From all indications, the just ended Montserrado County by-election which was marred by violence and threats of the use of violence could very well be a dress rehearsal for the 2020 senatorial elections as well as Presidential and legislative elections in 2023. For the past weeks, the city of Monrovia had virtually been on edge as tension rose over the conduct and results of the election.
As it appears, the apparent loss of two legislative seats to the opposition is much too hard to bear for a political party whose mass following, it seems, has been taken for granted by its leadership. Since the formation of the Congress for Democratic Change (now the Coalition for Democratic Change) in 2005, it had never, until now, failed to attract the support of thousands of ordinary Liberians who would turn up at the polls in their numbers to vote the CDC into power.
But as noted in previous editorials, recounting Brazilian priest and educator, Paulo Freire, men and women, unlike animals who have no historicity, are not locked into a permanent one-dimensional today of which they have no consciousness and men relate to the world in a critical way apprehending the objective reality of their existence through reflection and not by reflex as animals do.
This truism can be discerned and is affirmed by the results of the just ended elections in which thousands of ordinary people, many of them professing loyalty to the CDC turned out in their numbers to cast their vote against the very party they once held dear and so close to their hearts.
For many of those who turned out to vote, they did so to express their disappointment and frustration with the seeming inability of this George Weah led government to address their concerns amongst which include growing insecurity, chronic unemployment, rising costs of living spurred by the rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar and perhaps above all what the public see as runaway corruption from the highest to the lowest level in government.
The trend indicated by the vote count strongly suggests that the CDC is gradually losing its traction and the mindset of its leadership appear stuck between a yesterday that is rapidly losing relevance and a tomorrow that is gaining traction. Coming to terms with such change is perhaps what the CDC leadership finds immensely discomfiting.
And not surprisingly, its chairman Mulbah Morlu as well as its Youth wing chairman, Jefferson Koijee, have repeatedly flagged their intention to reject the rerun of the District 15 elections as ruled by the NEC Chief hearing officer following a probe into reports of fraud and irregularities at 20 polling places in District#15 elections
As a matter of fact, Koijee had earlier publicly declared that “they”, meaning the ruling CDC, will not stand idly by in the face of threats to their “Democracy”, a statement which is left open to wide ranging interpretations including threats of violence.
And the fact that the Liberia National Police has tended to display open bias and partisanship in its law enforcement duties suggest that such threats of violence and its use against political opponents will go with impunity and this does not bode well for sustained peace and security in Liberia.
As always, this newspaper has unfailingly warned against the use or threats of the use of violence and has equally called on all parties to eschew hatred and violence in favor of the ballot box, being guided by the bitter experiences of the prolonged civil war and vowing never again to return to the past.
It is in this light that the Daily Observer, once again, calls on all sides to respect the decision of the electorate as expressed at the ballot box. The defeat suffered by the CDC against Dillon in the senatorial election as well as what promises to be a likely win for Urey in the prescribed provisional rerun of the District#15 election, should constitute a wake-up call to President Weah and the CDC to begin forthwith to chart a new course before it is too late.
There is too much at stake here and the leaderships on all sides of the divide should never allow sentiments to becloud their reason. There is no need, absolutely no need for CDCians to resort to violence to resolve political differences. If, as claimed by the CDC, that its candidate, Abu Kamara is genuinely popular amongst the people of District#15, then what can explain their apparent reluctance to do a rerun of the District #15 elections?
In the view of this newspaper, President Weah now has the challenge to turn adversity to prosperity, so to speak. As is often said, men become wiser by adversity and that, if you desire to make a difference in world, you have to be different from the world.
What this means is President Weah should take charge and lead, doing so from the front. If he desires to make a true difference, then he has to be different from those sycophants who appear to have surrounded him, leaving many here and further afield with the impression that he is being managed by them.
The loss of the Montserrado County and the probable loss of District#15 seats are not and should not be the end of his life, neither that of his presidency, as some are reportedly nudging him into believing. President Weah still has a solid 4 years left on his tenure which, if he strongly desires, could provide ample opportunity to “turn adversity into prosperity.
As the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “Remember that is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore, avoid undue elation in prosperity or undue depression in adversity”. Has this been the case with our national leadership?
It is now high time for introspection Mr. President!