Our President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her brief Tuesday evening broadcast to the nation, claimed that Liberia’s democracy and reputation are “under assault.”
She also called on Liberians to “continue to respect each other, the rule of law, human kindness and decency.”
The one thing we pray for is that she is not accusing Liberty Party standard bearer Counselor Charles Brumskine and other political parties and many citizens supporting them—that she is not accusing them of placing Liberia’s democracy under assault. That would be a travesty (mockery, pretense).
Let us quickly recall what has led Counselor Brumskine and his supporters to court. It had nothing to do with Brumskine coming third in the October 10 presidential race. Remember, he came third in the 2005 election, and did not go to court. His case has everything to do with the alleged massive irregularities that took place in the recent October 10 election.
First, the ballot stuffing in several places around the country, including District 4 in Nimba County, which led to a rerun of the Representative election. In Nimba’s District 8, there was a recount, and the incumbent Representative who lost in the first counting, won in the second. This was a glaring case of fraud on the part of the NEC staffers who conducted the election.
Second, the delay in the starting of the poll on Election Day which, according to Liberty Party, led to the denial of over a half million eligible voters to participate in the election. This was clearly a contravention of the Liberian Constitution, and the denial of those citizens’ constitutional rights.
Third, a man named Amos Siebo, who works in President Sirleaf’s office, was caught carrying out voters registration in his private home, a most serious contravention of the country’s Election Laws. Siebo was never prosecuted, and is back on the job in the President’s office. Where, we ask, is the “decency” in that? Did the President know about this outrageous and criminal incident? Just in case she did, what did she do about it in the interest of “decency” and “law-abiding”?
That is why we have chosen for the theme of this Editorial, “The Singer, not the Song.”
Fourth, all centers at the polling precincts were each supposed to have had 550 voters. But instead, there were in at least one center in Grand Gedeh County 1,500 voters in favor of the presidential candidate George Weah’s Coalition (CDC) for Democratic Change.
Remember the overwhelming number excess ballots brought in by NEC Chairman Korkoyah—a development that was seriously questioned by many, including this newspaper, Daily Observer.
Fifth, where was the decency, or more fundamentally, the ethics in the President’s holding a private meeting in her private home with NEC Magistrates and Commissioners? Or do we have a President who thinks she can do whatever she pleases, regardless of public opinion or the consideration of decency and propriety (modesty, respectability)?
Where was the decency or propriety in appointing a non-Liberian citizen to head the National Elections Commission?
Remember, what is most important in human affairs, whether political or otherwise, is “the singer, not the song.”
We come now to one of the most touching parts of the President’s Tuesday broadcast, “…We must continue to respect each other, the rule of law, human kindness and decency.”
Here, two poignant questions arise. First, did her private meeting with Election Magistrates and Commissioners not look like an “abuse of power”? Otherwise, why was the press not invited?
Finally, President Sirleaf’s call in her Tuesday broadcast for “human kindness and decency.” We quickly recall her treatment—or mistreatment—of not only her two-term humble, patient and loyally supportive Vice President Joseph N. Boakai; but also of the Unity Party (UP) that not only rescued her in 1997 when her own party, Liberia Action Party (LAP) rejected her presidential bid. Now what did UP do for Ellen? It fulfilled her presidential dream and carried her twice successfully to the presidency!
So how does she now, in the 2017 election, forget all that and ABANDON UP and its presidential candidate and her own Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai? Where, in this heartrending act of crass ingratitude, is “human kindness and decency”?
All of this points to the fact that President Sirleaf has more a part to play than anyone else in the “assault” on Liberia’s democracy.
The singer, not the song.