To many, it is no more a secret that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was allegedly supporting the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) instead of her party, former ruling Unity Party (UP).
Some UP supporters and other Liberians say President George Weah’s statement about the WASSCE (West Africa Senior Certificate Exams) fees payment is a revelation confirming their claim that she was supporting CDC.
President Weah, during his first state of the nation address to the Legislature, revealed that, in consultation with Madam Sirleaf, he has deposited about US$200,000.00 (two hundred thousand United States dollars) for the WASSCE fees payment for 12th graders of both private and public schools in Liberia.
While welcoming such initiative intended to reduce burden on parents, many Liberians are of the belief that Madam Sirleaf had given the money as her contribution to the CDC’s campaign.
When the former government announced there was no money to pay WASSCE fees, it took center stage in Liberia, with CDC machineries lambasting government and committing their party to settle the situation.
This prompted many WASSCE candidates’ frequent visit to the CDC headquarters. Some of the candidates began disenchanted while other felt deceived when the fees were not forthcoming to meet up with registration deadlines. It was at this point that the CDC said the fees will be paid directly to schools instead of students.
Promise by the CDC, coupled with the failure of many students to pre-finance the payment, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has been postponing dates for the administration of the exam.
While these suspicions were growing during the runoff, Madam Sirleaf and and Weah, then presidential candidate, broke ground for the construction of the Lofa Road.
Even though Madam Sirleaf denied of inviting Weah, pundits saw it as a political game played against former vice president, Joseph Boakai, who was reportedly not aware of the occasion.
Arguments grew at the time, with some saying that Weah was a senator and so his presence was necessary. They said it was incumbent upon even ordinary citizens to grace the occasion, calling on Liberians not to make politics out of the matter. They further noted that the road also connects Bong County, where Weah’s then running mate, Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor hails.
On the other hand, it became an issue when Boakai did not attend the program. “It was necessary for all of them including Boakai to grace the program. But leaving Boakai out and inviting Weah was a political deceit orchestrated by Madam Sirleaf,” a UP’s member claimed.
When was consultation for WASSCE fees payment held?
Some UP’s members and critics are expressing fears that Weah may be remote-controlled by Madam Sirleaf. “When this consult was held? What is the source of this money? Who is the custodian?” These are the questions they underscore the need for President Weah to answer. They, however, praise the President for such a gesture that is cardinal to the education system, especially at the time Liberians are faced with economic hardship.
It can be recalled that during the political campaign in 2017, many UP members fell out with Madam Sirleaf, accusing her of supporting Weah of then opposition CDC. It even went as far as claiming that she would rig the elections in favor of Weah.
They alleged that Madam Sirleaf held a closed-door meeting with National Elections Commission (NEC) officials at her residence. The former president admitted of meeting the officials; but said it was not closed-door as alleged. She explained that the meeting was held with some international and local groups represented.