In Liberia, the National Secretary General of football legend George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party told VOA he has no plans, for now, to join President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Unity Party or the opposition Liberty Party of Charles Brumskine.
Eugene Nagbe resigned his post and membership in the CDC this week because he said the extremes had taken control of the party and were steering it down an errant path.
“Like I said in my letter, there has been an epic battle within the party among the various ideologies, but I realized that those who believe that the CDC should be a group that is intolerant of the diversity of views have gained the upper hand and have effectively taken over the party. So, I thought that I could not effectively operate in such a space, so I decided to call it quits,” he said.
Nagbe said, while a number of things have been happening within the CDC, the dispute over whether to merge with the Liberty Party was probably the final nail in the coffin.
“It’s not just one single incident; it is the general trend of the strategic direction that the party is taking. But, regarding the attempt to merge with Liberty Party, we, through our Executive Committee, set up an exploratory committee to work with a like committee from the Liberty, and the two committees have been meeting, and we were drafting the details of the articles of the merger. Now, while we were at this, some of the very people who were on this committee went and wrote a petition to Mr. Weah to contest. I thought this was not a show of good faith, and it was a de facto withdrawal from the talks,” Nagbe said.
There is speculation within the CDC that Nagbe, who traveled with President Sirleaf on one of her trips to the United States last year, might have resigned to join the ruling Unity Party.
Nagbe blamed the speculation on what he called a culture of intolerance in Liberia.
“There is a rogue culture in Liberia, a culture of intolerance. I have traveled with the President, that was months ago. Why didn’t I resign then? My reasons for resigning are so clear and those reasons are contained in my letter. Right now, in Monrovia, I have received calls; people are putting me in a lot of parties. So, I calculated that there will be this outcry, but my decision is an honorable (one),” Nagbe said.
Nagbe would not say directly whether he was one of the CDC officials negotiating a merger with the Liberty Party and who had suggested Weah run as a vice presidential candidate to Brumskine.
“I work within the confines of an institution. My issue is that the executive committee of the CDC started to engage the Liberty Party in merger discussions. If there was a decision to withdraw from those discussions, there is a formal way to do that. We hadn’t even gotten to the point of who should be number one or number two during the discussion. My view is not different from the view of the CDC national executive committee that we should consider all our options in trying to forge a united opposition. And, that has always been my issue until some of those who have extreme views have managed to thwart the effort of the CDC to engage, in a positive way, with other political parties,” he said.
Nagbe said, since his resignation, he has spoken with Weah and asked him to rescind his resignation. But, Nagbe said he told Weah that he would not rescind his decision to resign from the party.