A union on the verge of a political tsunami in post-war Liberia is suddenly on the rocks. Winston Tubman and George Weah, who only a fortnight ago were swarming in the glory of a massive political welcome rally now seems headed to splitsville in the wake of an internal wrangling with enormous proportions likely to shake this year’s presidential race.
In mimic of Chinua Achebe’s famed novel, “Things Fall Apart”, a party with so much promise and grassroots support has suddenly once again losing its momentum. Who would have imagined that it would come to this, especially in the aftermath of one of the most amazing political rallies in recent memory which once again raised the stakes that the upcoming presidential race was bound to generate an aura of competition. Now, suddenly, the party riding on the back of a football legend is in tatters.
The beginning of a possible end unfolded Monday when former combatants allegedly under the orders of Weah, the vice standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change, reportedly led a charge at the party’s headquarters Monday to keep party chairwoman Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Secretary General Acarous Gray off the party’s headquarters in Cong Town, FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt.
Sources within the CDC hierarchy confirmed to FrontPageAfrica late Monday night that the situation within the party is spiraling out of control amid strong fears that Weah is on the verge of breaking yet another political marriage, this time with Ambassador Winston Tubman.
A previous attempt at merger with Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine also fell apart amid reports that Weah was offered a lofty payment to shatter what many believed was the only ticket strong enough to defeat the incumbent Unity Party government in this year’s presidential race.
Confusion at HQ
It all started mid afternoon Monday when confusion erupted on the grounds of the CDC in Congotown when some partisans, who FPA later gathered were ex-combatants, acting under the instruction of Weah and led by Mulbah Morlu began pulling down items including mementos and party memorabilia belonging to Doe-Sheriff. Reporters, including some from FPA who arrived on the scene were prevented from taking photographs and threatened by CDC supporters. The incident was further dampened by fears within the party hierarchy that Weah has sold out to the ruling UP and was masterminding disruption within the party to dampen its chances in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
Complicating matters are report that Doe-Sheriff’s husband, is being accused of being a partisan of the ruling Unity Party. On the party grounds Monday, supporters also showed concerns over multiple media reports that Weah had demanded the resignation of both Doe-Sheriff and Gray.
No intentions to Resign, Gray says
Both Gray and the wife of Standard Bearer Winston Tubman, moved in to calm the angry partisans and supporters who were disturbed by the news. “We have no intention to resign”, Gray said amidst cheers from eager partisans who had circled him and their expected First Lady.
Gray told his fellow partisans that there has been no unilateral decision by anyone and that only the party’s National Executive Committee can handle such decisions.
Monday’s mounting concern among the partisans were heightened following a reliable hint to FrontPageAfrica that Ambassadors Tubman and Weah had called for both the Chairman of the party, Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Gray to step down from their positions-an incidence that has s been met with stiff residence.
Both Gray and Doe-Sheriff were reportedly asked by the party’s standard bearer and vice standard bearer because of their political intentions. Doe-Sheriff is currently the junior Senator for Montserrador County while Gray is seeking the District # 8 Representative seat currently occupied by Rufus Neufville, another internally embattled CDC lawmaker.
Though Weah is yet to confirm or deny the report, Standard Bearer Tubman told FPA over the weekend that the report is untrue: “I didn’t announce that and I as the Standard Bearer of this party has not said so…..My vice standard bearer has not discussed that with me.” Tubman however acknowledged that there are no electoral bylines which prohibit one executive from holding two posts: “Obviously not, that has been happening over the past years.”
Sources hinted to FrontPageAfrica early Saturday morning that the saga intensified Friday when Lewis Karmo, Chaplain General of the CDC was threatened with suspension after he accused Weah, in an Executive meeting of trying to sell the party to the ruling Unity Party in the upcoming presidential elections.
