Liberian Selfishness Spoiled Our Election

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Who remembers our Staff Writer, Lindiwe Khumalo, who few years ago wrote the article, “Liberians Are Stupid Because They Are Selfish, and Selfish Because They Are Stupid?

Tuesday’s Liberian election, one robbed of seriousness and excitement, was a typical manifestation of the truism of that article.

Here is a tiny African country of barely 4,000,000 in which almost everyone wants to be president.  Accordingly, we had 20 presidential candidates, most of whose names nobody heard in the vote counting!

Take Simeon Freeman, a fairly  successful businessman, who for many years has sought the presidency in vain.  Why?  Because each time he has gained absolutely no traction.  Did anyone hear his name in Tuesday night’s vote counting?  So what was the point in running?

When we, out of love for Simeon and respect and appreciation for his television business, DSTV, advised him to quit politics and concentrate on improving and expanding his business, he took serious exception and threatened to take his former employers, the Daily Observer,  to court!

He forgot that we are a media institution that has since our establishment in February 1981, championed Liberian businesses and bitterly complained about the foreign dominance of our economy.

Let us now take a look at the pathetic litany of presidential candidates that participated in the elections—all 20 of them:

  • UREY, BENONI WILFRED – ALL LIBERIAN PARTY (ALP)
  • CUMMINGS, ALEXANDER B. – ALTENATIVE  NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC)
  • MCINTOSH, WENDELL J.E. – CHANGE DEMOCRATIC ACTIONS (CDA)
  • WEAH, GEORGE MANNEH – COALITION FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (CDC)
  • WILES, ISAAC GBOMBADEE – DEMOCRATIC JUSTICE PARTY (DJP)
  • COOPER, OSCAR – INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE
  • KPADEH, ALOYSIUS WILLIAM – INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE
  • MATOR, YARKPA JUWUR N. – INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE
  • COOPER, MACDELLA B. – LIBERIA RESTORATION PARTY (LRP)
  • SANDY, KENNEDY GBLEYAH – LIBERIA TRANSFORMATION PARTY (LTP)
  • FAHNBULLEH, JR. HENRY BOIMA – LIBERIAN’S PEOPLE’S PARTY (LPP)
  • BRUMSKINE, CHARLES WALKER – LIBERTY PARTY (LP)
  • JOHNSON, PRINCE Y. – MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONSTRUCTION (MDR)
  • JONES, JOSEPH MILLS – MOVEMENT FOR ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (MOVEE)
  • FREEMAN, SIMEON C.M – MOVEMENT FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE (MPC)
  • TUIDER, WILLIAM WIAH – NEW LIBERIA PARTY (NLP)
  • DWEH, SR., GEORGE SLUWEH – REDEMPTION DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (RDC)
  • WENTO, MACDONALD A. – UNITED PEOPLE’S PARTY (UPP)
  • BOAKAI, JOSEPH NYUMA – UNITY PARTY (UP)
  • WEAPOE, JEREMIAH Z. – VISION FOR LIBERIA TRANSFORMATION (VOLT)

Among these, there were not more than seven whose names were heard in the counting by the National Elections Commission Tuesday night.  They were UP’s Boakai, CDC’s Weah, LP’s Brumskine, ANC’s Cummings, MDR’s Johnson, MOVEE’s Jones and ALP’s Urey.  The other 14 were lost in oblivion.

The question that immediately arises is why did not most of these parties form coalitions and reduce themselves to two or at most three parties, and run credible campaigns?  The simple answer: each wanted to be president of Liberia—why?  To eat, or at least to smell the ever drying grease left in Mama Liberia’s breast.  Is that not what, with very few exceptions, most Liberian  Presidents since the 1920s have done?  It was Charles Taylor who said that the quickest way to become rich is to become president of Liberia.

Most of the 20 candidates have told the Liberian people nothing about why they want to be president.   And how many platforms have we seen? Very few.  Why? Despite our repeated calls for platforms, most of these candidates have provided none.  Why?  We figure it was because they did not want to commit themselves to any promises that they had no intention of keeping.

Now with their dismal performance at the polls, it remains to be seen how many of these candidates will attempt to join with one credible party in order to form a winnable coalition.

At this point, we pray for three things: first, that one formidable coalition will be formed to create a credible and electable winner of the presidency.

Second, that those parties which become part of this coalition will work tirelessly until victory is achieved.

Third, we pray that this 2017 election will FINALLY teach us  Liberians three lessons: that everyone CANNOT be president; that one does not have to become president to serve or help his or her country; and that we should stop making ourselves the laughing stock of the world by foolishly pretending that all of us can become president.

Let this be the very last time that we canvass more than two or, at most, three candidates running for president.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Another little part of the equation is, some of these so called presidential candidates, are propping up their resumes for inside and outside prospective jobs, as well as create some false sense of importance to lobby a government job.

  2. Good submission but I dare to say not in the spirit of democracy. What determine candidacy for an electoral post in a democratic system all over the World is the Constitution. The candidate you feel are not qualified to run for the presidency must have satisfied the conditions stipulated by our grand document – the Constitution. We must rather encourage more people to participate in the process and so prevent a situation where few people would hold the rest of us to ransom in election year. Ransom in the sense that anywhere the results goes they win to our detriment. We should rather encourage those whose names did not come up during the announcement of results to go back to the drawing boards and re-strategize for another day. Congratulations to all participants in the various elective posts and congratulations to all the electorates.

  3. The most selfish Liberians are those so-called ‘educated’ & ‘enlightened’ job seekers who are pushing a playboy footballer with no clue of governance to lead the oldest independent African Republic, with the ex-wife of an imprisoned warlord on top of the bargain, after our regional brothers and sisters and international partners had helped us get out of warlordism and a pariah status God help Liberia and it’s ill-informed and ignorant youths.

  4. Is it stupidity or is it a learning process in perfecting our newly found Democracy? I think with all the problems Liberian voters encountered in this election, we are learning the democratic process as we mature.

    As many Liberians tried to exercise their constitutional rights in this highly competitive and overcrowded 2017 election, this rigorous voting process should serve as a learning curve for future elections in Liberia.
    There were many flaws encountered by frustrated voters who arrived four to five hours early just to cast their votes.

    Some of the problems encountered were:

    Some polling stations in the interior were inaccessible due to impassible roads.
    Some Voters were not well informed of their designated polling stations or precincts. Therefore, voters wasted valuable time in finding the right polling precincts.

    There were lack of assistance for the disabled, elderly, and also lack of translators for Non-English speaking voters mostly in the rural arears.

    Too many presidential candidates (20) made this 2017 Election and voting process long and tedious for NEC to adequately administer.

    Some polling precincts opened too late instead of the stipulated opening time of 8:00 a.m. thus causing many impatient voters to leave without voting.
    Some Polling stations closed around the stipulated time of 6:00 p.m. while so many people were still waiting to cast their votes.

    How do we rectify these problems for future elections? Here are some suggestions:

    The voting population has increased exponentially, and will continue to increase as the next presidential and legislative elections become competitive.

    Rectify our election laws to limit the amount of political parties to the maximum of five political parties. This will save the country enormous among of money preparing for the first round with few candidates, and also, save money on costly run-off elections. That money saved could be used for social and economic development.

    Voters’ education should be done two years prior to the general election and continue until it reaches the length and breadth of Liberia. This will minimize voters’ confusion during elections.

    Increase the amount of voting precincts to accommodate the increase in newly registered voters.
    Polling stations should be opened on time for 12 hours: 7 a.m. until 7p.m. to accommodate people who were in line before the cut off time.

    As Liberia advances, in the future, let’s accommodate early voting and electronic voting to reduce the long lines.
    Have interpreters in all Liberian native languages to assist those who are not familiar with English. Also, make room for people with disability and the elderly so they too can exercise their constitution right.

