As election day draws closer, Emma Smith and rapper Scientific have announced a nationwide elections awareness campaign styled: ‘Vote Wisely, Save Liberia.’ According to the celebrities, the campaign is intended to educate voters about the risk of casting their votes based on tribal identity, or for money.
The artists in a joint press release said as the October 10 elections approach, it is prudent that voters be educated about the dangers of electing the wrong people to office.
The release added that before the planning of the upcoming campaign, which will kickoff this Saturday, a month long investigation was conducted which revealed that most voters will be casting their votes based on tribal lines, close friendship, and because of money (selling votes).
“This year’s elections will determine whether Liberia will move forward as a nation or not. And it hurts to see voters willing to cast their votes just because someone is their kinfolk or friend or because of money, not based on critical analyses of various candidates’ platform.
The “Vote Wisely, Save Liberia initiative is intended to educate voters on the risk of electing someone based on tribalism or for money (selling votes) and the benefits it brings when they vote for someone based on a platform,” said the release quoting singer Emma Smith and rapper Scientific.
The press release added that by informing voters about their civic rights and responsibilities, the campaign seeks to encourage them to become active, positive and peaceful contributors to Liberia’s progress by voting the right people into office.
“We hope that during this campaign voters would turn into ambassadors for change by realizing that selling votes or voting based on tribalism makes room for bad governance and encourages corruption. And that voting on a tribal identity or selling votes keeps some of the best potential candidates from being elected into office.
“From our preliminary investigation, we uncovered that candidates are taking advantage of the high rate of poverty and the huge numbers of uneducated voters to preach tribal politics, as well as giving out money for their votes.
“Cash for votes and tribal politics have now become a dominant, determinant factor in Liberia’s politics. And the poor are usually the victims of tribal politics or vote buying because their limited means make them susceptible to material inducements, including offers of basic commodities or modest amounts of money.
“So, when this campaign kicks off, voters will be urged not to give credence to those that use tribal politics or encourage them to sell their voters, which has the propensity to ruin this country,” the release said.
Emma Smith and Scientific added that tribal politics divides a nation and vote buying drives up the cost of elections for parties and candidates, and may prevent credible candidates from running for political office.
Meanwhile, the release said the campaign will also urge the youth not to allow politicians to use them to commit acts of violence or political hooliganism before, during and after the elections.
“This is our second priority. We have noticed that there is a high risk of elections violence this year. And the reason is simple: Most voters think that this election will not be free and fair, looking at some provoking statements coming from some opposition parties that they will not accept what happened to them during the last elections.
“But during this Vote Wisely, Save Liberia campaign we will change that notion,” Emma and Scientific said.
The release concluded that the campaign will be done through a free concert, direct outreach in communities, churches, mosques and market places across the country.