Did Liberian Voters Reject George Weah Candidacy?


By J. M. Addy

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 20, 2005


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By a three to one margin, Liberian voters have rejected George Weah as a viable candidate for president of Liberia.

With nearly ninety percent of the votes cast counted as of Sunday, October 16, 2005, George Weah has received 30 percent of the votes. This means that by a 3 to 1 margin, the majority of Liberian voters are rejecting George Weah's candidacy for president and embraced competence and substance over celebrity, popularity and illiteracy.

The results posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 by Liberia's Elections Commission indicate the combined votes (31.7%) of the next top two presidential candidates (Sirleaf and Brumskine) are higher than George Weah's (30%). Similarly, the next five highest vote getters in the first round election exceed Mr. Weah's vote by nearly 2 to one (53.4% vs. 30%).

These top five candidates (a Harvard-trained economist, two Harvard-trained lawyers, another leading Liberian lawyer and former senator, as well as two other candidates with earned doctorate degrees in different disciplines) by virtue of their education, training and relevant experiences, accomplished in their respective pursuits are likely to offer better leadership prospects and deliver needed development results for Liberia than Mr. Weah.

Other relevant observations can be made about Mr. George Weah’s candidacy from the first round election results. Mr. George Weah is not a national candidate. Mr. Weah loses by significant margins Bomi, Bong, Cape Mount, Garpolu, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Maryland and River Cess. Mr. Weah commanded absolute majorities in only two counties, Grand Gedeh (88.1%) and Grand Kru (50.5%); he wins River Gee by less than 50 percent. In other counties such as Sinoe, Monsterrado and Nimba, the combined votes of the next two higher vote getters exceed or are nearly equal to Mr. Weah’s. Here is how they stack up.

County George Weah Combined Votes of the Next Two Top Ranked Candidates

These election results suggest that George Weah is a weak candidate with very little national appeal and does not enjoy the majority support of the Liberian people. In every county other than Grand Gedeh, Grand Kru and River Gee, candidate Weah failed to garner more than 45 percent of the vote. In key counties such as Bong, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba, he gets lets than 25 percent of the vote. In Lofa, he fails to make the top three. And as the table above indicates, in counties where he leads marginally, the combined votes of the next two top candidates exceed candidate Weah’s.

Message to Candidates

Having examined the qualifications of the candidates in the highly contested race for president, the message of the Liberian voter is they desire candidates of competence and substance. The Liberian voter is unmistakably telling Liberia’s political leaders that they will unite behind a candidate with the requisite skills to build a solid foundation for Liberia’s future in the next six years.

Given the serious problems that Liberia faces for its recovery, the implications of the elections outcome for West Africa's regional stability and international security, top candidates like Charles Brumskine, Winston Tubman, Varney Sherman, Joseph Korto and Togbah Tipoteh must accurately interpret voter sentiment and carefully consider the message of the Liberian voter and their next steps in uniting behind a candidate for president of Liberia.

Brumskine, Tubman, Sherman, Korto, Tipoteh and others must consider Liberia's need for a competent and qualified leader who is capable of commanding international respect, who understands the language of development, the challenges of running a country and can work with Liberia's international partners to lay a solid foundation over the next six years for Liberia's recovery. These candidates must do the right thing by responding to voter sentiment and make a choice that will foster genuine democracy in Africa and not undermine the galiant effort of Liberia’s international stakeholders and partners sacrificing to help Liberia turn the corner.

This is the chance for Brumskine, Tubman, Sherman and Korto to show that “educated” Liberians can use their education to do what is in Liberia’s best interest and secure the nation’s future by giving the Liberian people the best qualified team during the runoff elections.