News / Africa

Liberia’s CDC Discusses Institutional Building and Reconciliation

CDC-USA Institutional Building Panel
CDC-USA Institutional Building Panel
James Butty
Liberia’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), considered the country’s main opposition political party, has lost the last two presidential elections. 

It has been criticized as lacking the support of many of the country’s professionals and intelligentsia.  CDC founder George Weah told VOA recently the party has begun strategizing for the 2014 senatorial election and the 2017 presidential election. 

Over the weekend, the CDC-USA branch held a consultative forum to mark the inauguration of its officers. 

The topic of the forum was Institutional-Building through Reconciliation.”  Arthur Watson, former president of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, told the forum that Liberia needs institutions that are transparent, efficient, and void of nepotism and corruption.

“When we build institutions and ensure that everyone operates within the framework of those institutions, we prevent conflict in our country.  When our legal institutions are strong and not beholding to any one person, not even the president of the nation, each person will play by the same rules and be accountable and held to the same standards.  Our people will feel safer because they will have equal access to due process under the law,” Watson said.

Another speaker, Abraham Massaley, called for a strong and effective national legislature.  He criticized the legislature as weak and ineffective.

Massaley proposed that the best way to make legislators accountable is to elect senators every six years, instead of every nine years.

CDC Institutional Building Forum
CDC Institutional Building Forumi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

“The term of office for senators and representatives needs to be short enough to maintain an accountable link with the voters," he said. "Obviously, electing senators for nine years imposes very minimum responsibility on them to account to voters.  The more frequent our senators and representatives can face the voters, the more accountable they will be."

“Anyone who has read the recent FrontPage Africa article about increment in legislative salaries and benefits totaling more than $10,000 per month per legislator will agree with me that it is far too costly to maintain an unproductive senator in office for nine years than to hold elections to replace such a senator.  This is why I call on the CDC to lead the opposition to campaign vigorously for constitutional reform before, or during, the 2014 senatorial election,” Massaley said.

Samuel Tweah, former national chairman of CDC-USA, said institutional building is paramount to the CDC having lost two presidential elections.

He said the CDC should not just criticize the current government.  Instead, it must offer itself as the alternative.

“Any strategy in the CDC that focuses on [President] Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is not seeking re-election, is fundamentally unsound and flawed.  We need to show how we will be different from her,” he said.

Tweah said the CDC decided to launch its institutionalization campaign because the party realizes that no political party in Liberia can win an election if that party is overwhelmingly rejected by the country’s intelligentsia.

He said the CDC has also begun to address the concerns of some in the international community who have wondered whether the CDC, as the largest opposition party in Liberia, can govern.

“They have a stake; they’re spending a lot of money and so they want to understand the fundamental question: Can the CDC govern?  Can we trust the future of Liberia with the Congress for Democratic Change?  Can it marshall the capability to deliver outcomes that are sustainable economically and politically. That question, I would say, the CDC is beginning to address,” Tweah said.

There have been dissensions recently within the CDC resulting in the defection of some staunch members.

Massaley called on the CDC to first begin to reconcile itself, as it attempts to lead the way for national reconciliation. 

“There are no permanent enemies in politics.  In any large organization, such as the CDC, there will always be the struggle for competing ideas and interests.  But, in the end, the interest of the party must be the rallying point for party unity.  However, I am not implying that betrayal of the party interest be swept under the bus,” Massaley said.

Former member of Liberia’s disbanded Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Massa Washington, called for reconciliation through legal, economic and social justice. 

She called on the government to implement recommendations of various national commissions, including the TRC that called for accountability for gross human rights violations.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: henry wallace from: toronto
October 15, 2012 8:47 AM
CDC cannot be taken seriously by turning a blind eye to the diaspora in the north. CDC needs a strategy to align Liberians across North America. The CDC-USA trajectory has many shortcomings and may not be sustainable strategy for harnessing ideas and resources across North America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs