Liberia: The Quest for Change in Our Election – What Is the Change, and How Will It Come?

When campaigning intensified before the October 10 poll, some of our contesting political parties had the word “Change” in common.

The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Liberty Party (LP), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) were all driving towards change as inscriptions on billboards could show.

This political slogan ‘Change’ is now the CDC’s key word and concept as it prepares for the runoff with the ruling Unity Party.

The slogan has spread like wildfire and is on the lips of many young and old, who are using it as their rallying cry on the streets.

The CDC presidential candidate, George Weah, during his recent visit to Nimba County, was quoted by our Correspondent Ishmael Menkor as saying that Liberians had given the UP led-government of Vice President Joseph Boakai 12 years to do something, but UP “achieved nothing.”

Weah was quoted as having said, “It is now time for the UP-led government to be retired by the Coalition for Democratic Change.”

The views about change in the current electoral conversation are expressed in two forms– party’s view and public view.

The CDC has persistently and consistently emphasized that there should be change, and that CDC is the best party to bring the change.

What we are yet to understand from these campaigners for change is: What change, and how will it come?

We vividly recall Senator Prince Johnson declaring as recently as September 25 that “If George Weah becomes President of Liberia, we will back to war.”

Members of the CDC, meanwhile, have always referred to the same Prince Johnson as a “killer” who fought a war and killed a “sitting President.”

Now that he has endorsed George Weah, he is today being billed a good man.

It is also interesting to note that a number of stalwarts of the ruling Unity Party (UP) have now defected and joined the CDC. Some of them are Gbehzohngar Findley, Gayeway Togar McKintosh, and former Speaker Alex Tyler.

It is widely speculated that even President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whom the UP twice successfully carried as its standard bearer to the presidency, and not her only, but also her beloved son, Robert Sirleaf, have abandoned UP and have now switched to CDC.

If these senior UP executives who lambasted CDC in past years and whom CDC in turn accused of systemic corruption, mismanagement and administrative failure over the past twelve years can now surface in CDC in this election season, what change can Liberia then expect from these same people?

When Gbehzohngar Findley joined the CDC, he was described by Weah as an “astute” Liberian who has served his country with distinction. But Findley and other UP lawmakers are the same ones whom the opposition, including CDC, in the past accused of making bad laws and corrupting the country.

So, how can the much-publicized change come through the same people who have been accused of acts for which change is urgently necessary?

We also wonder what is the change that is to come?

When speaking of change, a lot of meanings come to mind: to make different; to cause to pass from one state to another; to substitute; to make different in appearance among others.

We believe that Senator George Weah, whose CDC is contesting the presidency for the third consecutive time, must have some concrete ideas of the change he plans to bring to Liberia. What the Liberian people are craving for now is a clear definition of the change candidate Weah intends to bring to Liberia.

As we fast approach the November 7 runoff, we are sure that Senator Weah and his supporters will come forward and explain to the Liberian people what change the party has been talking about, some details that the change embodies and even more critically, HOW the party and the new administration it seeks to institute will implement that change.

We pause for a response.

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