Monrovia — Opinion | By Catherine K Conteh
As Liberian gears up for the upcoming elections in October, the stage is set for a political showdown that highlights the stark challenges faceby opposition parties in their bid to unseat the incumbent President, George Manneh Weah.
Amidst a landscape dominated by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), questions arise about the financial struggles experienced by opposition groups and their ability to effectively campaign.
In a cityscape adorned with CDC campaign materials, the ruling party exhibits a strong presence across Monrovia. Meanwhile, smaller parties and third-tier candidates struggle to make a mark, leaving political observers pondering whether President Weah is poised for an unchallenged second term.
A Campaign of Resources:
The pivotal role of resources in successful campaigns is evident, with exceptions existing across the African continent. In recent history, incumbent Presidents rarely faced defeat, but instances in Ghana, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast demonstrate that change is possible.
The CDC’s heightened visibility, according to critics, is attributed to its utilization of state resources, potentially drawing funds from development allocations.
The Political Landscape:
Despite the challenges faced by opposition parties, the CDC credits its initial campaign success to meticulous organization and strategic preparation. Mr. Mulbah Morlu, chair of the party, emphasizes the CDC’s evolution into a formidable political institution over its 18 years of existence.
He lauds the party’s focused and coordinated campaign structure, coupled with President Weah’s experience and charismatic appeal to the masses.
Mo Ali, former Secretary General of the Unity Party, echoes the sentiment that CDC’s campaign visibility stems from its use of state funds.
He highlights the party’s dependence on funds from state coffers, intended for developmental purposes, to finance its campaign efforts.
While the CDC boasts political visibility, opposition parties face an uphill battle due to resource constraints. Mr. George Wisner, campaign chair for Montserrado County of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), emphasizes the pragmatic approach of the opposition in allocating limited resources judiciously, adding that the CPP seeks to make a compelling case directly to the Liberian people, aiming to connect on a personal level.
The Incumbent’s Plea:
President Weah emphasizes the achievements of his six-year term and calls on Liberians to grant him a second term for continued progress. He invites comparisons with his predecessor’s tenure and is confident in his capacity to deliver a favorable outcome for Liberia.
The Road Ahead:
As Liberia navigates the final stretch of the campaign season, the political landscape remains complex. While President Weah’s edge as an incumbent may provide an advantage, historical experiences from neighboring countries suggest that a change in leadership is within the realm of possibility.
The outcome of the October elections will undoubtedly shape Liberia’s future and offer insights into the dynamics of democracy in the region.