Boakai or Weah: NEC Declares Nov. 7 Runoff Campaign Open

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Chairman Korkoya

Will it be George Manneh Weah or Joseph Nyuma Boakai as the next President of Liberia?

It is a complex question that will be determined by Liberian voters across the country as they head to the polls in a runoff of the Presidential Electoral scheduled for November 7, as officially announced yesterday by the National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday in Monrovia.

Weah, former world soccer star and now Senator of Montserrado County, has collected 596,037 votes or 38.4 percent of the 1,641,922 total valid votes, while Boakai found his way to the runoff by collecting 446,716 votes or 28.8 percent.

The runoff has become necessary because none of the 20 presidential candidates succeeded in acquiring 50 percent plus 1 vote as required by the new Elections Law to secure a one-round victory. Now, these top two presidential contenders will make their case to the Liberian electorate, who will finally decide who gets to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose official position as president ends on January 16, 2018.

The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) standard bearer, George M. Weah, is contesting for the presidency for the second time. His first attempt was in 2005. In 2011 he surrendered his position of standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change (also CDC) to Cllr. Winston A. Tubman and became the running mate. Mr. Tubman had come to the Congress from the defunct National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL), where he ran as standard bearer in 2005.

With CDC, Tubman won the first round in a simple majority, but could not accumulate the required 50 percent plus one vote. The party decided to boycott the runoff.

As a result, incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had an easy ride to win the runoff.

The 2005 and 2011 elections campaign messages against the CDC ticket were that Weah had no better educational foundation let alone experience and political savvy to lead the country.

It gave the ruling UP an edge in both campaigns and, of course, Weah went ahead to admit on the Truth Breakfast Show in 2005 that he did not graduate from high school. He said he was nonetheless passionate to serve his fellow compatriots as president.

Has Anything Changed?

The CDC’s standard bearer took the challenge and traveled to the United States and enrolled at DeVry University.

The United States-based DeVry University offers both campus and online degrees, including undergraduate and graduate level. It also allows students to prepare to tackle the challenges of the modern workplace and make an impact in a chosen field. According to its website, it is an accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), signaling that DeVry meets key standards used to evaluate colleges for their focus on quality, student support, transferability of credits and more.

However, the information said for three years Weah did courses to brush up before venturing to take his university degrees. He is presently reported to have achieved a Business Administration degree.

Despite his reported achievement, there has been a lot of interest in what many see as his challenge in articulating standard English, which his supporters don’t think is absolutely necessary for a President.

Many of his opponents have worried that a Weah government could create problems as he would be compelled to interact and speak at major functions at the ECOWAS, United Nations, African Union (AU), Mano River Union, among other bodies that could expose his unpreparedness to address pertinent issues that affect the sub-region and the world.

Testing his political strength once more was in 2014 when he contested and won the Montserrado County senatorial seat against his closest rival, Robert Sirleaf, son of his archrival, President  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Should Boakai be considered?

His 42 years in public service as a director, minister and several other positions before his current post of Vice President now, in conclusion, has given him more experience and courage to assume the role as a president if he wins the runoff. Many of his supporters have said Boakai is dependable and with his experience as twelve years as vice president, he could do things differently from his boss President Sirleaf.

Though many of his opponents, particularly those who are not comfortable with the Unity Party going for a third term, insist Boakai cannot offer much more than what was promised by President Sirleaf and not delivered in the last twelve years.

The electorate now faces a quandary. They are confronted with a thorny issue: Boakai or Weah?

While many people blame Boakai for what they see as the lapses of the Unity Party under President Sirleaf, others see in him, comparing him with Weah as an erudite statesman capable of handling the issues of the country aright. Hence, many think it is a situation that voters should take into consideration in the runoff.

Another issue being held against Boakai is the statement attributed to him that the Unity Party government “squandered lots of opportunities.” Though Boakai did not offer an explanation about the “opportunities squandered” his partisans say he could do things differently, as his famous slogan, says “Think Liberia, Love Liberia, Build Liberia.”

Who supports who?

Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of Liberty Party (LP), Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the Movement for Democracy and Reconciliation (MDR) and Alexander B. Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) among 20 registered political parties are expected to support either of the two runoff contenders.

Their support to either side, coupled with influencing the decisions of their followers will be a major factor in determining who replaces President Sirleaf.

The number of total invalid votes as announced by Korkoya is 88,574, while the valid votes accounted for 1,553,348. He declared campaign open as of the time of the announcement of the results yesterday (October 19) and said it will end at 11:59 p.m. on November 5, 2017.

So as the countdown to the final determination of who becomes Liberia’s 24th President continues, the UP and the CDC are trying to secure alliances with other political institutions and voters, in anticipation of the day that would become part of the country’s history for many years to come.

Authors

14 COMMENTS

  1. Liberians will reap what they sow in this election!!!

    When it comes to voting in this 2017 run-off election between Joe Boakai and George Weah, Liberia is on the verge of doing exactly what Americans blue collared, rural dwellers, and disgruntled unemployed Americans did by voting for a billionaire Con-man named Donald Trump: a bad character, an unqualified, fast talking, know-nothing, reality talk-show New Yorker.

