In Liberia, George Weah says his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party is ready to work with other opposition parties to put together a single slate of candidates that would challenge President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the 2011 general elections.
In a statement, Weah said he believes only a united opposition can defeat the ruling Unity Party and reverse what he called a one-party political system.
It had been reported in some local Liberian media that Weah had agreed to serve as a vice presidential candidate to Counselor Charles Brumskine of the opposition Liberty Party.
But, Eugene Nagbe, national secretary general of the CDC party, told VOA that Weah has left all options for a united opposition ticket open.
“He has committed himself to doing everything possible to ensure that the opposition provides a united ticket, and he has said also that to achieve this, all of the options are on the table,” he said.
Nagbe said Weah has set up an exploratory committee to begin immediate consultations with all opposition parties on how best they can come together for victory in 2011.
“This is why we have designated an exploratory team, a negotiating team headed by Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, our chairman to consider all of these options, and we are saying that there is no option that is not on the table. We are determined to ensure that this happens,” Nagbe said.
Merging or consolidating their various interests had been a daunting task for the Liberian political opposition in the past.
Nagbe said Weah believes only a strong opposition can prevent what he called President Sirleaf’s “overt attempt to create a one-party state”.
He said negotiations for a united opposition ticket had been ongoing with various opposition parties.
“We have had several conversations with the Liberty Party and with other political actors. This is not all of a sudden. This is a result of a deliberate and constructive engagement with all members of the opposition,” Nagbe said.
In his statement, Weah said he was convinced that only the unity of the opposition was the best course of reversing “the slide into elitism.”
Nagbe said Weah was referring to how a small group of people has been amassing wealth in Liberia at the expense of the majority.
“Well, if you notice in Liberia nowadays a very small group of people are amassing wealth at the expense of the majority. The elite are the ones benefiting from the natural resources of our country. And, this is what Mr. Weah is referring to. This is the change that he wants to effect so that that doesn’t get perpetuated,” Nagbe said.
In a statement from Monrovia, Charles Brumskine of the Liberty Party welcomed Weah’s offer of an opposition unity.
“But, I hasten to add that this is not, and cannot be, about Weah and Brumskine but, instead, a singular opportunity in the history of our country, a time for every member of the opposition political community to come together, and finally make possible a transition to constitutional democracy,” Brumskine said