statements must have us all concern. Just last week three of its members were charged in the Liberian capital for throwing a petrol bomb that brunt down the car of Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the former secretary general of the CDC.

It is important that Mr. Weah’s accusations be investigated, because the claims he made during that press conference were serious. The world’s attention is fixed on the country as never before, considering Liberia’s brutal past, and its restive, semi, fragile peace which is currently being kept by the United Nation’s Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). UNMIL cannot stay in the country forever, Liberians will have to shoulder that responsibility soon!

Calls by world leaders that the country risks returning to civil war if nothing is done by Liberians themselves to keep the peace is being ignored repeatedly by major political actors in the country for the sake of power, says observers.

 Mr. Weah’s frustrations, it seems stems from the FrontPage Africa report this week that his ties to Dr. Alan White and Associates is a complicated relationship that doesn't augur well for the country, the FPA said the relationship was troubling. The paper editorialized on the 20th of September that  “it [was] important for Mr. Weah and the CDC to explain why it went to the extreme to hire a consultant with ties to the former junta in Guinea and even sign a document promising disorder or disturbance.

An executive and writer Reed Kramer also wrote on the issue a while ago. What’s unfortunate is that the CDC and its executives have not ADDRESSED the issue of continue violence within its ranks, especially its partisans, says analysts.

The United Nation's Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have also added his voice to a segment of the nation's population continue disrespect for the rule of law and its politicians parochial political behavior, saying that the elections due to take place next month will serve as a “litmus test,” and a pedestal to discern the progress towards peace that Liberia has made since the country held its first post war elections in October 2005.

 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

ECOWAS, the West African regional grouping responsible for Liberian’s stability from war to peace is equally worried about the Liberian elections. It sent two former presidents from Nigeria and Ghana to Monrovia this week.

 Other high profile individuals as well, including the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Her Excellency Madame Thomas Linda Greenfield have expressed fears. She recently appealed to political actors in the country to campaign responsibly.

It is not a coincidence that these dignitaries and high profile individuals are worried about the Liberian vote. Just last week, Liberian mercenaries crossed over to the Ivory Coast killing 23 people and injuring scores. Add that to the recent Ivory Coast electoral violence in which yet again Liberian mercenaries were major players and then you begin to see the big picture... Charles Taylor's legacy haunts the country still, says analysts. His National Patriotic Party (NPP) is now part of the CDC now.

The nature of the Liberian vote itself as October approaches has seen violent acts and inciting remarks being made by leading political actors in the country. “After all the suffering the country has gone through, it seems these politicians have not learn anything,” say Alice Towah, a Liberian, who bemoaned the sad state of affairs currently obtaining in the country.

According to Mr. George Weah, the CDC has evidence in its possession, that the Liberian president, “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is bent on cheating in these elections.”

The Liberian press, the civic society and the international community must addressed the CDC concerns and if need be the National Election Commission (NEC) must add its voice to Weah’s accusations.

The NEC, though not perfect has made strides. Since 2005, the political opposition have won important high profile legislative seats, with the two most important being the River Gee senatorial post which Nathaniel Williams currently occupies, when Senator Isaac Johnson suddenly passed away, and the Montserrado County senatorial hard fought election battle that brought Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff to office in the wake of Hannah Brent’s death is also a case in point. 

Both Senator Williams who represents the Destiny Party and Senator Sheriff the CDC, won those posts against strong Unity Party contenders: Cummany Wesseh and Clemenceau Urey respectively. Let’s add, that the recently held national referendum was defeated because the national political opposition boycotted the polls. It was also a major defeat to the ruling UP.

The 2005 vote was certificated by international and local observers as freed and fair. No serious acts of transgression was ever found on the part of the NEC. Drumming up accusations of cheating has the potential to incite the population if the CDC doesn't win the presidency in October.  Here's a microcosm of NEC performance since 2005: The political opposition have won and defeated the ruling Unity Party on several occasions pundits say, but every time a major election is around the corner it cries foul even before the votes are tallied.

Weah also says there are 2,000 Nigerian troops in Nimba County presently. He said the troops were brought into country through the back door with the Ivory Coast as a conduit. If that allegation is true Sirleaf must be impeached, and if Weah is lying he must be sanctioned.

 It is the lives of ordinary Liberians at stake when political leaders erred in judgment or make irresponsible statements, especially, not at  time when Africa’s first independent country wants to show the rest of the world it means business, by leading by example on a continent riddled with  electoral fraud.

These claims must be substantiated. These very charged accusations were made in the presence of the entire CDC leadership, meaning it is the party that is putting forth these views.

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