    Be careful Liberians! We will reap whatever we sow! Electing George Weah as President to manage the complexities of a fragile country like Liberia is synonymous to disgruntled Americans, without thinking of the consequences, elected unqualified Donald Trump to manage the complicated office of a Super Power Nation.

    Donald Trump and George Weah have money and fame; but both men lack the following skills to govern any nation.

    The two men lack moral character, temperament, calmness, coolness, and critical thinking skills to execute the office of the president in time of difficult circumstances.

    In the case of George Weah, since 2005 the late Bacchus Matthew and other ambitious politicians exploited George Weah’s popularity for their personal aggrandizement. They enabled George Weah to believe that his popularity and soccer prowess qualify him to be president of Liberia.

    I have noticed over the years, since the inception of CDC and other mushrooming fly-by-night political parties in Liberia, there has been no sound policy statement or manifesto from these political parties, or even sound execution in their individual legislative duties; or proposal for constitutional amendment on (racist citizenship/dual citizenship clause, reduction in presidential/legislative term limits) that meet modern economic reality. George Weah dismal performance as a legislator is a testament to his weak leadership skills.

    I wonder what moral character of leadership if George Weah, with Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President, were to win this election? Are we resurrecting Charles Taylor’s and Samuel Doe’s dictatorial leadership? Are we going to resurrect Charles Taylor’s chaos, confusion and distraction that led to Liberia’s instability?

    We are heading to a crucial run-off between Joe Boakai and George Weah. Liberians should think seriously about the consequences of putting our children’s future in the hands of George Weah and Jewel Taylor, who assumed the Executive Branch is their entitlement.

    George Weah is a play boy, a womanizer, knows-nothing except playing soccer. He lacks financial discipline; he lacks moral character; he lacks administrative skills, and he is a flamboyant showman.

    Between the two candidates left standing, Joe Boakai’s moral character, his patience, his wisdom, his fiscal responsibility, his administrative skills, his calmness, his coolness, and last but not all, his experience are some of the reasons I plea with my fellow Liberians and those defeated candidates to put Liberia’s economic progress; Liberia’s peace and security first by voting wisely in this pending runoff election.

    Let us put the hyper- partisanship nonsense aside that has destroyed our economy and stop living in the moment. Some of our candidates and also mine, despite their fabulous leadership skills, were defeated; but, we should stop sacrificing our children’s future on false promises and fame.

    Stop putting party loyalty above national loyalty! The party is only symbolic. Instead, look at the individual character who is about to take over the leadership of this fragile country. Think about the consequences of voting for George Weah based on feelings and on hysterical euphoria. Voting is not a football game!!!

    Liberia’s presidency over many years has been about empty showmanship, dictatorship, personal interest, financial greed, and power. Leadership has never been in the interest of the suffering Liberian people. This election is not a show!!!

    My fellow Liberians, we will reap what we sow. We have come too far to turn our peaceful political clock backwards. Liberians will pay the price for sacrificing our children’s future if we vote for George Weah and Jewel Taylor based on popularity and showmanship. Vote based on substance: based on the candidate moral character, track record, judgement, credibility and leadership skills.

    My fellow Liberians, let us not do what the American disgruntled, blue collared, unemployed voters did….they voted for Donald Trump! Many Americans are now regretting the consequences because they voted for Donald Trump… a bad character, an unqualified, fast talking, know-nothing-con-man; a womanizer, and a famous reality talk-show New Yorker.

    May God bless Liberia as we struggle to make a wise choice that could make or break Liberia!!!!!!

    “Caveat Emptor”…………Buyers Beware!!!!!! 

  2. The United States or any other nation should not interfere in Liberia’s internal affairs. Let Liberia handle itself. Do not rescue Liberia anymore. NPP murderers, with Charles Taylor’s wife, a ruthless CDC party, an indicted LPDP with Alex Tyler are 3 dangerous ingredients mixed together in a country on the verge of chaos. Every party has a different agenda and that is enough to create a Somalia-like situation in Liberia with NPP, CDC and LPDP acting as separate warlord entities. Be careful what you wish for Liberia. Dark days are ahead.

    • We are talking the future of our belove country and you talking nonsense. These people were there in 2005, 2011 and now yet nothing evil happen to our belove country. If you have nothing to offer just keep quiet.

  3. Neither of these front runners or parties can tamper with the power of the 57% left in place to transmit the wishes of the Liberian people: a peaceful factual actual count. The Liberian security is in the hands of the Liberian Nation. We do not care about what rebel group you have had or did emerge from or what base you think you can recapitulate. Every Liberian is responsible for the past, present and future of this nation. Liberia is now reinstituted, and reconstituted. If any individual, party, or group, tries to use hireling to gain power in this nation again, or use venal to justify tyranny and dictatorship, the silent majority will crush you regardless where you are or what you have. Liberia has restored its democracy and we should all be grateful to the 20 candidates that contested, regardless who wins majority, canvassing will continue to be equal in future election activities obligated to meet their platforms and promises they made to the Liberian people, as Presidents come and go and as we seek the nation’s peaceful, stable, prosperous destiny. Every party, individual, observer, local and international news, and NEC’s incumbent itself , did try to break the first format, but could not get to know the actual factual because none was part of the imaginary line. So let us all wait for God’s time, when the President of Liberia is elected. Let the Republic of Liberia know.
    Gone to silence. DO NOT REPLY THIS BOX.

