In Liberia, the leader of the opposition Liberty Party says he is not being courted by Vice President Joseph Boakai as a possible running mate in the 2017 presidential election.
Boakai was nominated this month by the ruling Unity Party to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Brumskine wants Unity Party power to end
The Liberty Party's Charles Brumskine, who competed and lost the last two presidential elections, says he and other opposition parties look forward to changing the leadership of Liberia from the Unity Party to an opposition party, hopefully his party. Brumskine says he’s willing to work with other parties to come up with a united ticket against the ruling party.
“There’s no way that as an opposition political party we will be associated with the ruling party in the 2017 election. It’s simply rumors, and as has been in the past, the tactics of the Unity Party trying to distract the voters from the real issues. Let me make unequivocally clear, we’re not associated with the ruling party; we’re not going to run on the same ticket. We look forward to changing leadership from the ruling party to an opposition party, hopefully led by the Liberty Party,” he said.
It had also been rumored that Brumskine would team up with Liberian football legend George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change.
Both Weah and Brumskine contested the 2005 and 2011 presidential elections individually and lost to President Sirleaf.
Brumskine will cooperate with other parties
Brumskine says he’s willing to put aside his own presidential aspiration to work with other parties to come up with a united ticket against the ruling party.
“We hope very much that we will be able to build an opposition coalition to oppose the ruling party,” Brumskine said.
He said he first proposed this opposition coalition at his party’s special convention in the city of Voinjama a year ago.
"I put forth an olive branch to all opposition parties. I said to them let us follow the example of Nigeria and let us get together, sit in a room. I’m prepared to walk out of that room, not having my personal goals accomplished as long as we come out with a ticket that the Liberian people will respect, will vote for to ensure that Unity Party does not perpetuate itself in power,” Brumskine said.
Brumskine blames himself for losing previous elections
Brumskine said he lost the elections of 2005 and 2011 because he did not effectively articulate what his party stands for.
“The failure of Liberty Party the last two times around I attribute to myself because we have, as a political party, the best national agenda, the best vision for our country. I have not effectively communicated it to the Liberian people over the past two elections,” Brumskine said.
He said the party’s platform is based on four strategic principles called the 4Rs – reconciliation, reform, rebuild, and recovery.
“Everything we want to do to change the direction of this country and for the good of our people and to build on the foundation that President Sirleaf has laid will be found in one of the 4Rs,” he said.
Corruption in Liberia must end
Brumskine said he does not want to politicize the Global Witness corruption report. But he hopes the investigation will go further to include past General Auditing Commission reports that are not currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission or prosecuted by the Justice Ministry.
“My suggestion, however it will be, that the fight against corruption does stop with the Global Witness report. As you know, corruption deprives the average Liberian of the schools they should have for their children. So, we must all join in the fight against corruption and make sure that we move this country to different level,” he said.
The London-based Global Witness alleged in a report released in May this is year that over $950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made to top Liberian officials by the Britain-based Sable Mining company and its Liberian lawyer, Varney Sherman.
According to the report, Sable Mining wanted to get the concession rights to Liberia’s Wologizi Iron ore. Sherman allegedly told the company that in order to get the contract, Sable Mining must first offer bribes to senior officials to change Liberia’s concession laws.
Sherman and former Speaker of the Liberian Legislature Alex Tyler have both been indicted and are awaiting trial.