FERTILIZING AFRICA’S DEMOCRACY- A DEEP LOOK INTO PRESIDENT GEORGE MANNEH WEAH CONCESSION BY D. WA HNE, JR.

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Africa is a continent with long controversial history. Some authors described Africa as the “Dark Continent”, while others claimed that Africa was the Cradle of Civilization. These descriptions have been debated and formed the basis of many books written today. While we detest demeaning accounts on Africa, it is notable that Africa has not been very helpful to debunk racially inspired demeaning accounts. Our attitudes towards governance and the serial disruptions of democratic systems by the military and followed by leaders oppressive rule and refusal to leave power peacefully have laid solid foundations to upholding discriminative judgment and un-affable conclusions about Africa, especially its large failures in transforming the lives of Africans and upholding democratic tenets. In 2018, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf set a record of peaceful transition after completing two terms of office. However, and though, it was Liberia’s first democratic transition in roughly 74 years, it was not a transition emanating from stiff neck to neck contestation between the incumbent and the winner as it was under the Weah’s stewardship. As the world went into praises for the Sirleaf’s administration, all attention was focused on what would obtain in the next six years. There were lots of negative predictions. Some predicted war. The major question was: Would President Weah’s CDC give up power to the opposition in a democratic elections easily? Would he abstain from using incumbency powers to rig the elections to maintain power, especially giving the fact that the opposition had him under constant threat of prosecution and persecution? For six years the vibration of potential conflict sent signals and dark clouds over Liberia’s political environment which suggested that once again Liberia would be saddled with conflagrating eruptions that would cause Liberians to flee their country once more. During the just ended campaign, the signals became stronger that there would be a civil war if the elections were declared in favor of the incumbent. The opposition UP had a fixed mind that any outcome that did not pronounced UP as winner was rigged and that would be the “end of Liberia”. Several pronouncements made could not be ignored as innocent threats. The international community sent out cautions as Liberia’s democracy was metamorphosing into violence and bloodshed. The nation stood still and tense as the National Elections Commission read the results from the polling stations. CDC was confident that it had already won the elections drawing from their analysis of tally sheets. The UP was also confident of being the next government from their own analysis. This brought the nation in memory of what preceded the 1990 civil war after the 1985 Presidential and General Elections.

Crisis was indeed loading and many Liberians were preparing to leave the country in advance. The nation and people needed a rescue. There were clear cut indications that In whatever direction the elections went, crisis was eminent and it would take statesmanship to save or rescue Liberia from potential disintegration and devastating collision. On the night of November 17, 2023, President Weah, ahead of the conclusion of the electoral process, conceded defeat to opposition leader Joseph Boakai. His concession did not take the usual process of consultations, evaluation of the results, taking advantage of the 30 days period set in the elections law to forward grievances as well as other measures prescribed. Many wondered why the haste. Though the National Elections Commission upheld his concession announcement, the CDC was flabbergasted with many supporters agitated, down hearted, and eyes flowing with tears. How did this come to pass? Those around the President such as Samuel Tweah, Eugene Nagbe, Kolassko and handlers of decisions-making assured the President and partisans that all were favorable and even sent messages for victory celebration. Their assurances which created hope turned out to be misleading and embarrassing to the President. Where and how did they arrived at their conclusions? Did they know the true outcome and hid it from the President?  Did these guys actually wanted the President to win? Did they know CDC had lost and counted on the President to rig? Sources revealed that the UP was most sophisticated and had put in place a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence Application that invaded IT systems and personal phones and were able to gain entry into the Database of the NEC.. Sources also claimed that CDC observers at the counting center were always outside in discussions while counting was going on.. They paved the way for the outcome CDC has today.. Nevertheless, since UP won the elections, there has been an unusual calm that has descended on the nation. While nations of the world are hailing President George Manneh Weah for fertilizing Africa’s democracy, CDCians and supporters are of the conviction that President George Manneh Weah did not lose the elections, but that the President conceded hastily. In fact they believe the President was wrongly advised by people of questionable motives. While they claimed to have all pieces of evidence that the elections were stolen, one great thing has happened to the benefit of all Liberians and that is the disappearance of tension, war drums, fear, dark clouds and danger over the peace and stability of Liberia. President Weah may have appeared to be deliberate in his actions that will account for many of his officials and supporters losing their incomes and becoming vulnerable to the next actors, yet he has a strong argument that his officials assigned to the process did not protect the votes cast for the CDC. He is also convinced that CDC fought against itself. Though the President lost the elections, his decision to concede early has led Liberia to top Africa and third world countries as the most valued and flourishing democracy. President Weah’s records of peace, harmony, and democracy cannot be surpassed. He deserves a Nobel Peace Award for saving Liberia’s democracy and promoting peaceful co-existence at his own peril. He sacrificed for Liberia-a country he loves so much. He demonstrated statesmanship where it mattered most.

   PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL

Knowledgeable CDCians won’t hesitate to say that the arrogance, pride, inaccessibility, greed and power-showing of handlers of the campaign process, decisions, resources, and proven insensitivity of endangering the President chance for victory have contributed to the victory of the Unity Party. The manner in which the campaign technicians structured the campaign did not give much prospects for victory. Political Parties were not involved in decisions and there was not a single Executive Meeting or Governing Council meeting to evaluate the process. Political parties within the Coalition existed as nonentities. They were completely side-lined, starved with funds and disrespected in preference to auxiliaries. From the onset, the primaries did lack transparency which led to breakaways of major political assets. Political parties within the Coalition felt left out in the entire process. Determination of who becomes a candidate was shrouded with secrecy. Liberia People Democratic Party was at a complete loss in the Legislative primaries and as it stands today, only one candidate succeeded. Internal manipulations and double dealings on the campaign trail became common practice. Opposition candidates were placed against Coalition candidate by Coalition officials. In Lofa County and Maryland County, high profile officials of the CDC Government are named to have allegedly supported opposition candidates that have caused CDC candidates votes to be exchanged for Opposition candidates through fraudulent means and cash violence. These unfortunate events are allegedly being placed at the doorsteps of Minister Samuel Tweah and Deputy Speaker Fonati Kofa. Two of such cases are being investigated by the National Elections Commission. Currently there are pocket discussions within top circles alleging that indeed Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Deputy Speaker, Fonati Koffa played key roles in supporting opposition candidates, some of whom ran against Hon. Moses Kollie and Dr.. Bhofal Chambers. While I hold these men in high esteem and cannot be categorical or implicit that they could do such, conspiracy theories abound that seems to make sense. For example,  Deputy Speaker Koffa is seeking the Speakership and throws blind eyes to the outcry of his partisan Dr. Bhofal Chambers who is in pursuit of justice. Anyone can deduce from this scenario that the battle Chambers is fighting was allegedly orchestrated by him. In order for Koffa to become Speaker, Speaker Chambers must first cease to be representative. Both men are from the Coalition of Democratic Change. On the other hand, there are lots of questions being asked in the CDC circles concerning the early concession of the President. Some partisans are claiming that an inner advisor was responsible. Again the Deputy Speaker name is showcasing… But the President’s own statement debunked any involvement of key advisors. He did what he had to do to save the State. Conspiracy theorists believe that Koffa is playing all his cards no matter who is put down because he knows it would not be acceptable that the President, Speaker and President ProTempore of the Senate come from the same county. If this makes it impossibility for him to succeed, then it is safe to conclude that elimination strategy was employed. This theory could mean that the President’s concession and the controversial victory of Anthony Williams paved the way for Koffa to some extent. It also means that the battle has not yet ended. If there is certainly an elimination strategy,  the battle would now be between President ProTempore Albert Chea and Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa, both from Grand Kru County. One must be put down for the other to succeed. It is also presumed that Minister Samuel Tweah has ambition to contest the 2029 elections on the CDC Ticket. Could it be a strategy that the President had to give way now for Tweah to succeed in 2029? Politics is deep and ambition can be uncompromising and dirty. Minister Tweah is very rich according to most Liberians and could easily manipulate his way to the Standard Bearership of the CDC. While it is yet bleak, time will surely tell. However one cannot cry more than  the bereaved. They are all the President‘s trusted friends As the President stated at the church service, CDCians transgressed against themselves and fought against themselves. I do agree with him. In the process, they opened the doors of victory for UP. It was an elaborate game – a game which gave supremacy to auxiliaries over political parties. In other words, the game funded the opposition in the name of auxiliaries and rejected the Coalition of nine political parties. Those who played the game are rich and have nothing to lose. It is the common man, the common partisan and those who depended on their monthly salaries that are the big losers. This is a disastrous outcome. However, the journey ahead might not be smooth. The opposition introduced new politics that Liberians have perfected. That politics is, don’t give a seating government a single breathing space.  From inauguration, assert persistent pressure until the end of the tenure. I predict that there would be more demonstrations and protests than what President Weah  ever experiencedIn conclusion, the  incoming administration needs to beware of extremists in their midst who seek ways to divide this nation and slow the incoming government gains. A good leader would take consideration of the victor-loser margin which is about 1% and settle for policies and actions that would promote national reconciliation and unity through inclusions rather than witch hunting.

 

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