Special Awards In Pictures

-Says It’s Ready For Leadership; Calls On Liberians To Rally Behind UPP
Acclaimed as the pioneer and torchbearer of multi-party democracy in Liberia, the United People’s Party (UPP) has signaled its preparedness for the mantle of leadership to enable it fight degrading conditions and evils under which Liberians have been living for decades, which it accused the ruling Unity Party of doing less to address.

However, in consideration of the bedevilments of the country and convinced that it is only God who can deliver the country, UPP is putting faith in heaven for victory.
Standard-bearer McDonald Wento, in a high-pitched-tune speech at a welcome program in his honor Wednesday was unequivocal in reminding Liberians of God’s uniqueness to the country, and urged that they put God first in all they do.
“God is about take over this nation; I feel within myself and know this; it is about time that the people of Liberia- the real people of Liberia- the downtrodden masses, those who suffer, those whose children are not in school, the market women, it is about time God reveals the true leader,” Wento told exuberant UPP partisans during a welcome program in his honor.
The UPP strongman had traveled to Ghana to seek the face of God through praying and fasting before getting on the bumpy road for the nationwide campaign.
He used the memorable convocation of partisans to recall UPP’s heroic role in getting Liberia on the trajectory of pluralistic democracy, saying the party was ready for the mantle of leadership.
“This time around, come on October 10, few months and few days from now on, UPP will emerge victorious. We are prepared to take on the mantle of leadership of this country; we represent the majority of the people of this nation; we represent the down-trodden masses of this country,” the UPP strongman sounded amid thundering battle cries from Kaki-suit attired youthful partisans.
In his spirit-evoking speech which came on the back of the start of official campaign for the October 10 polls, Standard-bearer Wento implicitly historicized the birth of the UPP several years ago by founding father, Gabriel Baccus Matthews.
“It is because of the people that in the streets today, the people we call ZOGOS- our younger brothers and sisters, our youths – our sisters, some of whom are prostitutes, our children, some of whom are selling cold water and peppermint candies; it is because of the widows, single mothers, market women, the UPP decided to come on board and take the mantle of leadership and make sure that every Liberia, no matter where you from, what county you are from, has a better future,” he said.
Mr. Wento weighed heavily on the importance of education as the party’s agenda for Liberians to have unhindered access to education as the nation seeks to advance in all spheres of its existence.
“So long you are a Liberian, you will have access to free education. UPP is going to make education number one priority,” he emphasized, and noted “If you want to destroy a nation, you don’t need to throw and atomic bomb, you need to deprive them from education.”
“So UPP is about to take over the leadership of this nation to make sure every Liberian has access to free and quality education.”
He blamed the current government for the state of education, saying “Education is down because the government is not paying attention to the people it needs to pay attention to.”
UPP as an institution singlehandedly went into the 1997 elections with its founding father as standard-bearer but joined ranks with compatible party like the Liberian People Party in a collaboration that gave birth to the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) in 2005 and 2011, with Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh as flagbearer.
Three different elections without success at the polls, UPP seems to be re-galvanizing and recalibrating not to end another electoral sojourn with nothing to celebrate.
“This is not about political campaign, but this is time that we fight for our rights; this is the time that we speak out, this is the time that we stand for our nation; this is the time we tell people out there that enough is enough; this is the time, this is the time to reclaim Liberia and that is what UPP stands for,” he proclaimed to partisans.
Low salaries
The UPP standard-bearer is also uneasy with the take home salaries of service providers such as teachers, doctors and law enforcement officers.
In a bemoaning tune, Mr. Wento said it was highly unacceptable for people with families to be earning salaries that are not proportionate with the realities of today where living conditions have become very unbearable.
“How do you expect the police to take care of their family, send kids to school, feed and clothe them when they are making US$150? How do you expect them to live? How do you expect the teachers to provide for their families when you pay them US$100?” he wondered. In order to address the hardship and impediment in access to healthcare, Standard-bearer Wento vowed that a UPP government would ensure that every Liberian has access to education and healthcare as a whole.
He inquired: “Healthcare is key in this country; if you look at JFK today, it costs 20 to register, how many Liberians can afford US20 to register; you pay US$40 just for a blood test, how many Liberians can afford that?” If elected in October, he promised the UPP would heavily focus on addressing these challenges still facing Liberians.
Call for violent free elections
The UPP strongman also joined the calls for a violent-free as well as free and fair elections in his message upon arrival from Ghana and Ivory Coast.
“I want to call on Liberians today to a good call; we have waited so long for this day and we are able to go to elections to choose our president, vice president and 73 representatives; I want to call on Liberians for a violent-free elections; It is very important for us to uphold the laws of this country and make sure that we have a violent free elections where people will go to the polls peacefully,” Mr. Wento echoed.
Most importantly, he called on UPP partisans and sympathizers to demonstrate best behaviors in these elections time, rallying “We should follow the law and be law-abiding and make sure we do the right things.”
According to him, all partisans and all Executive members must be vigilant, open their eyes and make sure everybody on the campaign team goes straight according to rules and regulations of the NEC.
Mr. Wento also commended the LNP for all the support and they should work with all the law enforcement officers to ensure that elections is free and fair and peaceful and call on NEC to conduct all free and fair elections also.

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