We are a little disconcerted — confused really — and we are addressing the leader, who is ultimately responsible for what took place on November 28, 2014.
Our intent is not to insult the party, but to raise some very serious issues that, if heeded, could help the party solve its image problem by taking a long, hard look in the mirror.
Tens of thousands of partisans took to the streets of Monrovia on Friday, November 28 in a political rally held by the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). It was shocking, to say the least. There were a few problems. For starters, the obvious. Ebola is absolutely NOT out of Liberia yet. Nonetheless, Ebola awareness messages such as those warning against close physical contact were completely flouted as sweating partisans spent all day and half the night in the streets. Meanwhile, party leaders rode comfortably in an air-cooled Hummer Jeep to the Montserrado County capitol, Bentol, having out the entire country at renewed risk.
Secondly, there was absolutely no control. Party leaders seem to have issued absolutely no guidelines for the conduct of the rally. Commuters leaving work at 5 p.m. stayed in traffic for at least four to five hours — and that was deliberate. Partisans weaving through the traffic told drivers, “Yor sleeping on the road tonight!”
And then there was the utter profanity. Invectives we cannot repeat here were shouted in the hearing of commuters trying to get home from a hard day’s work, some with their children. Why was that necessary? Some partisans were seen returning home the following morning in the backs of pickups wearing hardly any clothes, looking completely trashed.
What is our point? Our point is that besides putting the entire country at risk, this legitimately tarnishes the image of the party itself, and on an international level. Party leaders are kidding if they think the international community was not paying attention. If the CDC wants to be taken seriously as a political movement, it needs to clean up its act with immediate effect — and that requires leadership. At the present, however, it seems leaders are amused and gratified as partisans run amok, showing of the strength of the party’s numbers.
We have some advice. First of all, the population of Liberia stands at little over four million. A few thousand partisans in the streets on any given day hardly represents the actual voting population. What are we saying? That elections are not just a battle for numbers but for hearts and minds. A political party with any chance of being taken seriously by stakeholders, the international community included, must focus on the issues and not make a sideshow of itself. Party leaders and partisans alike must be able to conduct themselves in a way that brings credit and not disrepute to the party. Otherwise, partisans and campaign managers will be more than happy to spend the money; but on Election Day, the thinking, more sober majority will absolutely be voting in the best interest of the country.
The Tea Party in the United States should be an example to the CDC. The numbers in the streets do not always tell the whole story.
Of course, there was enough blame to go around for what happened last Friday. first of all, the Legislature and the National Elections Commission should not have bowed to pressure to hold elections at such a critical hour in the Ebola fight.
Even though we at the Daily Observer editorially supported going ahead with the vote, we had hoped that the Legislature, the Executive, especially the Justice Ministry and its Security apparatus, and the National Elections Commission would have put in place specific and strict guidelines as to how the campaigns would be conducted.
Unfortunately, no such initiative was taken, and so the CDC and other parties believed they could do anything they wanted and so they did.
We now have to wait and see the Ebola fall out from all this. We pray that it will be minimal; but the outrageous flouting on Friday by CDC partisans of all the rules and measures put in place by the Health authorities has put the country at great risk.
We understand that the same thing happened in Ganta with Senator Prince Johnson’s rally.
These two popular political figures from hence forth should understand what Liberia is going through right now and advise their followers according to prevent a further spread of this deadly Ebola virus.
However, the Legislature, Executive and NEC should do that part to ensure that all the rules are strictly kept to save our country from the further spread of Ebola.