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Liberia’s Weah: CDC Strategizing for Next Election

  • James Butty

George Weah in Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 5, 2011.

George Weah in Monrovia, Liberia, Nov. 5, 2011.

Liberian football legend and politician George Oppong Weah says his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party remains committed to the fight for political and economic changes that will bring about improvement in the quality of life for all Liberians.

But he said corruption, nepotism and elitism continue to deprive Liberians of the quality of life they deserve.

Weah, who celebrates his 46th birthday Monday, thanked his supporters and said his party is re-strategizing for the next election.

“I would like to first all thank God for His many blessings and kindness toward me and my family," he said. "I also want to extend thanks and appreciation to my fans and friends, my political institution, the mighty Congress for Democratic Change and the Liberian for all the love and support given me throughout these years. Let me use this occasion again to remind the Liberian people that we are still in the political vanguard and are still striving to bring about those changes that will improve the quality for the masses of our people.”

Weah, who ran for president in 2005 and was his party’s vice- presidential candidate in 2011, would not confirm or deny rumors that he is considering running for a senate seat. He would only say that his party is re-strategizing for the next election.

“First of all, my political institution, we have our strategy. I think we are going to re-strategize to make sure that we go for the 2014 election, to bring people that can win those positions. You know that for these positions you have to go through a primary. But for now, I can’t say anything more than what I can tell you,” Weah said.

There have been dissentions recently within the CDC resulting in the defection of some staunch members, including Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.

Weah said the CDC, like all political institutions, is governed by its own rules and that no member is above what he called the “norms” of the party.

“First of all, when I was vice-presidential candidate, Geraldine [Doe-Sheriff] went against the norms of the party and our leader at the time, Winston Tubman felt that the statement was reckless. They took it to the Executive Committee and based on their findings, Geraldine was expelled from the party,” Weah said.

He said another member, Horatio Gould, a former chairman of the CDC was impeached due to what Weah called malfeasant, taking $25,000 of the party’s money.

“The laws are there. Anybody who does these acts in our political party, we can’t be claiming that the Ellen government is corrupt and then we promote corruption. And there are rules and guidelines to primaries, and he was not qualified to go to the primary. Based on that he decided to go his own way to form an alternative Congress for Democratic Change,” Weah said.

Weah denied he has been too controlling when it comes to who should hold the party’s top posts. He said the purpose of the CDC is not to alienate or marginalize people. Rather, Weah said the purpose of the CDC is to serve as an organization where all Liberians can come together and make their country a beautiful place.

“I cannot take CDC for my personal party because if I have done that, Counselor Winston Tubman would not have run as a presidential candidate for the CDC. I would have hijacked the position. But it shows that I’m not that person that they are talking about. I’m a peaceful person. I believe in giving people a chance. So those who have left the CDC because of their own personal reasons, they need to check themselves because the best thing to do if you err is to have character and say that you have erred,” Weah said.

Weah described as immoral and careless comments recently attributed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf about the 2005 presidential election.

Speaking recently in Harlem, New York City, President Sirleaf reportedly said that women who voted for in the 2005 election had told her that they took away their children’s voting cards because if they did not do so, those children would have voted for a younger candidate.

Weah was the presidential candidate for the CDC and went into the runoff election against then candidate Johnson Sirleaf.

“The only thing I can say about that comment coming from the President is that it is immoral and careless. But I’m not surprised because the CDC highlighted this in 2005 and 2011. It undermines the peace and stability and it is a total disregard for our democratic environment that we strive to develop and maintain in Liberia. But again, Liberians must move forward and use this admission of guilt by Madam Sirleaf to rebuild our electoral process and continue to support the reforms suggested by a consortium of political parties,” he said.

Weah said if democracy is to be sustained in Liberia, political parties must get public funding.

“You know a lot of people criticize [the idea of] public funding of political parties. But who are the public? Political fans and sympathizers are the public. They pay their taxes. But I think it is important that we pass that into law to give the political parties the independence to sustain their parties so when it comes to elections, there will not be those situations where the chairmen will accusing their members of going to another party because they took bribes and all that. We need to stop that because that’s electoral fraud,” Weah said.