Monrovia – A growing number of aspirants in the newly-formed Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are concerned over their fates, expressing fear they may not be given a shot at running due to delays over preparations for the primaries.
To date, members of the party wishing to run as representatives are not abreast with the party’s calendar of events and some have officially written the Chairman of the party, requesting that they are uninformed on the date and guidelines set for primaries.
The letter, a copy of which FrontPageAfrica has obtained sates: “Hon. Chairman, despite whatever previous knowledge you may have, we like to officially inform your good offices, that all the signatories to this note are staunch members/ideologues of the coalition who seriously intend to contest the upcoming elections as representative aspirants in various districts in Montserrado County with the democratic political principles and regulation promulgated by the National Elections Commission (NEC), we are kindly praying your good offices to inform us (the exact date) the responsible authority within the coalition plans to organize democratic primaries that will lead to election of candidates to represent the coalition in the ensuing legislative elections.
“We also pray your good offices to kindly furnish us with associated guidelines that will govern this process to ensure that it is free, fair, transparent and consistent with national electoral best practices.”
The communication dated January 25, 2017 was co-signed by Paulita Wie, aspirant, District #9; Kanio Bai Gbala, aspirant, District #3, Ishmael Sheriff, District #8; Dixon Seboe, District #16; Archie Sannor, District #16 and Sabah Jomah, District #7.
Queried on the worries that sparked the communication, Archie Sannor told FrontPage Africa he wanted to know in order to be adequately prepared to meet up with National Elections Commission’s requirements which the party has not updated him with.
“My supporters, too, are behind my back that they want to know when will be the primaries, so we had a meeting and wrote the party to update us on when primaries would take place".
He also explained that one of the reasons that prompted the letter to the chairman Nathaniel McGill was to seek clarity on the matter.
"We want to know because the party is not telling us anything about primaries and when will it be held. We heard Solomon George on Truth FM saying sitting lawmakers will not go for primaries. This is one of the reasons we wrote the letter,” Sannor said.
But while these aspirants are itching and gearing up for the primaries, FrontPage Africa has reliably learned that the top hierarchy of the Coalition is concluding discussions to resolve to select district representative aspirants by consensus amid financial constraints the Coalition is currently faced with.
Already, Bill Twehway – a nonpartisan of the CDC – has been given privilege to contest District #3 on the party’s ticket.
“The party is looking for money for campaign; he’s not willing to spend his cash on primaries. There may not be any primaries, I can tell you that for free. There have been many people who just ride on the shoulders of Weah to ascend to prominence, but the game is changing,” a source close to the Coalition’s executive committee told FrontPageAfrica.
Mulbah Morlu who serves as the vice chairman for operations failed to tell this paper when primaries would be held when he was contacted. The National Chairman could not be reached as he is said to be in Ghana attending a conference.
The Coalition’s failure to plan or organize the primaries is brewing tension within as members are in limbo as some are threatening chaos. FPA has reliably learned that some top officials of the party have concurred to have consensus candidates who have allegedly paid US$50,000 to secure their seats.
And there are fears from some of those members calling for the primary, saying it will be stage managed or flawed with cheating even if they are held.
“The worst they can do is cheat in a primary. I hope that is not true because it will cause a serious rift. People are already gearing up for that fight if there are no primaries," a party member told this paper.
“They are using this party to do business. All I know is that Kanio, one of our strong members is contesting District #3, but now we’re hearing that Twehway is being preferred by Weah. Something is happening somewhere, and we would not sit and allow it to go on just like that. Nobody is going to take advantage of us,” the aggrieved CDC member said.
The National Elections Commission by law must be a witness to primaries organized by political parties ahead of elections. However, it is still murky whether CDC’s nomination by consensus would be legitimate.