Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf: Looking Strong in Early Results

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
November 11, 2005


Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Liberians voted quietly yesterday in the runoff election in a bid to choose a leader who will resurrect the country after 14 years of brutal civil conflict that destroyed this West African country. Turnout was not as good as in the October 11 elections. The runoff is between soccer legend George Weah and Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf otherwise known as the “Iron Lady”.

We visited several stations yesterday, but the turnout was a bid discouraging. The line I saw this morning for MoneyGram money transfer was longer than the lines at most of the polling stations. The process that took some people 6 hours on October 11, took just a few minutes yesterday. Some found a good excuse for the poor turnout: “the people want to cook before they come to vote.” But what about the men who do not usually cook?

Last night, Star Radio started announcing the unofficial results from few polling stations. Liberians were glued to their radios to here how their respective candidates were doing. Some of the first results came from Zwedru, Grand Gedeh where Mr. George was receiving about 95% of the votes. Partisans for Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) started jubilating when they learned that George Weah was doing great in the city of Zwedru. But the atmosphere changed in just a few minutes when results from Buchanan, Paynesville, Bomi, Ganta, Harper, etc. started coming in. These results quickly moved Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to the top. In Maryland, it looks like the "oldma" is running faster than the soccer legend: Ellen is said to be have beaten the soccer King in Maryland. With 65 of the 106 centers in the county reporting, she has received 57% of the votes according unofficial reports. According to the unofficial report, she has won Harper and Pleebo. She is also great in parts of Grand Kru bordering Maryland.

Though these results are not official results from the National Elections Commission, frustration was visible in the faces of CDC supporters throughout Monrovia today. They are pray for a maricle! For Unity Party (UP) supporters, it was the opposite.

“The right candidate, the qualified candidate is winning. When you are UP [Unity Partisan] you are up. When you are not UP you are down. Ellen is greatest lady in Africa, in fact in the whole wide world and she was born her in Liberia. All Liberians must be proud of her,” said one of her supporters who was rejoicing on Broad Street.

Finger-pointing has already started at CDC. Some of the members blamed the politicians who joined CDC after the first round of elections for spoiling the party’s chances. Winston Tubman, Varney Sherman, Togba-Nah Tipoteh and others pledged their support to CDC after the October elections when it was clear to them that they could not make it to the next round. Some CDC members even feel that the soccer King abandoned them after these politicians joined him. “There is no longer free meals”, one member complained on Broad street.

Many politicians did not join Ellen due to what many see as “if I can’t get it, you will not get it mentality.” They accused these politicians of putting personal greed over nationalism.