As Liberians Go to the Polls


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October 11, 2011 is the much-awaited date when Liberians are expected to, once again, demonstrate their commitment to democracy by electing, through the ballot box, their national leaders including the person who would occupy the nation’s highest office, the presidency.

 

Indeed, Liberians are also expected to demonstrate a high sense of political maturity in choosing the best, from among more than a dozen equally qualified individuals of impeccable credentials and moral acumen, woman or man, who would steer the ship of state in the next six years, towards the fortress of stability, peace, progress and sustainable democracy.

 

The entire world is looking at us as a nation, to see if we have truly come of age. This means we have to shun violence in all of its forms, and remain fully engaged with peaceful elections, as we demonstrated in 2005, about six years ago.

 

This will sustain our nation on the path of genuine democracy, like other civilized countries of the world such as Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, just to name a few.

 

As we go to the polls in October, we must be reminded that in every competition there is always a winner. Therefore, anyone or political party that emerges from this electoral process as a loser must accept the outcome, which may be the expressed will of the Liberian people, who are the custodians of state power. We must also realize that the will of the people is the will of God.

 

  By the same token, those who are clothed with the responsibility to conduct the 2011 presidential and general elections must remain neutral, transparent and credible in the exercise of their duties. They must treat all candidates and political parties with high sense of fairness, at every stage of the electoral process.

 

This means that the playing field must be level, to maintain the trust and confidence of not only the candidates, but also about 1.7 million registered voters for the October elections.

 

If there is any failure on the part of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and other stakeholders to adhere to these words of caution, we fear that our dear country might slide back into our recent ugly past; may God forbid!

 

For us, we see nothing to suggest that the pending elections will not be free, fair, transparent and credible. Our position is against the backdrop of previous elections conducted by the National Elections Commission (NEC). One  classic example of elections conducted by the NEC that earned the Commission credibility is the by- election that was won by the opposition political party, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), which brought Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff to the National Legislature.

 

This is why we are calling on all political parties and other candidates to peacefully campaign by clearly explaining to the electorate what they will do, if elected, and how they will fulfill promises made in this campaign period.

 

Indeed, candidates and their supporters must rise above threats of violence. No one should be influenced by the illusion that if he/she does not win the elections, they would ferment violence. Liberians are not interested in violence of any kind. More than 14 years of violence has done no good to our country.  In the past fourteen years, violence only reduced us to the status of refugees, beggars, a pariah state, and a problem child in the comity of nations.

 

But since 2005, we have made significant positive changes politically, socially and economically in our country; and that has made us regain our lost respect and trust in the international community. We must, therefore, not reverse these gains.

 

Liberians are now moving on with their lives. From what we are hearing around town, a handful of individuals, for their own pecuniary gains, are threatening violence. If there is anyone or group with this evil agenda, let him/her desist at once for the good of us all.

 

Let us put Liberia first and vote responsibly. A violence-free election will earn us a more respectable place in the comity of nations, and keep the progress we have made so far for the good of this and succeeding generations.