This Christmas 2017 is unique for many reasons. It is one of the closest, if not the closest to Christmas, than any election in Liberian history. No one expected the presidential runoff to be so close to Christmas.
We understand that even the Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Jerome Korkoya, tearfully pleaded with the powers that be not to have the runoff so close to Christmas, but they insisted that it must be done. Only time will tell why the insistence.
But despite all the foreboding-the menacing presentiment (fear) that surrounds these elections most especially reminding us of what happened in 1985 and 1927, when the elections those years were horrendously rigged, let us never forget that the God who planned the Virgin Birth and gave this sinful world a Savior, Jesus Christ, is still in control.
No matter what evil machinations the powers that be may have planted to ensure that these elections go their way, God is still in control. Remember, He could have ordained another way to save humankind, but chose the brutal crucifixion of His only begotten Son to achieve that, raising Him from the dead in three days. The evil politicians, both ecclesiastical and governmental, who plotted to kill Jesus and went on severely to persecute His disciples, did not succeed in extinguishing the church. It has endured, survived and prospered for well over 2000 years since the crucifixion and continues.
Remember the hymn ‘God Moves in a Mysterious Way, His wonders to perform.’ Two lines in that immortal hymn say,
“A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone.”
In other words, tyrants think they have the whole world in their hands, but they are wrong. No matter how viciously (maliciously, wickedly) they plan and plot and contrive (cook up, scheme, fix) these elections, should they succeed in rigging these elections in favor of the candidate of their choice, it is only for a while, which they themselves do not know how long.
Take some of the contrivances that went on, beginning in the early hours of the poll yesterday—a National Elections Commission (NEC) worker arrested after being found attempting to stuff into the ballot box already pre-marked ballots; the discovery of pre-marked ballots bearing the NEC stamp on the front face of the ballot, whereas genuine ballots have the stamp placed on the back of the ballot; the removal, on orders of NEC Chairman Korkoya, of Isaac Zahn, deputy in charge of NEC Data Center because of his failure to cooperate with Korkoya; and IT experts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) denied access, by Chairman Korkoya, to the NEC Data Center.
But who is to blame for all these sinister contrivances? Nobody but our Supreme Court, which first failed to look seriously into the complaints of Unity Party (UP), and even the earlier charges by Liberty Party standard bearer Charles Brumskine regarding the massive irregularities and fraud that occurred in the first round. And thirdly, without first ensuring that its own mandate had been fully executed by NEC, the Court went ahead and approved the December 26 runoff.
Now look what happened yesterday—miserably poor turnout throughout the country. Have our people lost confidence in the electoral process? Is that what Ellen is leaving us?
Will UP, in the event of discovering another massive fraud in yesterday’s runoff—a runoff that was totally premature—will UP have the confidence to return to this Supreme Court for any redress? We think not. UP had better run to the ECOWAS Court in Abuja.
We fervently appeal to all the local and international observers, including the Elections Coordinating Committee and those of the African Union (AU), ECOWAS, the European Union (EU) and the Carter Center, not to be perfunctory (unthinking, token, passive and superficial) in their “observations” and proceed hastily to declare the runoff “free, fair, transparent and credible.” They should remember the embarrassment that these same “international observers” faced in Kenya, only hours after they had declared those elections “free, fair and transparent.”
Remember what we recalled in an Editorial last week—that the 1927 elections during the King administration led to the Fernando Po Crisis in which Liberia almost lost her sovereignty; and the 1985 elections, which led to the 14-year civil war.
But here again we quote Edwin Barclay who, in his brief but prophetic poem, noted that people never learn from History. “Her symbols,” he says, “man misreads in every age, and garners thence, but legacies of pain.”
Whatever President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Chairman Jerome Korkoya’s NEC come up with in the coming days, should it not be credible, just and transparent, we can be sure will not stand the test of time. And who will be responsible? Who else but Ellen, her NEC, her Chairman and Commissioners and her Chief Justice and Supreme Court?
Will this be their Christmas gift to us? It may turn out to be not only unique, but ominous (menacing, threatening).