A Patriot’s Diary
With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley
The small West African nation is due to go to elections in October. The National Elections Commission’s (NEC) preparedness is fragile. The Elections Governing body has deployed staff to execute the Voter’s Registration exercise without incentives. What are we supposed to expect of performance vis-a-vis commitment. This is not merely about love for country. The BVR staff have families to fend for though.
But the President is consumed by globetrotting as it were. We are faced with a leadership void. Amid crucial elections, especially with a little over five years on the throne, President George Weah remains rudderless! Weah wants to continue or perhaps extend his cluelessness. That is only like when the same elections that brought him to power are effectively organized and superintendent to be free, fair and transparent.
We seem not to be taking a cue from history. Successive elections have always been marred by challenges culminating in legal tussle. The 2017 polls were challenged by the late Cllr. Walter Brumskines’ Liberty Party (LP) with support from the Unity Party(up), the Alternative National Congress (ANC) et al. Despite the dissenting opinion of former Associate Justice, Kabineh Janeh, the Supreme Court ruled that the claim of irregularities was insufficient to overturn outcome of the October 2017 presidential elections.
As part of its ruling, the Honorable Supreme Court mandated the National Elections Commission to scrupulously clean up the bloated voter’s roll among others. Barely six years on, NEC is yet to act accordingly. Mind you, we are racing for another general and presidential elections in October.
Meanwhile, NEC, at the same time remains inundated with elections-related litigation, which it has not been able to address appropriately. Senator James Biney and Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), a constituent member of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is embattled and reportedly fired by a fraction of the party’s Executive Committee. Strange, how some political parties’ constitutions. Biney has run to the Supreme Court while making representation to the NEC. The Electoral Body is yet to decide in such a matter that has the propensity to cripple a democratic transition.
Liberians, particularly opposition supporters appear weary over the continued delay by the main opposition leader, Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Baokai to name a running mate. Making such a decision is not like eating candies. Ambassador Baokai’s choice for VP ahead of the October is not only strategically crucial but incredibly sets the tune for votes-wooing, campaign realignment and massive grassroots mobilization to win hearts and minds across the country.
Pundits believe that in light of Liberia’s ongoing cum unfortunate political quagmire, coupled with the imperative or a re-energized dynamism, whoever becomes Baokai’s preferred choice must come to the table with what its takes to unite a divided country, help to heal the wounds, must be a choice of integrity, accountability, transparency and an epitome of good governance and the rule of law. Perhaps it is those qualities that Ambassador is reckoning for which he is treading cautiously and meticulously. The ball is in the former Vice President’s court as the stakes seem to be very high.
Recent violent events in Montserrado County District #10 point to worrying signs of imminent elections-prone violence. Supporters of the ruling CDC candidates were reportedly brandishing clubs and machetes and firearms – attacking and brutalizing supporters of Representative Yekeh Kolubah in the district. Amid the violence, police were seen standing idle shamelessly making no intervention. Neither NEC or the Liberia National Police has condemned the violence.
The Americans have named a new Ambassador to head its Mission in the small West African nation. A former Peace Corps Volunteer who previously served in Liberia. He replaces the man popularly referred to as “What would J.J. Roberts have to say?