Members of the CDC’s National Elected Executive Committee said to be the highest decision-making body of the party in the absence of national congress immediately following the news report released its side to the saga, “resisting any internal request for the resignation of any of its member and at the same time denouncing any unilateral decision to suspend or expel any of its member”.
“We hereby endorse Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, Hon. Thomas P. Fallah of District #5 and Acarous Gray of District # 8, all of Montserrado County as consensus candidates for the seat of Senator and Montserrado County as consensus candidates for the seat of senator and representatives respectively and at the same time instruct all county chairmen and district coordinators to within 72 hours liaise with the national legislative committee and the national executive committee of the party to recommend all incumbent lawmakers and aspirants in good standing as consensus candidates in keeping with the constitution of the Congress for Democratic Change”, the release continued.
Members of the Committee agreed to invite their Standard and Vice Standard Bearers to what they termed as an emergency national elected executive committee meeting “so as to resolve issues of burning national concerns” and “have primaries for all legislative aspirants where necessary before the 8th of August 2011”.
As this story went to press, a high-powered meeting attended by county chairs from ten CDC districts, was convened at the home of standard bearer, Tubman in Congotown to find a solution to the whirlwind in the Weah’s grass root movement. Doe-Sheriff, according to a source who was at the meeting, was reportedly drowning in tears, as she lamented that “her life is not safe”.
“Mr. Weah instructed the former combatants not to allow any party executive to enter the party grounds and they should get at Geraldine and Gray at all cost,” said a senior CDC executive who pleaded for anonymity for this report.
On the heels of a crucial elections in the post-war nation, political observers are bracing for yet-another political football play by Weah. Having previously given Tubman and Brumskine the shuffle, Weah appears set to break his recent marriage with Tubman just when the party which won the first round in the 2005 presidential race appeared set for resurrection following its recent massive rally in Monrovia which shut down the city.
Weah, who is said to be in Accra, Ghana is due in Monrovia Tuesday. FrontPageAfrica has been unable to get a response from the football legend-turned politician over the latest whirlwind echoing over the movement he inspired in 2004. As political observers ponder what is going on within the CDC, the complications of the impact on the upcoming presidential race appears headed to a somewhat predictable conclusion as virtually all the opposition camps have been shattered.
Liberty Party which survived the break-up with Weah may now be the only stable political force to put up a fight. But like the ruling party, Charles Brumskine’s political movement too is struggling to raise the financial capital to put up a strong fight. Prince Johnson, whose National Union for Democratic Progress has also fallen prey to disruption, has been out of circulation for sometime amid concerns about his health.
Blame Weah, FPA Reader says
Make no mistake, the Weah and CDC ongoing squabbles will rattle the political playing field. It remains to be seen whether the CDC and Weah can right the ship before it sinks and if that becomes an impossibility, what would become of former first lady Jewel Howard-Taylor and Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party who are involved in the final stages of negotiations to partner with CDC. Would they head Brumskine’s way? Or throw their weight behind the ruling party as Samuel Doe’s National Democratic Party of Liberia?
Amid the controversy some are already laying the blame on the opposition disintegration on the ruling party. While others say the blame shift is unfair. As one FrontPageAfrica online reader put it Monday: “Politics is a game of interest. A house divided cannot stand. Why blame UP for any arrogances or mistrust/misstep whatever name you call it in CDC or whichever party. CDC should blame Weah for his hegemony in the party. It is my prayer that all these young chaps in the streets of Monrovia will open their eyes to see the truth. Weah is not capable of leading a party not to talk about a nation
As the clock ticks toward the presidential and legislative races, one thing remains certain, the unpredictability of this year’s elections continues to draw intrigues with a lot of missteps from all sides and a ruling party determine to use everything in its power to hold on to power.
Weah’s CDC seen as the grass root movement with the numbers to lead the charge is in tatters. So too is the opposition struggling financially to make waves. What happens in the coming days would most likely decide how the race is won amid a tide of uncertainty and a sea of unpredictable conclusions. Stay tuned!