By Samuel G. Dweh
Weeks after Liberia’s National Elections Commission (NEC) pronounced the winner of the country’s presidential election in 2011, supporters of a political party marched around with a casket bearing a “symbolic corpse” of their colleague who had been killed by a bullet from a member of the government-sanctioned law enforcement group. Some eyewitness reports said the guy was “attempting to disarm” a police officer during quelling of a political riot over the presidential election result. What energized the guy into bravery—to challenge armed security—was the twenty United States dollars the party or politician he was “defending”, or the party’s T-shirt given him, or promise of a job (when the party is in power). The murdered man was a “partisan” of a political party whose loss he and his fellow partisans had been protesting by blocking public roads—an action the national law enforcement team had come to prevent. The guy was a “political sacrifice”—killed for defending a politician he was acting for.
In this year’s legislative and presidential elections, some partisans will attempt what the guy mentioned above was doing—and their lives may end like his. Investigation will discover one of the “gifts” or “promise” mentioned above as “fuel” for each person’s “action”.
Other “partisans” will do one of the following: Say “offending things” against their man’s or woman’s political opponent (candidate) at a meeting or rally organized by supporters of person; throw a stone, or another object, to a group of opposition party’s supporters campaigning; tear down posters with photos of aspirants in other political camps.
The attacked or offended candidate’s or political party’s supporters will retaliate with gang-beating or stabbing of the offender. Which politician loves to be insulted in their political domain? Which party’s supporter will be silent or be stationary (like a statue) when a stone is being thrown to harm him or her? What politician won’t react when his or her hundreds of thousands of dollars campaign materials are being destroyed by an “opponent”?
Other “persons” marked for death are owners or employees of media entities (newspaper or radio stations) who will be “demonizing” or “insulting” one legislative or presidential candidate repeatedly to make him or her less popular—and to lose votes—against another presidential candidate who sponsors the newspaper or radio being used as a platform for the demonization or insult. Their offices will be petrol-bombed while they are in, or they will be stabbed in a dark place where they are strolling, or their drinks will be poisoned. All because they turned journalism into a witch-hunting tool!
Like it was in the elections of 2005 and 2011, legislative and presidential aspirants in the election of 2017 will threaten to “vehemently reject” the National Elections Commission’s announcement of a different person (candidate) on perception that the election was “rigged” against them. This vehement rejection implies “hostile” means of protesting NEC’s pronouncement. The angry politician will act through another person’s son (or daughter) to cause the trouble. The politician’s child—if he or she isn’t childless—will be in a safe fence or abroad while another person is being pushed to put his or her life in death’s way. The person being used becomes a political sacrifice. Will you be the “tool”? Will this “political sacrifice” be your nephew, or your niece, or your cousin? Were you created to be another person’s political sacrifice? Or did your mother go through excruciating pains of delivery of you to die for another person’s child (politician) during election time? Will this kind of death develop Liberia?
The political environment described above is the kind foreign business people in sale of arms wish for. They are set to ship AK-47s, M-16s, or other weapons to Liberia. Like they did during the country’s civil war years! Always wishing for—or fueling political conflict—in politically immature countries, like Liberia, to import their products. Will you create this kind of political environment for your beloved country this year? Are you one of these “political sacrifices”? Your answer will be seen in your action—one of those mentioned above.
The “persons,” as used in the caption, refer to people’s characters.
This article is just my “imagination” of the “actions” by one person or group (the offender) and the “reaction” by another person (the defender) in Liberia’s legislative and presidential elections in this year (2017)—as it were in similar ones in previous years. Far from being a PREDICTION.
About the Author: Samuel G. Dweh, a journalist, fiction writer and author, is an indigene of the Wedabo tribe of Grand Kru County of Liberia, and a member of Liberia’s two writers’ groups—Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberia Association of Writers (LAW). He can be reached via: (+231) 886-618-906/776-583-266; [email protected])