Presidential Candidates to Debate Liberia’s Future

By Alex Redd

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 7, 2004

The United Nations is striving to restore genuine peace and decency to Liberia's political future while potential Liberians, seemingly capable of taking charge of the country's political future, are devising ways and means to democratically stabilize the country as the October 2005 timetable for national democratic elections draw nearer.

An intellectual public forum organized by the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), will bring together seven Liberian presidential candidates to discuss the future of Liberia. These presidential candidates are expected to appear at a one-day intellectual public forum in Maryland. They are: Cllr Charles W. Brumskine of the Liberia Unification Party (LUP), Dr. George K. Kieh, Jr. of the New Deal Political Reform Movement and Dr. Harry F. Moniba, former vice president of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL). Independent presidential hopefuls to also appear are Dr. Margaret Thompson, Mr. Armaso Bawn, Rev. Hannaziah Zoe and Mr. Nathaniel Barnes.

According to ALJA May 3rd press statement, these presidential candidates will serve as panelists in a one-day intellectual public forum at the Nyumburu Cultural Center on the campus of the University of Maryland on May 15, 2004.

It is expected that the Liberian presidential hopefuls will discuss Liberia's political future by sharing their views on the country's current state of affairs. Others that will engage in dialogue at the public forum with these Liberian presidential candidates are top U.S. officials and policymakers, international invitees, prominent Liberians, clergymen and leaders of United States based organizations.

Moderators for this public intellectual forum are Atty. Kwame Clement, former Liberian broadcast journalist and Rev. Emmanuel Z. Bowier, former Liberian Information Minister.

It is not yet known whether the following would attend. They are: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the presumptive presidential candidate of the Unity Party (UP), as well as representatives from the True Whig Party (TWP), National patriotic Party (NPP), All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), Liberian Action Party (LAP) and United People's Party (UPP). Intelligent sources revealed that these political parties have not officially declare their presidential front-runner for next year national democratic elections, though it is being heavily rumored that UPP and LAP are working on a deal of collaboration to contest the next year October elections.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cyrus Badio, president of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is calling on all well-meaning Liberians to attend this public forum, which President Badio believes, will give them the opportunity to begin charting the course and destiny of their war-torn country, Liberia.