By: Varney Dukuly and Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Claim: Media reports and a statement from President Weah allege that 56 lawmakers, including Thomas Goshua, Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative, have endorsed the re-election bid of Weah.
Verdict: Misleading! The endorsement resolution captures the list of 49 lawmakers and not 56. Also, Representative Thomas Goshua, in a chat with DUBAWA, has denied endorsing the president.
The horse race of political endorsements among politicians has taken centre stage in Liberian politics as the country readies for the October elections.
Political endorsements are a significant part of political campaigning worldwide, underlining a measure of a candidate’s popularity during elections.
In the lead-up to the Presidential and Legislative Elections in Liberia, politicians seeking public offices have either been endorsed or are endorsing other candidates as jostling for popularity and votes continue unabated.
Over the last few days, the ruling government has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of political endorsements.
According to a statement posted on the Executive Mansion Facebook, 56 lawmakers out of 103 of the bicameral Legislature endorsed the reelection bid of President Weah on June 13.
The president said the 56 members who endorsed him represented a significant percentage of the legislature’s members standing behind his candidacy in the upcoming elections.
Of the 56, one of them, Thomas Goshua, Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative,
was given special mention by the New Republic Newspaper as one of Weah’s right-hand men who endorsed him.
In receiving the endorsement, President Weah said it shows the fervent belief in his vision to change the country’s developmental trajectory.
Given the level of engagement and controversy the report of political endorsement has received over the last couple of days, DUBAWA has found it necessary to fact-check the claim that Thomas Goshua and 55 other lawmakers endorsed the President.
According to Mariam Dictionary, a political endorsement stemmed from the Latin word dorsum, meaning to ‘back,’ or to approve or express support openly and definitely.
So when the Liberian leader touted on his official Facebook page of the Executive Mansion that he has been endorsed by 56 lawmakers, political watchers and journalists alike became interested in finding out which lawmakers made the list.
DUBAWA monitored a programme on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, on the OK Conversation, in which Representative Acarous Gray, one of those who endorsed the president for re-election, admitted that the actual number of lawmakers who signed was 49 and not 56 as indicated on the official Facebook page of the Republic.
He also shared documents bearing the signatures of the 49 lawmakers to authenticate his claim. That figure is less than the 56 the E-mansion insinuated.
The following is a list of the signed document;
Is Thomas Goshua, Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative, part of the 56 lawmakers who endorsed the president, as alleged by the New Republic Newspaper?
DUBAWA first checked the list of lawmakers said to have endorsed the president but did not find the name of Thomas Goshua.
Then, the researcher reached out to the publisher of the New Republic newspaper to inquire how the Grand Bassa County lawmaker’s name was included in the publication.
Mr Alphonso Toweh, through a WhatsApp conversation with DUBAWA, said that Representative Goshua’s name was on the list of those lawmakers who endorsed President Weah.
When asked to share that list in question with DUBAWA, Mr Toweh referred the researcher to his paper’s official website, but no official list was seen.
Here are the screenshots from the WhatsApp conversation between DUBAWA and the managing publisher of the New Republic Newspaper, Alphonso Toweh.
DUBAWA then reached out to Representative Goshua to find out whether he was part of those who endorsed the president.
Representative Goshua told DUBAWA through a WhatsApp conversation that he was never a part of any endorsement, adding that his allegiance is with the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC).
Representative Goshua said, “I have neither joined the CDC nor was ever a part of the lawmakers that endorsed the re-election bid of President Weah. The story is false and misleading. Matter of fact, I was at the CPP office that day for an executive committee meeting.”
Here are the screenshots between DUBAWA and Representative Thomas Goshua.
Based on the investigations conducted by DUBAWA, the researcher can state that while it is true that some lawmakers have endorsed the president, it would be misleading to suggest the number of lawmakers who endorsed the president is 56 and that Thomas Goshua is one of them.