Liberians went to the polls on October 10, 2017 to vote in presidential and legislative elections. To ensure the credibility of that democratic process, participating political parties accredited and dispatched their representatives to monitor the process at every polling station around the country. These party representatives worked alongside international election monitors from reputable and experienced organizations in the business such as the Carter Center.
These elections, according to observers, were generally free and fair. But out of the 20 political parties that threw their hats in the race for the highest office of the land, none received the required 51 per cent of the votes cast to be declared a winner. Consequently and as provided by law, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced a runoff between the first and second place winners – the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of former footballer George Weah and the Unity Party (UP) of Vice President Joseph Boakai, respectively.
The runoff was scheduled to have taken place on November 7, 2017. However, that second round of voting was halted by the Supreme Court based on an appeal by one party which alleged that the first round of voting was marred by fraud and irregularities, a complaint that was and is still being looked into by the NEC. The Supreme Court is expected to lift the injunction after the NEC has satisfactorily completed its investigation and announced its findings. All of this is taking place within the confines of the law as it relates to conducting national elections in Liberia.
Regrettably, however, supporters and sympathizers of the CDC, under the illusion that they’ve already won the presidency, now see themselves heavily burdened by conspiracy theory, inarticulately inundating social media with outrageous and substandard posts such as the ones below, to the embarrassment and shame of the country they’re losing sleep to rule:
We are CDCians we are preparing WAR coming
fight again in Liberia your get ready if NEC and
Ministry Justice don’t give green light to
election runoff WAR will open again
In another post, a man claiming to be a supporter of the CDC and struggling to get his message through, calls on his comrades to attack the Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Jerome Korkoyah, and “burn him alive.” This is not a hyperbole, just in case anyone has the most infinitesimal of doubts as to the recklessness of the people behind the political party that may become the ruling party in Liberia.
If one plus one equals two, and if we know that to be true, then anyone can be his/her own soothsayer here. The sign post is clear. The problem is that we do not know whether people are reading.
But let alone the intent and contents of these posts. What’s even more troubling is the fact that no one knows the stance of the CDC’s standard bearer on the scare tactics his followers are injecting into our political discourse. Mr. Weah has remained mute on every issue since he declared his presidential bid. We don’t know how Mr. Weah intends to govern the country if he becomes president; we don’t know how he plans to tackle local issues such as the economy and national unity and security in a country still reeling from war. What about Liberia’s foreign policy objectives under a Weah administration? We just don’t know anything because the CDC top ticket candidate avoided every debate during the campaign and he has not given one news conference or granted a press interview since he announced his candidacy, leaving the rest of the country in limbo and sending off his supporters on a free-for-all media blitz, saying and publishing whatever they want.
We want to state here with emphasis that Liberia deserves better, Mr. Weah! Come from the shadow, not only to tell the Liberian people which direction you plan to take their country if elected president, but also dissociate yourself and your party from your chaos-driven supporters pushing the country to the limit. Don’t leave the country the impression that re-enforces the parable that “A little boy will never talk about making his farm on the mountain if he didn’t hear it from his father.”
About the author:
James K. Seitua is a former Editor of the Liberian Daily Observer newspaper
Editor’s Note: West African Journal Magazine is in possession of the actual video of the “incitement to violence” against the NEC issued by a person purported to be a supporter of the CDC but is choosing not to publish it due to its highly incendiary nature.