Liberia's Tubman retires from politics

Defeated Liberian presidential candidate Winston Tubman outside his house. FILE | AFRICA REVIEW 

Liberia’s main opposition leader, Winston Tubman, has announced his retirement from politics just days after his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party announced his expulsion.

Mr Tubman was the main challenger to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in last November's controversial elections that saw Africa's first female president win a second term in office.

Mr Tubman who placed second in the first round of the polls announced his retirement on Monday citing the need to avert "devastating divisions” within the party’s ranks.

He said he was also calling it a day to give way to soccer legend-turned politician George Weah to assume the position of CDC political leader.

A statement by the opposition party last week justified Mr Tubman’s expulsion on grounds of "unethical behaviour, nepotism and corruption", among other accusations.

It also announced the reinstatement of Mr Weah as party leader.

“We must seize the opportunity now in front of us to reorganise, restructure, stabilise and institutionalise the CDC, so as to prepare it for assuming state power in the near future,” Mr Tubman said in his statement.

He added that he believed the CDC would come to power in the next elections in 2017, but he warned that this could only be achieved if the party ensured harmony, unity and peace within its ranks.

The CDC Tuesday reacted to Mr Tubman’s retirement through a statement by its secretary-general, Acarous Gray, who emphasised the expulsion was in line with an agreement he had signed promising to relinquish his post as CDC standard bearer 30 days after last year’s elections.

"So at this point in time for him to retire from politics is not a surprise to members of the CDC,” Mr Gray said.

Mr Weah's return at the helm of the party marks a comeback.

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