An opinon by Sherman C. Seequeh
An apparent opposition talk show panelist a fortnight ago yelled on top of his voice, stamping his feet and beating his chest. He was heard saying this: “It was a mistake we allowed CDC and CDCians to take power in this country. Indeed, it was a terrible mistake. And we will regret it for a long time to come. Little we knew these are people who would do everything to maintain power. CDCians are stubborn people. They don’t understand. There is little or nothing one can say or do to turn them against their leaders. What a terrible mistake made in 2017!”
He was correct. I agree with him one hundred percent. Yes, CDCians are stubborn. Perhaps he mistook resilient, loyal, or devoted for “stubborn”. But let’s agree “stubborn” is the word.
What triggered the talk show panelist’s tirade? The answer I did not get, but here is what I have found later.
Recent CDC campaign rallies in and around Monrovia have revealed something spectacular and quite stunning. There have been sustained, wild clamors and obstinacies demonstrated by CDCians and their new devotees showcasing their solidarity, loyalty and resilience to their party and their leaders. It has been more than stubborn. It is crazy.
Besides the fact there have been avalanches of partisans and supporters attending CDC campaign rallies, the attendees have boldly been defying two things: one is torrential rains falling from the heavens, and the other has been torrential tirades, criticisms and cusses of the CDC government falling from the lips of opposition politicians.
How come multitudes of people are coming out of the comfort of their homes, marketplaces, schools, workplaces, and other abodes, braving unhealthy weather conditions as well as persistent censures against party and its leaders just to participate in campaign rallies? Swarms of elderly people, let alone young people, mainly first-time voters, women, physically challenged even including at-risk youths, are all defiantly stampeding all over the place despite bad weather conditions and bad anti-CDC propagandas intensified and sharpened against the peaceful pro-administration rallies.
What everyone has seen so far is total defiance and stubbornness on the part of Liberians coming out to showcase their steady readiness to reelect President George Manneh Weah. The people are saying in effect, “neither rains nor sun nor any criticism nor naysaying shall separate us from our Government and the President.”
And for the last week or two long, huge streams of CDCians and droves of like-minded Liberians have surrendered themselves literally to ceaseless rains. They are heavily drenched, wet, cold and still clamoring to show loyalty, love and determination to reelect President Weah.
With such ironclad determination, stubbornness and pigheadedness that CDCians and other Liberians have shown to maintain power in the hands of their leaders, it is quite right on the part of the referenced talk show panelist or anyone to conjecture that it was a “mistake” to thrust power in the hands of CDCians.
There is one thing that the panelist did not say, which is actually the bone of his hopelessness, and here is it: Power in the hands of George Manneh Weah is power placed in the hands of the masses themselves, the impoverished majority of the people, who were treated for so long as jetsam and flotsams for nearly nine score years before their ascendency to national leadership.
Even though the “masses of the people”, as they are fondly called, were from time immemorial the bait, the cause and raison d’etre, used by erstwhile progressives, revolutionaries and freedom fighters in obtaining state power, they were characteristically persistently let down, thrown overboard and trampled upon.
Indeed, it was a “mistake” to allow them rise from their abyss of deprivation and exclusion where they were subjugated for 170 years to ascend to the National Dinner Table through and by the election of one of their kinds in George Manneh Weah who formed a Government directly representative of, and replete with, the “masses of the people”.
And the main “mistake” is this: Once the masses themselves are sitting on the high seat of power, nothing or no one is absolutely left to be used as the source of contention and bait for the elites and neo-elites to use in their drive for power. The people are now fighting for themselves.
Thus, when one sees the avalanches of people stampeding, clamoring and acting stubborn against rains, mud, cold and all the anti-regime denunciations and critiques, in order to anyhow show solidarity and endorsement for the incumbent leadership, it is more than about George Manneh Weah personally. It is also equally and directly about the masses themselves who see this 2023 election as a “war” between them and their age-old oppressors.
For these people acting stubborn and “crazy”, it is all about fighting, braving all odds, as to ensure that they protect the expanded, cheap electricity they now enjoy; it is about the free WASSCE and free tuition in public schools; it is about the paved roads heading to more impoverished communities and regions of the country; it is about the free housing units under construction for millions of other impoverished “masses of our people” who are yet to get; it about connecting more hard-to-reach communities and villages with solar lights; it is about vacation jobs scheme re-introduced; it is about unprecedented freedom of speech and media freedom being enjoyed for the first time in history; it is about the economy that is stable and promising.
It is all this that underscores the masses of the people’s demonstrated obstinacy—call it craziness—in the face of the most torrential of rains and the oddest of weathers.
Because to the masses, the 2023 presidential election is about “elitism versus grasstrootism” – which is fit to be the subject of our next commentary soon.