    Political parties should be made to pay U.S$10,000.00 as security deposit if they intent to rally or demonstrate in the principal streets of Monrovia and other major roads around the country: this money is to pay for police protection, for road blocks/traffic gridlocks, and the inconveniences caused to businesses and the public. Political rallies should be held at ball parks (football stadiums), party headquarters and rented venues.

    The Legislators should revise our election laws to move election from the rain season October, to the dry season. This will cut down on the logistical nightmares of impassable roads during the wet season or else fix the roads!!!

    Overall this is learning process. Those 20 presidential candidates running for president are not to blame. Blame our Constitution. However stupid it may look having 20 presidential candidates, there is always room for improvement in our racist and outdated Constitution.

    Liberia has come a long way from war to peace. If we do have a run-off, which is most likely, I hope members of the losing parties join in to have a high voters turn out.

    May God bless our Democracy and the next president of Liberia. I pray that he puts God and Liberia first before his egos.

  5. My Friends, this is the product of our society. If we want credible leadership, then we must work to change our society. we can start now, we have the next 6 years to build up an electorate that is educated and understands the importance of development and love for country . Let’s accept the results of the elections and work together to build a better nation for all. ” in union strong , success is sure”. may God continue to bless Liberia and guide us these next six years..

  6. Before deciding to run for the Presidentcy, a serious person should fist ask himself whether his chance of winning is more than reasonable, because a presidential race is not a game of chance. That is, an election is a throw of a dice in which a person tries his chance.

  7. All that is needed is simply a change of minds set by Liberians in a well balance and positive direction.
    Everything that were said in the above article do bring us back to a point that Liberians are not judgmental. In other words, ” in union strong , success is sure”, Comes only when minds sets are changed to alined relevant ideas with good motives.

  8. The NEC can easily push us towards this by increasing fees charged to form and operate political parties. This will force people to pool resources (human and capital) together.

    • I am sure the cost of having these elections and presidential runoffs is higher than what is collected from the political parties operating in the country. They are literally leaching resources that could be used for other purpises.

  9. I’m not sure if you know what you are talking?
    I, Mator, one of the Independent Candidates (MSc, Sr Geophysicist, Sr Mech. Engineer, Ricem Farm Engineering, Sr. Computer Engineer), will never support any uneducated president. The majority of people running in Liberia’s pass/present elections do NOT have the education this nation needs. I did not show up because campaign time was too short; never campaigned.
    Notes:
    1) Liberian home/international are almost 100% functionally illiterate; whole society completely backward.
    2) I, as an Engineer have reduced our native rice farming time from 12 months to 3.5months which has a $15+ billion dollars potential; for the initial harvest. This massive finding has NOT excited any Liberian Journalist to interview me.

    Yes. God bless stupid Liberia; they burned everything in the country, there is NO system in the country!!!. We the knowledgeable should stay out?

  10. Coalition is a more plausible answer to the proliferation of parties and individual ambitions that we witnessed in this election. That, compared to the recommendation that the NEC ought to limit the number of political parties. The latter would be undemocratic and unconstitutional. How about the number of individuals contesting for legislative slots, will those be limited too? In some instances in the past election for example, more than 10 persons from the same small districts ran against each other thus, pitting families against families, friends against friends and so forth. But like someone observed earlier, each election circle provides a learning experience in itself for us, something we could obviously extract from for future elections. Hopefully we learned the need for teamwork, collaboration, coalition, merger as sure paths in future elections. As for the pending runoff election, we better lay aside the same selfish interests we are castigating our politicians about and entrust our country to the rightful leaders. Otherwise we will be more condemnable than those politicians.

  11. We have Senatorial election scheduled three years from now, there should be plans for
    a post election engagement for lessons learned to be applicable? Liberia continues to fail because she fails to plan.

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