The level of election violence unfolding in Liberia
should be taken seriously. With all the frenzy, our
focus should be on the future of Liberia – and
that means electing a visionary with excellent leadership
experience, sound policies, and practical platform
messages to improve the lives of ordinary Liberians.
Liberians should be very greatly concerned about vigilante
justice, vandalism, and violence of some political
parties. In recent days, we’ve seen with horror
partisan violence engulfing our first democratic elections.
While violence is not unusual to general elections,
Liberians are once more witnessing and experiencing
another grim reminder of sham populists masquerading
as saviors of the masses.
Our most recent memory was the election in which Charles
Taylor’s supporters vandalized and threatened
opponents. The world, unfortunately, watched and down
played the impact the violence had on average Liberians
still recovering from various phases of posttraumatic
Democratic elections are characterized by peaceful
expression of one’s choice, not violence or
coercion as the CDC (Congress for Democratic Change)
would have us believe. The CDC’s incremental
violence - beginning with the bag of gasoline thrown
into the vehicle of the NEC Co-chairman to set it
ablaze, coupled with the subsequent vandalism of opponents’
posters and properties - is unacceptable. This partisan
vandalism is indicative of CDC’s leadership.
If appropriate security measures are not put in place,
this insanity could become a precursor to election
violence on a larger scale, escalating on religious
or ethnic lines considering our volatile security
situation. The Ministry of Justice and UNMIL should
increase troop level to respond effectively to any
sign of anarchists or mob violence.
The role of the media (local and international) and
political pundits is also critical to our fledgling
democracy, especially during this historic election.
CDC’s violence is the result of a seemingly
orchestrated effort by some individuals to narrow
the field of presidential contenders to compel the
electorates to make hasty, uninformed decisions –
a result of misguided conclusion based on flawed,
Premature decision of whom the major contenders are
has inadvertently given some candidates an illusion
of winning the presidency when campaigning is barely
two weeks old. It has no doubt emboldened the CDC.
Even so-called pundits engaged in this myopic and
dangerously imprudent conclusion do a disservice to
the Liberian electorate. Instead, media and credible
pundits should conduct a scientific poll with statistical
analysis showing reasonable margin of error of a candidate’s
chance of winning the presidential elections.
Moreover, creating unwarranted hoopla and jumping
to conclusion to define the presidential race between
two candidates (Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and George Weah
- when there are 22 presidential candidates) is disingenuous.
The chief culprit of this sensationalism and irresponsible
journalism seems to be a staff writer at the Times
of London, a reputable British newspaper; a mere staff
writer trying to bring disrepute to a prominent British
newspaper and influence our elections with unjustifiable
The subjective criteria on which his conclusion is
based are certainly baseless, irresponsible, and counterproductive.
The CDC has interpreted his overstatement as an entitlement
to the Liberian presidency; thus hijacking an election
that is supposed to be civil and peaceful. The average
Liberians are at a disadvantage in the entire process.
Liberia is an impoverished nation; however, its people
are not gullible, especially during this era when
the future of the country is at stake. At this stage
of campaigning, probably four or five candidates with
a statistical chance of winning the election should
be scrutinized. Or, maybe the Times of London staff
writer should employ electoral behavioral analysis
to reflect voters’ preference.
The campaign season has just begun, and for the sake
of a peaceful election, let’s allow the dust
to settle and see how the political process plays
out. This is certainly the best the media and political
pundits can do for Liberians. Anything less will undermine
a much-anticipated festive campaign season.
About the author:
Dionysius Sebwe is
a former player of Liberia Lone Star and President of