MONROVIA—On Tuesday, Liberian progressives announced they were ready to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, stating the next president will come from the ranks of the organization. “Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the Progressive will take state power in 2017; the progressive will win the elections!” Sando Wayne, Spokesperson of the Progressive Coordinating Group said.
Wayne said, the progressives will not be fragmented and would form a common front for the Presidency. “We the progressives have changed our strategy; we have begun to work against what we know could ultimately divide our rank and file and dash our hopes into despair,” Wayne added. “We the Progressives will form a ring of fire around the entire Progressives to keep everyone inside and go through the 2017 elections together,” Wayne continued.
Wayne said the uncertainty of the presidency will be settled within twenty nine months, adding that the group is aware of the stress the election will have on all progressives. The progressives named corruption, bad governance, unemployment and a messy educational system as vices in the current government that need to be corrected.
Wayne said, after twelve years since the end of the civil war and return to democratic rule in Liberia the situation in the country is still “precarious”. “There is an endemic proportion of corruption in high places compared to the past; the educational proportion of corruption in high places compared to the past, the education is a “Mess”, Wayne said.
He continued “Sixty-two percent of Liberian youths are enrolled in school ahead of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Rwanda yet eight-two percent never complete twelfth grade; the state of impunity continues to undermine peace building, national healing and reconciliation”. Wayne said with the increased in economic activities in Liberia, it is painful to note that the government has not balance their budget for the last three years.
“Poverty remains pervasive, particularly among the youth, who comprise 70 percent of the under 35 population and 88 percent of the unemployed,” Wayne said. The Progressives spokesperson averred that eight percent of Liberians are living on less than US$1.00 a day while the government spent 280 million USD on public relations without legislative approval as required by law.
[Liberia]“We’ve secured US$19 billion in Foreign Direct Investment from sixty-eighty concession agreements, but only two meets international standards,” Wayne lamented.
Wayne asserted, the progressives will form an alliance coalition, adding the political grouping comprised
: the National Democratic Coalition, New Democratic Party of Liberia Movement-New DEAL, Free Democratic Party, Alliance for Peace and Democracy, Liberian People’s Party, United People Party, Action for Democracy and Development.
“And we encourage other progressive parties and interest groups to join us, the progressives will win the elections in 2017,” Wayne said. The statement by the progressives comes thirty five years after the group led the famous April 12 1979 Rice Riot in which they played a major role. The Progressives unarguably can be accredited for the multi-party democracy that Liberia has enjoyed since the end of the long time one party rule.
Recently, Dr. Tipoteh announced his quest for the presidency in 2017 thus making it his fourth attempt. It is not clear whether the progressives will rally their support for Dr. Tipoteh presidential quest. Wayne disclosed that the coalition and alliance to be formed has not made any determination to support any candidate for the presidency.