“Oh how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity . . .”
This biblical acclamation is an affirmation of the importance of people uniting for the fulfillment of the common good.
This important collaboration for the successful conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in October is what we are seeing between the Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, and the Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Counselor Jerome Korkoyah.
Liberia is now at center stage. Our people at home and in the Diaspora, the sub-region, the entire African continent and the whole world are witnessing how we conduct ourselves in this important exercise which can either throw a nation into chaos or catapult it to a new level of advancement, development and progress.
Some of our neighbors recently passed their test of political transition with flying colors. Another, The Gambia, because of one man’s intransigence, had to be pulled back from the brink of violence so that its courageous and peaceful citizens could be helped across the finish line to rebuild their country. Those helpers, including our own President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are stakeholders of peace who worked together astutely and resolutely for the common good of The Gambia and the sub-region.
So, Liberia, this is our time. None of us can fall asleep at the wheel. Elections are a collective responsibility and action, and can reap collective trouble or collective benefits. It is not “those people’s thing.” The authorities must be determined to shepherd the process fairly, utilizing honestly the resources leveraged by the tax payers and the international donors. The citizens must play their part by enthusiastic participation in the process, their vigilance and by holding officials and themselves accountable.
The NEC cannot blink until this election is completed. Chairman Korkoyah and his personnel must be efficient, transparent and see their responsibilities as a patriotic duty to the nation. NEC must continue to form alliances and partnerships with any entity that will help to ensure the success of these elections.
In pursuit of his constitutional responsibility, Chairman Korkoyah wrote to his brother, Internal Affairs Minister Tokpa, appealing to him to engage the County Superintendents, Paramount and Clan Chiefs, the people who are in charge of the Liberian interior, to help spread the all-important message of voter registration for the ensuing 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
Cooperation between these two important GOL institutions is critical to the success of the forthcoming elections because this time, ALL Liberians 18 and above MUST register to vote if they desire to exercise their franchise in choosing the next President of Liberia and their legislators for the House of Representatives.
Those who registered to vote in 2005 and 2014, respectively, MUST re-register, because the 2005 and 2014 voting cards are no longer valid.
This is the all-important message that NEC is depending on Minister Tokpa, his Superintendents, Paramount and Clan Chiefs to get across to their people throughout the country.
Last week, in response to Chairman Korkoyah’s request, Minister Tokpa convened a meeting of all Superintendents and other Interior officials and mandated them to spread the word throughout their respective jurisdictions, urging their people to come out and register to vote.
Nothing is more important than that in these coming weeks. All of us must join the effort to promote voter registration up to the deadline on March 7, 2017.
We commend these two public officials for this patriotic manifestation of unity and cooperation in this crucial mission.
By the same token, we appeal to ALL Liberians to heed the call and turn out in large numbers to register to vote. By so doing, we will prepare ourselves for full participation in this historic and patriotic action of choosing our next
President and also new members of the House of Representatives.
As Election Day approaches, we must keep admonishing each other not to vote for money, or bags of rice. Vote with your consciences to elect that person whom you truly and honestly believe to be the best one to lead Liberia in the next six years. Vote also for the best persons who will represent you in the Legislature this time around.
Do not vote for anyone who stole the people’s money and converted it to his or her own use. We have more than enough evidences of such corruption. Remember how a Montserrado County Superintendent lost her job after she proved that Representative Edward Forh attempted to get her involved in the corrupt misuse of County Development Funds.
Do not vote for anyone who you know has done little or nothing in their jobs or elective offices. Yes, there are people with overwhelming popularity who have tremendous following. But ask yourselves and ask them what have they done in those elective offices? If you cannot find anything they have done in two years, what will they do if elected to positions for four or six years?
Another early warning is in regards to some highly educated people who are fooling certain individuals to run for the highest elective office when these educated people KNOW FULLY WELL that these individuals are not qualified for the positions they are being pushed to seek. What, then, is the motive? What are these educated people trying to do to our country by trying to push into office politicians who are not qualified?
It is incumbent on every Liberian to play an effective role in all of the campaigns—presidential and legislative—to ensure that the process is not corrupted and that the right people are elected to lead our beleaguered (long-suffering, troubled) country forward.
For the good of Mother Liberia, let us all get out in these coming months and DO IT TOGETHER—elect those who are MOST QUALIFIED to lead us!