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Date:07 Oct 2017
#LiberiaElections: Closer look at leading presidential candidates

Liberia goes to the polls on 10 October to elect a president to take over from Africa’s first female president and incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Sirleaf will step down after serving two constitutionally mandated 2 terms. The 20 candidates contesting the presidential seat is made up of 19 males and 1 female. The list contains the current vice president, a former war-lord, a fashion model, seasoned politicians and a host of businessmen.

In no particular order, we take a look at the leading candidates:

 

Joseph Boakai – Unity Party (UP)

The 73 year old veteran politician from the remote village of Worsonga in Foya District, Lofa County is the current vice president having served in that position for 2 terms since 2005. He describes himself as a race car that has been kept in a garage for 12 years, waiting to be set on the track to unleash a wave of change in Liberia. Joseph Boakai

The veteran politician served as agriculture minister under warlord Charles Taylor before becoming vice president on the UP's ticket when the party's candidate Sirleaf beat football star George Oppong Weah in a run-off in 2005.

The standard-bearer of the Unity Party in outlining his vision says he will use agriculture, road inter-connectivity to rebuild the economy

 

MacDella Cooper - Liberia Restoration Party (LRP)

The 40year old former model and philanthropist lays claim and base her campaign on President Sirleaf’s recent statement that Liberia needs a young president the requirement for the nation call for a generational change.  

"Coming out of the presidency in her 70s, she knows what it takes to keep the stamina of running that office," said Cooper

The Monrovia born only female candidate plans to revive the country’s economy by slashing high salaries for government officials and redirecting the money to important sectors, such as the ailing health sector.  She promises to bring free education, universal healthcare, the decentralization of power, electricity, and land reforms to the people.

 

George Oppong Weah - Congress for Democratic Change (CDC)

George Weah currently serves as the senator of the northwestern region of Montserrado. In this upcoming election, he will lead a coalition of three parties in a bid to become the next President.

The former African football great and one time world football player of the year will head a coalition in his second attempt to become the president of Liberia.

Mr Weah’s first shot at the presidency was in 2005 losing to Sirleaf in the second round of voting. In 2011 he run as a vice-presidential candidate on the ticket of Winston Tubman but that was also unsuccessful.

Weah claims his presidential ambitions are borne out of patriotism and sees education as the key to transform and develop Liberia he will invest significant resources in the training of teachers and reforming the sector.

 

Charles Brumskine – Liberty Party

The 66 year old attorney and flag-bearer of the Liberty will be contesting the presidency for the third time in this elections after contesting and losing in both the 2005 and 2011 elections.

“As the leader of my party and the candidate myself, I take responsibility for the lack of success in our first two attempts. And I believe it basically had to do with not having communicated effectively our vision for the country of Liberia,” he said.

His campaign vision is based on what he calls the four Rs – reconciliation, reform, rebuild, and recovery.

 

Prince Yomi Johnson - Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).

Prince Johnson, senator of Liberia’s second most populous county Nimba will be contesting in the presidential race for the second time after coming in a surprising third in the 2011 elections.

Affectionately called PYJ, he is seen as a liberator, godfather and preacher man in his stronghold of Nimba. Others see him as a merciless warlord who murdered the  former president Samuel Doe in 1990.

He is not favoured to win the elections but considered a key kingmaker as he can swing the votes in favour of any of the candidates who emerges in the second round should the elections be decided on a re-run.

 

Alexander Cummings - Alternative National Congress (ANC)

The 61 year old, former Coca-Coca executive turned politician, businessman and philanthropist will be contesting the presidency for the first time.

Cummings is not associated with any known political movement in Liberia and comes to the presidential race on a fresh slate. He has so far garnered support from the grassroots through numerous social interventions such as scholarships for students, soft loan schemes for market women and other philanthropic assistance.

He is campaigning on infrastructure development which he believe is the key for economic growth and job creation

  

Benoni Urey - All-Liberian Party

The 60 year old is considered as one of Liberia's most successful men. He is the founder of Lonestar Cell MTN – Liberia’s largest nationwide mobile network and Wulki Farms – one of the country’s primary indigenous food producers. He has never previously stood for, or held, elected political office.

He entered the presidential race because he is of the opinion that fourteen years of peace and international aid has not transformed the nation and the economy does not show any sign of improvement with high inflation and unemployment.

Urey is campaigning on job creation and an agro-based economy
 

AEP

 

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