I'm cautiously optimistic about the modified Electoral
Reform Bill being passed by the National Transitional
Legislative Assembly. The pressure from Liberians
and the international community must remain unabated
to ensure utter adherence to the Comprehensive Peace
I read with delight Theodore Hodge's excellent article
on the controversy surrounding postponing the October
elections [To Speaker George
Dweh: "He Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune
Dec. 7, 2004]. It was right on target. I would encourage
more Liberians to use the resource provided by Mr. Hodge
to fully comprehend the significance and expectation
of the CPA. The CPA document, signed by all parties,
is intended to eventually end hostilities and bring
lasting peace to a war-weary nation.
The presidential election of October, 2005, is crucial,
and in a way a precedent, one in which many Liberians,
it's assumed, will actively participate in electing
the right candidate. While I applaud the men and women
of the NTLA for their good deeds and sacrifices so
far, I'm at discord with this body regarding a delayed
election. At this moment in history an anticipated
election outweighs a census. Thus, a scheduled October
election is the pragmatic approach we, all Liberians,
should support and readily adopt.
The CPA is a legal contract that binds all signatories.
What progress would this country have achieved if
Article XX 1.b - The Interim Period [The vice president
shall assume duties of the current president for a
period not beyond October 14, 2003] had not been implemented?
Reneging on a legal document, such as the CPA, will
fuel our incessant and inevitable need to rely on
international community, especially the United States,
in ensuring basic governmental responsibilities and
The national and global implications are obvious:
Because a postponed election is perceived as a tantalizing
exercise by most Liberians and the international community,
many Liberians will be less sanguine about any election
setback. Our drive for perhaps the most historic,
free and fair elections seems to be punctuated by
unnecessary stress, like the uncompromising and belligerent
nature of some NTLA members who are in a unique position
to facilitate a long-sought election.
A scheduled election is a window of opportunity that
must be utilized to the fullest. Many industrialized
nations, including the United States, who are poised
to bankroll many projects in Liberia do not have the
perennial patience. Also, a postponed election may
have unintended consequences, such as precarious investment
opportunities. Wealthy investors and multinational
corporations planning to do business in Liberia may
adopt a wait-and-see attitude, thus stagnating economic
There's also a transitional cost to postponing the
October, 2005, elections. It's not going to be all
hunky-dory. The transitional cost, while we await
a census, will drain aid or money (grant, loan, etc.)
that would have been allocated for reconstructions
projects. Some questions to be considered: What mechanism
or authority extends the life of the NTLA? Who funds
the NTLA during the transition, primarily salaries
and logistics? Who's going to fund the census project
in its entirety? There are many more questions and
unknown, maybe unfavorable, scenarios if we choose
to have this much-anticipated election hindered.
Another inadvertent consequence of a delayed election
is undoing the incredibly remarkable United Nations'
accomplishments so far, including disarmament and
demobilization of warring factions, a key step, which
has paved the way for more successes in the offing.
It is fair to say the former rebels need rehabilitation.
Who's going to provide other services, job training,
and actual employment for these men transforming into
civilians? During the transitional period if these
issues are not addressed, a high rate of recidivism
is guaranteed. Certainly, evil-minded individuals
will be emboldened to exploit the absence of a stable
and permanent administration.
I would hastily concur about a census idea were we
in a normal circumstance. Moreover, the stakes are
high, as this rare opportunity may slip away right
before our very eyes. Owing to Liberia's resurgence
and future challenges, it is imperative we elect a
leader with enormous political dexterity and substantial
governmental experience to assure the international
community of our fervent desire and resolve to rejoin
an evolving global environment. This is indeed a crucial
period in our history. Foregoing a census will not
significantly impact the slated October election.
Dionysius Sebwe (former player of Lone Star)