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Liberia’s Main Opposition Leader Retires from Politics

Winston Tubman’s retirement Monday came days after the Congress for Democratic Change Party said it had expelled him

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James Butty

In Liberia, the presidential candidate for the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party, the man who came in second place in the first round of the 2011 presidential election, has announced his retirement from politics.

In a statement issued Monday, Winston Tubman said he was retiring to advert “threatening devastating divisions” within the ranks of the party and to give way to George Weah to assume the position of CDC political leader.

Tubman’s announcement comes few days after the CDC said it had expelled him as standard bearer. The party accused Tubman of involvement in “organized factional activity”.

Acarous Gray, national secretary-general of the CDC, said Tubman’s expulsion is in line with an agreement Tubman signed promising to relinquish his post as CDC standard bearer 30 days after the 2011 general elections.

“The partisans and leadership of the mighty Congress for Democratic Change expected this to have happened because the process leading to Ambassador Tubman becoming the standard bearer for the CDC was that after the election he was going to step down as standard bearer. So at this point in time for him to retire from politics is not a surprise to members of the CDC,” he said.

Mr. Gray also said the CDC acted to remove Mr. Tubman as party leader because he was involved in “organized factional activity and analogous counterproductive and outlawed undertakings” that are disallowed under Article 5 of the CDC constitution.

He also said Mr. Tubman appeared to be backing away from honoring the commitment he made to the party.

“Basically, the question of expulsion from the party comes about when people begin to create instability within the rank-and-file of the party. Besides, Ambassador Tubman began to back away from the political commitment he made to the CDC before the 2011 presidential election. So the institution was left with no option but to take the action that we took,” Gray said.

Mr. Gray said the CDC would have still demanded for Mr. Tubman to step down as CDC political leader even if Tubman had won the 2011 election as president of Liberia.

“It was not that he was going to step down as president had he won. He was just going to step down as standard bearer to create the atmosphere for a new breed of people to lead the CDC,” Gray said.

In his statement, Mr. Tubman said he was retiring from politics with a heart full of love, peace and gratitude for the CDC.

“We must seize the opportunity, now in front of us, to reorganize, restructure, stabilize and institutionalize the CDC, so as to prepare fit for assuming state power in the near future,” Tubman said.

Mr. Tubman said he believes the CDC will come to power in the 2017 election in Liberia. But he cautioned the party to assure harmony, unity and peace with its ranks.

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