By: Pah Chea Youlo
Who Is The Jonah?
After the 2005 general and presidential elections that brought Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Iron Lady of Liberian politics to power, there was peace in the country. Although, relative hardship and suffering persist, Liberians are afforded the opportunity to sleep and rest in peace.
As the saying goes ‘it is better to eat your dry cassava in peace then to eat gravy in sorrow’, Liberians accepted the condition, while praying vigorously for God to give them a good leader.
The Iron Lady, whose government is termed as the most corrupt government in Liberia’s history, has won the hearts and souls of many Liberians for the high level of free speech she permits in the country.
We Liberians are quick to forgive and forget. Just imagine, with all the killings, looting, rape and mayhem that went on in the country during the heydays of the civil unrest, Liberians went to the polls and voted for the perpetrators.
Today, those who supposed to be in The Hague answering to war crimes charges are at the helm of state power and are plundering our resources for they and their children while the victims continue to live in abject poverty.
For the sake of peace, in 2011 the political leader of the mighty Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), when the electoral process was being unscrupulously manipulated, instructed his partisans and supporters to boycott the run-off election and stay home.
Interestingly, all CDCians obeyed and stayed home peacefully and the Unity Party shamelessly won the run-off on white ballot. Unity Party partisans and supporters jubilated as if to say the election was free and fair. CDCians accepted the defeat and took the bitter pills for the sake of peace and tranquility in Mama Liberia.
Honestly, after the so-called Liberia world-war I, II and III and the subsequent elections of 2005 and 2011, Liberians have enjoyed peace, freedom of speech and movement. Madam President is highly credited for this giant side of leadership while George Weah is credited for accepting the result twice for the sake of peace.
Hence for twelve years, life was going on well – government officials riding big cars with ‘gas stations’ in their pockets and no price control; businessmen crying in the hands of the Liberia Revenue Authority for high taxes; market women busy hauling goods from here and there with no good profit; foreigners at government ministries and agencies and buying our lands; qualified Liberians roaming the streets and kicking dust in such of jobs; exchange rate skyrocketing; students going to school daily on empty stomachs; and Liberia Electricity Corporation supplying ‘Christmas light’; yes life was going.
Indeed, Liberians accepted the condition with the hope that come October 10, 2017, they will decisively vote for change. On October 10, 2017, registered voters turned out in their numbers and cast their ballots. Subsequently, the National Elections Commission (NEC) announced the results which put the Coalition for Democratic Change and the Unity Party in a run-off after all twenty of the presidential candidates failed to obtain 50% plus 1 vote of the total votes cast in keeping with the elections law.
According to NEC, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) got 38.4%, Unity Party received 28.8% and the Liberty Party received 9.6% of the total votes cast. After NEC released the results, some local and international observers including the Carter Center and the European Union Observers claimed that the elections were free and fair. The run-off day was set for Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Liberians became very excited to see history in the making – a peaceful transition; and to have a former president living in their midst.
While waiting anxiously for the run-off election day, Liberians were literally singing and jubilating for a change in a new Liberia. Surprisingly the Liberty Party political leader filed a Writ of Prohibition to the Honorable Supreme Court for the suspension of all electoral activities leading to the run-off election.
The reason, according to the political leader of the Liberty Party is massive fraud and other electoral irregularities. Also in a BBC interview, Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine said that the National Elections Commission did not seek approval from the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) before awarding contract to the CETIS D.D for the supply and delivery of Ballots and Elections Forms. But this allegation was strongly disproved by the independent authoritative Heritage Newspaper (we say bravo for a job were done).
This was shocking news. But first it was overlooked and termed as filibuster. When the Supreme Court granted the writ and ordered the National Elections Commission to put a halt to all electoral activities and conduct an investigation into the Liberty Party’s complaints, a cross-section of Liberians became disenchanted. Many hopes were dashed. As usual, rumors began to circulate saying that there is an interim government in the making; some say when the investigation by NEC does not satisfy the Liberty Party, it (the Liberty Party) will definitely ask the Supreme Court to nullify the October 10, 2017 elections and ask for a re-run. These rumors are actually putting Liberians on the ‘edge’. To add fuel on fire, the Liberty Party is requesting the recusal of the Board of Commissioners.
As the drums continue to alarm, some defeated presidential candidates in the October 10, 2017 elections have asked the Liberty Party to drop the case and allow the run-off to proceed in the interest of national unity, peace and reconciliation, but to no avail.
According to information, pastors and other well-meaning Liberians are appealing to the Liberty Party to accept the results as was done by the Peace Ambassador, now Senator George Manneh Weah of Montserrado County during the 2005 and 2011 presidential run-offs. But the learned Counselor says no; he will leave no stone unturned in his quest for transparent justice and fairness in the elections results.
While the world watches Liberia keenly on the outcome of the Brumskine’s ‘massive fraud’ claim and whether Brumskine will persist on a re-run and recusal of the election commissioners, fear continues to grip our people as the rumors escalate. Some rumors have it that if the complaints of the aggrieved party are not properly addressed, ‘it will not be easy’. Knowing the meaning of ‘it will not be easy’ in the Liberian setting, our people are presently living in fear because they are aware of our past.
While businessmen and women hold fast to their money in fear, the press is also playing its part as headlines like: Dark Cloud Hangs Over Liberia; Troubling Revelations; No Elections Under Ellen Government; Run-Off Election In Limbo; Liberia On Pause; and so on, are sufficient to put fear in the Liberian people.
When Liberty Party succeeded in putting a halt to the run-off process, the ruling Unity Party, the second runner up, joined the delay tactics and followed by other presidential candidates who failed to obtain 1% of the total votes cast. This is ridiculous and an affront to our people.
You cannot hold the entire country hostage for no apparent reason. Some of these presidential candidates who are causing unnecessary delay of the run-off have participated in 2005 and 2011 elections and were defeated. How come they are so particular about this 2017 election? Some have told the Liberian people that they would never take part in Liberian politics when they failed in the 2011 elections. How come they are participating in these elections? Is it because they want to cause confusion in our country again?
We want to inform these trouble makers that our country is indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Their attitudes have revealed that actually, they don’t love our country but love the presidency. Because they love the presidency so much they do not care whether the masses are suffering or not; they don’t care whether businesses are on a go-low because of the postponement of the run-off; they don’t even care whether some people are about to leave the country or have left already because some egomaniacs are putting self-interest in place of national interest; they don’t care whether there will be a constitutional crisis should their complaints take long to address.
We wish to inform those who want to prolong the run-off process that they are not doing well for our country. Liberians are about to make history – first peaceful transition after the civil crisis; those seeking unnecessary in the run-off are shouting the door to national peace, unity and reconciliation. The people have spoken through the ballots. Those asking for rerun, recount and recusal are causing unnecessary delay and suffering to our people. Today, the exchange rate is US$1.00 to LRD126.00 because of the election crisis. What is the problem?
Liberia is rocking viciously like a boat in a storm. Our country is been held hostage in economic terms. Prices are skyrocketing. Liberians are suffering. Surely, we are in a rocking boat. Who is the Jonah?
In Biblical times, Jonah was sent by God to a city to tell the inhabitants to desist from immorality and serve the living God properly. Instead, Jonah refused and planned to run from God. He entered a boat that headed away from where God sent him. As the boat sailed away, it engulfed in a vicious storm that put the boat on capsizing or collision course.