The standoff in the October 10 presidential and legislative elections topped questions raised at the recent one-day Community Media Forum hosted by authorities of the Liberia Media Development (LMD) in Sanniquellie, Nimba County’s political capital.
Most of the questions participants posed to the organizers were about the delay in the electoral process, which, according to them, is causing confusion and fear in the minds of citizens.
The forum aims at bringing citizens together to discuss the election impasse.
It was held under the theme, “Promoting Democracy and Preventing Election Violence through Dialogue” and supported by Internews, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.)
Issues discussed included women’s role in the electoral process, the role of the judiciary with emphasis on the terms “prohibition” and “stay order,” the civil society and the entire electoral process.
Four of the LMD panelists entertained questions from the floor about citizens’ doubts on the country’s electoral system.
One of the panelists, Zawolo Zuagele, explained that the electoral process is not about politicians, but rather about every individual, “because election is everybody’s business.”
“In the election process, we help ourselves not anyone else, because the decision we made at the polls has an impact on our lives,” Zuagele said.
A Stipendiary Magistrate in Sanniquellie, Emmanuel Gamai, who briefly explained the role of the judiciary in the election process, cautioned citizens to conduct themselves in line with the rule of law and forget about capitalizing on the ‘small mistakes’ politicians sometimes make that could retard the country’s progress.
Gamai said Liberia has experienced a series of complicated problems which, instead of helping in the development of the country, “took us way behind our West African counterparts,” and as a result, “many of the citizens are yet to come to their senses.”
“There is no perfection in this world, even in the great United States, but when some of these mistakes happened, they think about their country and move forward,” he said.
“We need to think about Liberia, rather than thinking about or capitalizing on individual politicians’ small mistakes.”
Participants classified the interactive forum as one of the best that the LMD has conducted so far during this year’s elections.
They sorted out their ‘differences’ and promised to avoid future confusion during elections.