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Inside Mulbah Morlu’s 20 Years Stay In the CDC as He Exits

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By Festus Poquie

Mulbah Morlu has ended his membership with the  erstwhile ruling Congress for Democratic Change, nearly two decades after serving the country’s largest grassroots political movement in multiple roles including National Chairman.

In March this year, Morlu set his eyes on the exit door, vacating the position of national chairman while revealing underlying challenges in internal governance and missteps that seemingly contributed to the loss of state power to rival Unity Party in 2023.

After six years at the helm of the West African nation’s political leadership, the CDC now sits in opposition, powerless and disabled.

The biting United States financial and visa sanctions imposed on more than half a dozen influential members and associates of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change have seemingly left the party decapitated.

On a cloudy afternoon of June 17, in Monrovia, the once powerful and influential politician in Africa’s oldest democratic Republic and on the West Coast called to an end, his association with the CDC.

“I hereby tender my resignation from the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) effective immediately,” Morlu said.

“I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the National Executive Committee,  and particularly, to the esteemed members of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) for their unwavering support over the years that I had diligently served in various capacities, including National Chairman.”

From war crimes accountability advocate to party militant, ideologue and leader, Morlu years in the CDC has been glorious and controversial. His ingrained trait of speaking truth to power frequently puts him into war with authorities and his own party.

Morlu criticizes without border. In opposition he was a chief critic of the Johnson Sirleaf administration for 12 years, confronting nepotism and other forms of official corruption and injustice. As ruling party Chairman, he became the first critic of his own government, questioning then-President George Weah and his cabinet over bad governance and unexplained wrongdoing.

After closing the curtains on an illustrious and turbulent political career, Morlu is back to his seemingly natural vocation: Activism.

“A cross-section of the Liberian populace has chosen me as Chairman and Lead Advocate of the Solidarity and Trust for a New Day (STAND),” he told the CDC Executive Committee in a letter of resignation.

“STAND is a diverse, non-political civil society and advocacy organization dedicated to the eradication of impunity in Liberia without allegiance to any political ideology or party. Our overarching mission is to carve a new path for Liberia, free from the burdens of injustice, corruption, poverty and hunger in the land endowed with abundant natural resources.

“This opportunity requires that I devote my entire being to these noble causes which, I believe, hold the promise for a brighter future; notwithstanding, it also demands that I uphold the highest ethical standards to ensure that our actions remain impartial, moral, and nonpartisan.

“I extend an open invitation to my numerous supporters, well-wishers, and admirers, as well as the larger society, to join me in my civil society initiatives as we work together to carve out a brighter future for our common patrimony.”

Many Liberians took to social media to pay tribute to Mulbah Morlu on Monday, minutes after he made public his departure from the CDC on his official Facebook account. Acarous Moses Gray who was once the most quoted official of the CDC in opposition before taking state power in 2018 posted: “Together we fought precedented and unprecedented battles. You have played your role. We love you brother.”

Timeline

In 2006, Liberian authorities resisted petitioning program Morlu had organized during the visit of then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan, however, granted Morlu an audience.

Morlu and team were seeking the establishment of a war crimes tribunal for those who bear the greatest responsibility for the war in Liberia.

During this period he has on various occasions accused then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and key members of her government of being among those responsible for one of Africa’s bloody wars. Morlu circulated his petition to various international and media organizations.

On 21 February 2008, police in Monrovia arrested and detained Mulbah Morlu, Chairman of the Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court for Liberia who was seeking to petition visiting US President George W. Bush to promote the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia.

He was held at police headquarters for more than four hours, to prevent him from presenting a petition to President Bush. Morlu had said early in the week he would be leading a 50,000-strong demonstration to present the petition.

In October 2013, Morlu and 10 other civil society activists were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy and sedition. Human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe condemned the sedition charge.

They have planned  a  protest against Johnson Sirleaf as part of the “Ellen Step Down” campaign, calling for the resignation of the President on grounds that her  government was  practicing nepotism and was helpless in the fight against corruption.

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