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Views And Comments: Uncertainty Grows Over Peaceful Elections In Liberia
Thursday 11th August 2011
The post-war election of 2005 was heavily guided by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and because of the presence of UNMIL troops, grass root Liberians who were tired with war had the hope that regardless of what may happen, the foreign troops will give them protection.

Contrary to that time, the conduct of the 2011 elections depends on Liberians with portion of financial support from international partners. The security of the country is to be provided by the Liberian Government with help from the downsized UNMIL troop here now.

Since its revitalization from 2006 to present, the public has lost trust in the Liberian National Police (LNP) on ground that officers are always accused of unethical practices ranging from bribe to reckless handling of civilians. In March of this year, the Police Support Unit (PSU), was accused of flogging and wounding students of the GW Gibson High School in Monrovia while the students were carrying on street demonstration in protest of their teachers’ pay.

The Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) though receiving advance training is still scaled down in the tone of 2,000, number that cannot even take half of the border areas within the country’s limit.

On the basis of these and other incidents, coupled with other political factors, grass root Liberians are earnestly praying to their God for the conduct of a peaceful, transparent election that the results will be accepted by all.

Views gathered from Liberians in churches and public places suggest that while they believe in God to sustain the peace in Liberia, they are also concerned about the trend politicians are taking in attacking personality instead of issues and discouraging voters to boycott the upcoming national referendum.

One Liberian, a Baptist Clergyman, William Vanbram in his recent sermon to over 500 members of his congregation asserted with strong emphasis that the multiplicity of political parties in Liberia does not mean anything good for the Liberian people but a recipe of chaos. The Baptist Clergyman noted that Liberia is a small country with a low population to have 29 political parties; adding, “This is only intended to confuse voters and divide the country on ethnic and sectional lines”.

Others in some quarters around Monrovia have viewed Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) standard-bearer Winston Tubman’s call for boycott of the referendum as an unpatriotic statement and one that has the propensity to cause chaos. For Dew Mason of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), he has called on supporters of his party to vote ‘no’ to all four propositions of the referendum; which others with dissenting views see as a condition that would not qualify him to contest the Presidency because he has not lived in the country for 10 years. While the public see this as a campaign statement, they also view it as a point if Dew is disqualified, that he and his partisans would capitalize on to create a chaotic situation.

Cecelia Ndebe of the Liberia Reconstruction Party (LRP), who had just returned from the United States to contest the Presidency, has described the referendum as ‘unconstitutional’ and called on Liberians not to give it credence.

Political parties’ primaries have been held across the country to determine who goes on a party’s ticket as a Representative or Senator. Again many aspirants have alleged that the primaries of the various parties were characterized by fraud.

For instance, incumbent lawmaker Kertekumeh Murray at the end of the Unity Party’s primary in Montserrado County alleged that it was fraudulent. He was beaten by Millar Katacaw. Though part of activity marking election, Liberians view that if in a party’s camp members can cheat one another; it is possible the incumbent manipulate the presidential election.

Earlier, the standard-bearer of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP), Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson had publicly stated that any attempt on the part of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to cheat him, the consequence would be very disasterous. As a former warlord, many people are attaching seriousness to his statement and wondering what his reaction would be in case he loses the election as he is so optimistic of winning.

On August 9, 2011, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization announced and displayed in Monrovia the discovered in the South-eastern part of the country.

These statements and events have come to be the talks on university campuses Hatayi shops around town. They are not only confusing the electorate many of who are illiterate, but viewed as trouble making statements that create fear in them after experiencing war for a good number of years.

AEP


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