A Patriot’s Diary
With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley
The bubbling euphoria of political campaigns cannot be overemphasized. It doesn’t really matter where on planet Earth it is taking place. Liberia’s first-ever politically intense campaign was witnessed in 1985. prior to 1985, what took place as elections under the True Whig Party hegemony was a sham.
The True Whig Party successively presided over pseudo-democratic elections that did not allow our people to make the kind of choices considered civilized in democratic elections. After more than 133 years, all the True Whig Party could account for was creating a society of meaningless class bigotry. After mindlessly mortgaging the country’s natural resources without any attendant dividends – we’ve got absolutely nothing to show. Such was our sad history if you may.
But Liberia has moved on though. Not much to compare given 176 years of national existence. Politics has always been replete with dishonesty and a total lack of patriotism as it were. The people (masses), at whose expense, long, boring and often nostalgic philosophical platitudes become a pendulum. After every six years, we hear the same recitations configured to cajole the masses into believing there’s hope on the horizon.
While 1985 must have seemed a missed opportunity that later emerged catastrophic for the nation and its people, it will equally go down in history as a monumental opportunity that saw Liberians freely exercise their franchise to decide in a theatre of political control and national governance as it were.
In 1985, we saw all manner of crowds. There was no such thing as trucking or inducement. The people were interested in the message. They had become fatigued by the trappings of an autocratic military brouhaha that had polarized the nation. In the end, the birth of a genuine democracy progressive elements risked their lives and died for became squandered miserably.
Despite the huge ambiance of insecurity that occasioned 1997 hastily imposed ECOWAS-backed Special Elections, again, we saw enormously overwhelming participation on the part of Liberians to end the nightmare of self-destruction and misery. Those polls were largely free in light of increased cum diversified participation but unfair due to unequal access and uneven playing field. The aura of quasi-disarmament coupled with the psychological propaganda war of a return to conflict if Taylor did not win forced many Liberians into coercion to vote in the absence of a sound mind, body and soul.
Then came 2005 and 2011, we brought an ever-increasing momentum into Liberia’s political equation. Increased awareness, the advance of social media and a legislature colored by diversity paved the way for strengthening the democratic development processes. A vociferous, vibrant and aggressive main opposition kept the ruling Unity Party on its toes to deliver on account of the social contract entered into with the people. But 2005 and 2011 introduced the newfound ‘crowd rental, trucking and induced crowd’ variable into the Liberian political realm. This strategy is not a recipe for sincerity that can translate into votes-winning outcomes.
2017 was entirely another peculiarly obfuscating political anti-climax for most Liberians. But the electorates had decided and although they are reeling from their miscalculation, such is the craze of elections tucked in sentiments rather than votes-winning based on ‘hearts and minds…’ 2017 trekked the path of vote inducement, trucking and crowd rental.
While these schemes seek to impress instead of convey the existing reality, 2023 presents an entirely different matrix. The ruling establishment has blatantly shot itself in the leg. It is the opposition that will be in the business of scrambling for the votes from a disenchanted electorate to unseat a useless regime.