The die is cast, the Senatorial elections, Representative by-elections as well as the referendum will proceed as planned at least according to the NEC chairperson, Davidetta Browne Lansanah.
This has been reinforced by Minister of State Nathaniel McGill who has reiterated that the referendum will go ahead as planned. For the record, this referendum is proceeding ahead despite the stay order placed on it by the Supreme Court.
But there is a major concern surrounding the elections which appears to not have been addressed. At this point, with just eight (8) days left to the elections, there is no update on the clean-up exercise of the Voters Roll (VR).
The law requires that the Final Registration Roll (FRR) be published and displayed at all polling centers for public vetting.
It can be recalled that a team from ECOWAS had come to Monrovia recently to assist the NEC in the clean-up of the VR. During the 2017 elections a team from ECOWAS was also here to assist in the clean-up. Despite best efforts on its part, the team was however, unable to complete the task.
That prompted the parties to take the matter to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in their favor and accordingly mandated the NEC to clean-up the VR before the conduct of the run-off election.
To the consternation of the opposition, NEC simply disobeyed the mandate of the Court with virtual impunity. And it did so with what was widely believed to be the approbation of the executive (President Sirleaf).
Three years later today, the same problem persists and amid the palpable tension, it appears more likely than not that the elections will be conducted on the basis of a flawed Voters Roll. Judging from experience, it appears that this is a certain recipe for trouble.
Already there is great uncertainty surrounding the outcomes of the December 8 election that the results may be rejected by the opposition on grounds that the results lack legitimacy in view of the Supreme Court’s stay order.
The danger is, the national leadership appears bent on pursuing a course of action whose outcomes may prove undesirable and or untenable.
Somehow, according to a former security official (identity withheld), they appear to be fixed in a delusional mindset that emboldens them to take uncalculated risks believing they can ride roughshod over anyone who stands in their way.
According to the security official, this was the same kind of mentality exhibited in the behavior of top officials of the Doe and Taylor governments.
Doe believed in the supremacy of his 7,000 strong military-equipped with armored vehicles and an array of heavy weapons including Katyusha rocket launchers and long-range heavy artillery but he eventually learned some hard lessons in very hard ways.
As for President Charles Taylor, he apparently believed that he had the perfect solution to Doe’s shortcomings. His answer was to create a huge military organization built on fear and absolute loyalty to him alone.
And for years he held sway over virtually the entire country wielding absolute power, executing at will his enemies or any of his following perceived as a potential rival. He was the “Lord Surpremo” fixed in a delusional belief that he was the best Liberia had to offer.
But history placed a check on his lordly ambitions and today Charles Taylor sits out his last days in a British jail cell, shut off from society. And despite this being recent history, it appears that its lessons are lost on this current national leadership.
Sycophancy, lies and deceit appear to be defining characteristics of officials of this government, says a former long-serving Liberian diplomat who currently resides outside the country.
In a telephone conversation with the Daily Observer over the weekend, the former diplomat expressed strong disappointment over what he is says is the fawning and servile attitude of officials of this government.
Characteristic of their behavior, according to him, they have fed and continue to feed President Weah with blatant falsehoods that in just three (3) years he has proved to be the best leader ever of Liberia when they know in their hearts of hearts that such is simply not true.
But apparently President Weah believes them and has on a number of occasions publicly declared that in just three years he has done more for Liberia than any President in its history.
This, according to the former diplomat, is unfair to President Weah because his officials are simply setting him up for failure because of their inordinate greed.
Perhaps, President Weah does not realize the enormity and gravity of the situation at hand. The country’s economy keeps going from bad to worse and there are no signs of a turnaround in fortunes anytime soon.
The Liberian people have waited three (3) years for the promised economic upturn which is yet to come and they are becoming restive. This is because things are getting harder by the day.
Schools are about to re-open and many parents are gravely worried that they may not be able to send their children to school aside from other worries such as food and medicines.
Additionally, Liberian dollars are in short supply on the market although the government has printed billions of Liberian dollar banknotes which they have in storage. Old and mutilated bills are instead being recycled.
This has created an artificial appreciation of the Liberian dollar against the US dollar. And prices, rather than going down are instead rising by the day.
Truth be told, the managers of the economy led by Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah have failed miserably.
And instead of taking responsibility for the failure, they are casting false blame on perceived enemies and contriving shenanigans to distract public attention from their failures.
One of such shenanigans, which now appears to be playing center-stage, is the “second term” bid when the first term is still three years to completion. President Weah has to be careful, else he may end up making the same mistakes as his predecessors. And history will judge him harshly if he does.