Liberia: The Sirleaf Challenge…Can Weah Win?

… Sirleaf Petition To Run Against Weah In Liberia’s Election This Year

By Hawah Wesseh

It is all now set to go, as Mr. Sirleaf recognized a petition from his supporters in Monrovia this week from a group calling itself the Redemption Council of Montserrado [RCM], and also in partnership with the Coalition of Community Based Organizations [CMBC] mainly from the 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County.

At the petition ceremony held on the Bushrod Island, where the popular world footballer George Weah grew up, before tasting soccer glory in Europe, the crowd surrounding Robert Sirleaf was ecstatic . Sirleaf also got his support on the Clara Town sports pitch, where Weah also grew up playing.

Weah is also the potential candidate for the main opposition party Congress for Democratic Change [CDC]. It came second the last two presidential circles, with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf being elected. Robert Sirleaf is one of Sirleaf’s sons.

At the Clara Town sports pitch, the group’s spokesman, Lasanna Fofana drew attention to the problems currently troubling Montserrado County, and then said Robert was the right man for the lone seat. The Unity Party, observers say is fielding a weak candidate this year. The Unity Party, reports also say is expected to campaign heavily for Syllah who pundits have said stood no chance against Weah and probably could eventually throw its weight behind Sirleaf. And this is also how the President won the last two times against the same candidate. “If other smaller parties and candidates wanted to make political deals they would turn to Robert, instead of Weah, first. And this is where his  winning the seat as far as his mother helping would make the difference,” said a political science professor at the University of Liberia. The presentation of the petition also in Clara Town “was symbolic…given that Weah is the presumptive winner. It is interesting that Robert is challenging him on his own turf; Robert is confident he can win in Montserrado and in the city of Monrovia which holds almost 1.3million people, Liberia’s most important metropolitan. Certainly, we all know the CDC is the dominant player in Montserrado, because it currently holds almost all of the legislative seats, including the only two senate seats allotted to the county like the other fourteen, if Weah cannot claim Montserrado during the upcoming  election, he will have no claim therefore to the Liberian presidency, which his current senatorial bid is expected to nurture,” he said finally.

“I will lift your future with you. I hold this petition dear to my heart,” said Robert Sirleaf as he addressed the crowd in Clara Town; the powerful son of the Liberian president, who is also a former executive of Wachovia Bank, the North American behemoth.  In Liberia he doubles as an influential presidential adviser with huge sway within Liberia’s emerging oil and energy sector, he is also  former board chair of the National Oil Company of Liberia [NOCAL]. He was recently appointed as Liberia’s liaison with a major gulf state in a deal worth millions of dollars, as Liberia sought to address its oil needs. Robert reports say finally pulled off the contract which the Liberian government said had been in the works for years. “It was a Robert Sirleaf efforts that pulled it off,” said an Executive Mansion source.

The Liberian Senate and House of Representatives aptly called the Liberian Assembly  are the only seats in the country, besides the presidency that are available to political candidates. Municipal and county wide elections are yet to be considered. Montserrado County,  pundits say, will be hotly contested, especially with both Weah and Sirleaf bidding for the solitary seat.

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