The 2017 election has many things to consider. In one of our Editorials during the campaign, we emphasized that crowds were not a determining factor for winning an election.
This happened at the time when pulling huge crowds was giving politicians the feeling that they had already won the election. It may be recalled that during the launch of the Liberty Party (LP) campaign, the political leader, Charles Walker Brumskine, was so optimistic as to admit, “By all means, we must win this election.”
Provisional results coming in, however, are showing that Brumskine may or may not win third place. The huge crowds had deceived him by receiving his T-shirts and maybe money.
There were overwhelming endorsements here for Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, to the extent that he urged partisans of the Unity Party (UP) and other sympathizers to vote and have a one round victory to save money for other things instead of a runoff.
Again, results are giving George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) the lead, thus giving CDC partisans the hope that they have already won the election.
In fact, when UP launched in September, the entire Monrovia was locked, prompting Boakai to shed tears of joy. With the huge crowds seen at that time, UP partisans and sympathizers are becoming frustrated that instead of “Think Liberia, Love Liberia and Build Liberia” to win the minds of Liberians, “Change for Hope” is rising high in the results so far.
Presidential candidates are not the only contestants facing disappointment from voters in this election. Representative candidates seeking reelection and wanting to be elected are also in the game.
Liberians are becoming very skeptical in electing candidates. A candidate is nowadays x-rayed on the basis of his/her past performance. After purchasing T-shirts, bags of rice and other things to convince voters, many candidates especially those seeking reelection, have been voted out for what voters consider “Poor performance” on their part.
Some who felt their education and experiences could take them through are now thrown out and replaced by the least educated ones.
Since politicians have become adaptable to giving out cash for votes; voters use the money and disappoint the candidates in the end.
Cash for votes is also dangerous for voters. After spending his/her money, remember, a victorious candidate who ascends to the Legislature will reimburse whatever was used to win, and development fund will not be accounted for.
Trucking voters from one place to the other on Registration and Election days has become customary in our electoral system. During the voter registration exercise in February, aspirants went about transporting people here and there, and this caused people to leave their constituencies to go to another area, thus leaving their districts sparsely populated.
This does not only lead to victory for a candidate that the residents in that district may not prefer; it also causes reduction in the voter turn-out in the event of a runoff, eclipsing the chances of one presidential candidate or the other.
Now that both politicians and voters have developed the techniques to deceive each other, let our politicians improve by living tomorrow’s life today.
Be honest and sincere to tell voters what your job requires and how well you will do it, instead of making promises that you do not have the means to fulfill.
Keep voters’ expectations reasonable. Fulfill promises you make and explain to voters the workings of government instead of keeping them in suspense.
Voters, on the other hand, should properly evaluate candidates on the basis of their knowledge of the job and the potential they have to do it well, instead of looking up to politicians for money and T-shirts.