The countrywide mid-term senatorial elections held on the 8th of December, 2020, indeed sent chills down the spine of Liberia’s ruling establishment, headed by President George Manneh Weah.
The outcomes of the elections have shown us that Liberians are gradually gaining political consciousness as they are no longer prepared to give out their votes to any politicians in exchange for material or financial gains.
Indeed, the senatorial elections are a classic example of how the Liberian masses are wary of giving the state power to anyone or any group based on the regressive practice of receiving inducements from politicians to ascend to elected public offices.
As shown in the campaign period then, there was massive spending of money and other resources by power-seeking politicians, including the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidates, to induce voters to cast ballots in their favor.
Multiple media reports then highlighted the anti-democratic practices, which were often linked to politicians and their foot-soldiers or apologists for disproportionate influence, power, and money.
Many enlightened citizens, including civil society, pro-democracy, and rights activists, encouraged potential voters: “When they bring you money for votes, take it and eat it because it is your own money and vote against them.”
For example, in Montserrado County, the senatorial candidate for the ruling CDC party, Thomas P. Fallah, was openly engaged in massive disbursement of the newly printed LD 500 banknotes that earned him the nickname: “ATM Machine.”
Multiple Videos on social media showed Fallah dishing out vast amounts of the LD 500 banknotes to people in anticipation of winning their votes but to no avail. He could not even win the Montserrado County district where he currently resides.
Interestingly enough, many top CDCians blamed Thomas P. Fallah for their defeat at the polls.
However, the fact of the matter is, Rep. Fallah is not to be blamed. We should squarely put the defeat of most candidates of the ruling establishment at the feet of the leadership of the CDC-led government.
The ruling party does not need to spend a dime to win any elections. For the past three years, its style of leadership is enough to determine whether or not it commands the respect of the vast majority of the citizens of the Republic to give them a vote of confidence.
It brings us to the question: Could there be room for improvement? This is a million-dollar question that President George Manneh Weah himself can only answer.
Mr. President must be seen putting his house in order. He must give back the Liberian people their country by bringing onboard qualified and trustworthy Liberians to help him manage the affairs of our country void of party affiliation or county of origin.
One of the biggest missteps of this administration is the indisputable fact that everything is centered on the CDC party. There are competent and experienced Liberian professionals at home and in the Diaspora who could help put this country back on track and ensure a functional economy, thereby reducing the biting hardship on our people.
Liberia should not be a party property but rather the property of the Liberian people. Mr. President, half of your six-year presidential term is nearly done, and you have not even been to the United States of America on a State Visit to lobby with Washington to help our country.
RULE OF LAW
The RULE OF LAW determines the greatness of every country. In every country in the world, there are criminals and lawbreakers; the government’s willpower to identify and prosecute such lawbreakers makes that nation a great country.
We need a country of laws and not of men. How could the ruling party have won, when about two months to the Mid-Term elections, five professionals of our integrity institutions were allegedly murdered under the watchful eyes of the government? Up until now, there has not been a proper investigation of the matter.
Moreover, three promising young men of this nation surreptitiously disappeared into oblivion. The Liberian National Police have not made any arrest for proper investigation.
The relatives have accused St. Moses of the missing men of their disappearance. Yet, up to date, he has not been arrested for any investigation as it appears that solid hands are shielding him as he parades around the Liberian society nonchalantly with impunity.
There are so many examples of incidents under the watchful eyes of this administration without proper investigation. The Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia seems more potent than the Minister of Justice. Frankly, suppose adequate caution is not instituted. In that case, some of the actions of the Solicitor General may slide the hard-earned PEACE the Liberian nation is enjoying back into our recent past of violence and lawlessness. Justice cannot be selective, and all must enjoy justice and fair treatment under the law of this land without discrimination. The absence of guns is not peace but rather the presence of JUSTICE.
In a few months, the country will be gearing up for general and presidential elections. To effectively conduct such massive elections, proper mechanisms must be put into place with international guidance and supervision.
I say this because many citizens strongly believe that the Mid-Term Senatorial election held in December of 2020 was poorly conducted. The backlash is being felt in our country with claims and counterclaims about not being accessible, fair, credible, and transparent.
Over seven months since the country conducted those elections, some of the winning candidates are yet to be certificated and seated.
The issue of the certification of the Senator-elect from Lofa County, Mr. Brownie J. Samukai, is a classic example that has made our judicial system a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community and civil society.
The Supreme Court mandated the National Elections Commission to certificate the Lofa Senator-elect and the NEC officially communicated with Mr. Samukai to come to the NEC offices at 11 a.m. The following day to be certificated.
Senator-elect Samukai made the necessary logistical preparations for the program, only for the same Supreme Court to halt the entire process. Is this not a mockery of JUSTICE?
The National Election Commission needs to put its house to strengthen its credibility and maintain much-needed public confidence.
Suppose a certain amount of money is needed to conduct an election, and the said required amount is not made available by the central government. In that case, the NEC should refrain from conducting such elections to avoid inconveniences. The NEC must exercise its power of independence void of political influence from the government via the Executive or any branch of government to prevent chaos and instability in the country. This is my candid view of the NEC. A hint to the wise is sufficient.