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Blogs: Liberia Elections Editorial
Campaign Crowd: A Confused Situation In Politics
Wednesday 21st September 2011
If crowd attendance at a political rally is what wins an election, then all the political parties are working hard to draw the required number of people at their rallies.

When the National Democratic Coalition celebrated its anniversary in May of this year, the party was able to pull so much crowd that convinced most people that, the would surely hold and claim state power through the Liberian people votes in this election.

Not to be beaten, when George Weah and his standard-bearer Ambassador Winston Tubman returned in July from the United States of America, huge crowd lined up from the Roberts International Highway, circled Monrovia and ended at the CDC national headquarters in Congo Town; an event that left supporters with no doubt that, the CDC would automatically carry more than 50 percent of votes in the 2011 election.

Kennedy Sandy of the Liberia Transformation Party is also recalled to have attracted a huge crowd when he launched his campaign in August this year, and from what was seen, Sandy is also sure of being one of the runners in the second round of election if no candidate won the mandatory 50% plus 1 of the votes.

The standard-bearer of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP), Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson, is also of the view that he has a lot of supporters because of the crowd he pulled in New Kru Town when he launched his campaign recently. Also having the belief that people of his county would show their solidarity to him, Senator Johnson is of the view that the election is in his favor and will be the possible kingmaker should the elections go to a runoff.

Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine of the Liberty Party is also very optimistic and has expressed on numerous occasions in an interview that he would take over the state from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf very soon considering the number of people he sees during a campaign rally.

In like manner, incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from all indications is of the view now that she has no competitor in the race considering the kind of crowd she pulled on September 17, 2011 when the Unity Party of which she is a flag bearer launched its campaign in Monrovia.

Unlike other political rallies that people have not fallen off from dehydration, the UP campaign launch, attracted over thousands of people and there were reported instances of supporters fainting from suffocation and being rushed to hospital.

As a result of the huge crowd characterized by fainting of people, the UP standard-bearer could not deliver her full campaign speech but rather chanted UP campaign slogans and did some singing and dancing after which she requested supporters to go home and save their energy for the elections itself.

It is not clear whether those who attend the rallies are true supporters of the candidates. The custom introduced in the 1997 election that led former President Charles Taylor to power was that voters receive money from politicians but vote them out during election.

Some analyst believe that Liberian politicians are using money to influence voters. The electorates claim that, when the vote for these politicians, they forget them soon as they get into office and use the national coffers for their personal benefits.

On the day of Ellen's Campaign launching, some men and women who claimed to be CDC's partisans were heard along the Warner Avenue saying that they were going to join the crowd to get their share of the country's wealth.

Besides the notion of joining crowd to get their “daily bread”, others go to rallies to have a look the country’s political actors.. For instance, Senator Prince Johnson is one person who played a key role during the civil war that many who have not seen him want to see.

For Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it said among her opponents that, the crowd turned to have a look at Africa’s first female president and nothing more.

Clearly then, it looks both the politicians are just taking each other for granted. Until the final decision is made and result pronounced, the political game in Liberia cannot be determined as there are varieties of reasons for which people go to the political rallies.

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