  4. Liberia has had peaceful and volatile times and thus voters should not be driven by sideshows to defy logic. Let us weigh options for posterity bearing in mind that choices have consequences.

  5. Considering post-election violence is an under-statement, because what awaits Liberia if the wrong people are elected will be more devastating than any form of post-election violence. Six years of misrule will harm Liberia more than a week of post-election violence. What will it benefit us if we derive our verdicts out of emotion, and elect an incompetent leadership, simply because we need a change? Please acknowledge the simple fact, which states that a man who can hardly manage his personal resources properly, is definitely unfit to be entrusted with the leadership of a sovereign state. We may have expected a lot from the present administration, but to replace it with a guy, who has proven his incompetence beyond all reasonable doubt, is suicidal. “Beware the ides of March”!! A millisecond of action/inaction, may lead to an eternity of confusion, therefore you should bury your anger and frustration, and consider the future of our dear country.

  6. To those who have decided to recuse yourselves from the electoral process, you are unknowingly contributing to the problem, because your unwillingness to derive a solution to a problem, automatically makes you a part of the problem. Please join us on the 8th of November, in order to elect a responsible leadership for this country of ours. Your sober handling of this situation is highly solicited. “In cause of the people, the struggle continues”. God bless Liberia.

  7. “Donald Trump and George Weah have money and fame; but both men lack the following skills to govern any nation.

    The two men lack moral character, temperament, calmness, coolness, and critical thinking skills to execute the office of the president in time of difficult circumstances.” What the hell are you writing about? Pure completely non-sense…

    • Yes with all his skills and experienced he(Boakai) prove nothing as a vice president of the nation, nothing can change our minds we the youth of liberia CDC (Weah) is our choice as he’s capable of leading this nation (liberia) in all aspects by God’s grace, we have faith in him to lead us peacefuly. God bless liberia amen. amender awee! amender awee! George weah, george weah, george weaaaah!!!!

  8. The fact that Weah’s supporters do not think the issue of standard English is essential for their man speaks despicable volumes. In no uncertain terms, Liberians have a problem. A gargantuan problem that seems impossible to tackle! How on God’s planet earth can a group of supporters of a candidate say that standard English is unimportant?

    At this crucial time frame, only God the Almighty can prevail over the Weah forces in order that their warped minds could change.

  9. Sadly, some eligible voters in Liberia do not give a hoot whether Weah is inexperienced or not. Such voters do not represent the internal and external best interest of Liberia. Such voters are self-centered! I think Liberia needs two presidents……. a president who will represent all supporters of Weah and another who will represent Boakai’s supporters.

  10. In a country of under four million people, we have over two million of them who are now in their 30s and nearly ALL of them did not graduate from elementary school.
    Liberia is already in a state of potential disaster and the election of a novice will have dare consequences.

    For the record, I am against all of the former warlords (including Ellen Johson-Sirleaf) but since the Liberian civic war started in 1989, one of them (Prince Y. Johnson) has spoken the truth twice.
    He said,
    1) “The guns that ‘liberate’ should not rule” __ he was right but the Liberian people did not listen to him.
    Now he is saying,
    2) “If George Weah is elected president, Liberia will return to war” __ I believe he could be right again, sadly.

    On the second point, we all know that Prince Johnson and his rebels brutally killed Samuel K. Doe in the most inhumane manner and broadcast that killing worldwide via video. So, why can’t we just be logical and consider what could happen if George Weah gained power — won’t SOME of his hardcore supporters want to do everything to avenge Doe’s murder?

    Call me a pessimist but here are my concerns.

    I’m concerned that a George Weah presidency might embolden Some People who might want to avenge Doe’s murder and such effort could, in return, cause Prince Johnson to return to the bush and, we all know that His People will always be ready to defend him. As a result we could be right back into the tribal warfare again — but this time we could have Krahn vs Gio vs Kpelleh vs Loma vs Kru!

    While at the same time, the American people of Puerto Rico are not getting enough help from the American Government today. So, if Liberians went to war today; they can be assured that Washington will not give a hoot about Liberians killing each other again.

    For the record, Ever since Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said “Level Monrovia, we will build it back”, I have NEVER been a supporter of hers and then she failed to reconcile the Liberian people (particularly the Krahn and Gio people) by not implementing the TRC recommendations.

    But today, we are at a cross-roads again the two choices we have are:
    1) A vote for peaceful (potentially corrupt) administration and
    2) A vote for the unknown (potential of war and instability)
    I don’t know if those two million uneducated Liberians will make the right. May God save the nation.

    Personally, if Liberia degenerates back into civic war, I will also have to lay some of the blame at the feet of The UN, ECOWAS, and The International Community because they should have forced Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to implement the recommendations of THE TRC.

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