BY Adanna Uwazurike, 12:00am August 18, 2011,

Impact of Upcoming Elections in Liberia: An Analysis


 We have always been taught that a democracy is the best and most effective form of governance. The western world especially, has consistently tried to get other nations to “convert” to their way of governance, specifically in Africa where many nations were vulnerable. Though it can most certainly be said that democracy works much better than say, a dictatorship or rule by a monarchy, for example, like anything in this world democracy does have its problems.

As many African nations begin to grow and settle further into a democratic way of ruling a country, we are able to see the various issues that democracy can produce begin to show its roots.

 In Liberia, as the nation prepares for a referendum vote in late August, many are weary. Though it  is always a step in the right direction for the country to have elections on issues important to citizens many fear that the idea is a bet overreached, particularly during an election year. Also, getting people to vote on issues rather than people is always a challenge.

Impact of Upcoming Elections in Liberia: An Analysis

 Critics say voters have not been sufficiently informed of what the referendum is all about, and do not agree in holding one in an election year. Jerome Verdier, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, told IRIN: "You are holding two elections – because the referendum is like an election – just about the same time under an institution that doesn't seem to have the full capacity to conduct these processes, especially almost simultaneously. That is a recipe for conflict, for confusion, for chaos."

National Elections Commission chairman James Fromayan admitted it would be hard for some Liberians to engage in the referendum process, but civic education teams are doing as much as they can to inform the electorate. Civil education is a real issue for those worried about the political activeness of Liberians. Many people believe that citizens are removed from development issues or even see it as a waste of time.

 In the upcoming presidential elections, President Sirleaf's main contenders are the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) made up of Winston Tubman (nephew to William Tubman, Liberia's longest-serving president) and ex-FIFA footballer of the year George Weah, who lost out to President Sirleaf in 2005. Also gaining strength are Liberty Party candidates: politician and attorney Charles Brumskine, and Bong County Senator Franklin Siakor. President Sirleaf will be running for the Unity Party alongside vice-presidential candidate Joseph Boakai.

 In a democratic nation where various issues such as the state of the economy and general development of the nation are big issues, the attitudes of the people mimic the disillusion with government as with people of more developed nations. However, it is extremely important that the country does not let this attitude prevail and work extremely hard to reinforce what it means to be a citizen in a democratic nation.

When people do not take the initiative to exercise their rights or continuously inform themselves, even just minimally, about the state of their nation it is easy for those in power to completely take over—democracy or not. 

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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