Celebrating Liberia’s Triumph: A Historic Milestone in Democracy

By Aaron Ireland

Liberia has achieved a momentous milestone, marking the first time in our nation’s history that we have single-handedly hosted presidential and general elections since the end of the civil war. This achievement is a testament to the resilience and patriotism of the Liberian people, and it fills me with immense pride to witness this significant step forward.

As we reflect on this accomplishment, it is crucial not to overlook the sacrifices made to maintain peace while exercising our constitutional rights. We must take a moment to remember and honor the lives lost during these times – individuals who courageously stood up for their rights and paid the ultimate price. Their memory should not fade away, and I propose that the incoming ruling establishment consider declaring a day of memorial for these fallen heroes and heroines from various political parties and institutions.

Under the astute leadership of Davidetta Brown Lansanah, the National Elections Commission (NEC) emerged as the linchpin in orchestrating one of the most historic and exemplary electoral processes in the annals of Liberia. The gratitude extended to the NEC is not just a formality but a sincere acknowledgment of the highly delicate role it played in safeguarding the democratic ideals of our nation.

Exceptional leadership was not just a buzzword but a lived reality at the NEC. The transparency with which the commission operated set a new standard for electoral processes in Liberia.

In times when electoral processes in various parts of the world have faced scrutiny, the NEC, under Madam Lassana's guidance, stood as a beacon of integrity. The lessons learned from this experience will undoubtedly shape the future of elections in Liberia, setting a precedent for fairness and transparency that will resonate for generations to come.

To the outgoing government led by H.E. Dr. George Weah, the Liberian people say, “Thank you, yaaaaah!” Your peaceful concession to the election results sets a commendable example in African politics.

President Weah’s display of true patriotism during this critical juncture deserves recognition. In a political climate where power transitions can be fraught with tension, his commitment to the peaceful transfer of leadership reflects a deep love for Liberia. By putting the nation’s interests above personal or political considerations, President Weah has reinforced the importance of unity and stability.

While acknowledging President Weah's role, it is also essential to recognize the collaborative efforts of various political parties in preserving Liberia's peace. In a pluralistic society, cooperation and understanding between political entities are crucial for maintaining stability.

However, the real MVPs of these elections are the Young People of Liberia. Regardless of political affiliations, whether CDC, UP, CPP, or others, the young people have demonstrated a profound investment and interest in the future of our nation. Their voices have been a driving force in the democratic process, underscoring their paramount role in shaping Liberia’s future.

The dynamism and enthusiasm displayed by young people throughout the electoral process have been nothing short of commendable. From engaging in grassroots campaigns to organizing voter education initiatives, the youth have proven that they are not mere spectators but active architects of Liberia's political landscape.

Irrespective of whether one aligns with the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) or the Unity Party (UP), the common thread that unites the youth is a shared commitment to the betterment of Liberia. This transcends political boundaries, emphasizing the idea that the future of our nation is a collective responsibility that requires the input of every citizen, especially the energetic and forward-thinking young minds.

The extensive use of social media as a platform for political discourse and advocacy has further amplified the voices of the youth. The digital realm became a battleground of ideas, fostering constructive dialogue and providing a space for the expression of diverse opinions. The passion and eloquence demonstrated by young activists have underscored their dedication to fostering a more inclusive and transparent political environment.

In a democracy, the active engagement of the youth is not only a sign of a healthy political system but also a testament to the commitment of the younger generation to actively participate in shaping their destinies. Their involvement sends a powerful message to the political leadership – the youth demand to be heard, and their concerns cannot be ignored.

As we move forward, it is crucial for the government, regardless of its composition, to recognize the valuable contribution of the youth and provide them with the necessary platforms to channel their energy and ideas. Investing in youth empowerment programs, education, and creating avenues for meaningful participation will not only strengthen the democratic fabric of Liberia but also ensure a more prosperous and inclusive future for all.

Lastly, the just-ended presidential elections in Liberia have highlighted the commendable dedication of young people to the democratic process. Regardless of political affiliations, the shared commitment to the well-being of Liberia has been a unifying force. Let us celebrate and build upon this momentum, fostering an environment where the youth continue to play a central role in shaping the destiny of our beloved nation.

In conclusion, as we look to the future under President-elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai, there is a call to unite the Liberian people. Despite the successful completion of a peaceful election, there are still disenchanted Liberians in the process. Liberia stands at a crucial stage of our democracy, and the importance of a united nation cannot be overstated. Development cannot be fully achieved without a united Liberia. Liberians remain our common denominator, and the call for unity is essential for the progress and prosperity of our great nation.

About the author:

Aaron Ireland is a distinguished graduate with a BA in Sociology and Economics from the African Methodist Episcopal University. He is also a master’s candidate for Sustainable Development at Cuttington University.