Tuesday's senatorial by-election runoff is generating enormous excitement in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
George Weah of the opposition CDC of Liberia
Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, the candidate for football legend George Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party will go against Clemenceau Urey representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party.
The seat was made vacant by the death of Senator Hannah Brent of the CDC.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia
In the 2005 presidential election run-off, President Sirleaf beat George Weah and went on to be president.
Some Liberians see Tuesday’s run-off election as a referendum on poverty, high unemployment, and corruption which they blame on President Sirleaf’s government.
CDC candidate Doe-Sheriff said that as senator, she will support laws to make corruption a non-bailable offense.
“The responsibility of a senator is to pass laws. Two of those laws that I want to pass, one, that corruption will be a nonbailable offense and the education opportunity bill that will empower our brothers and sisters to go to college after high school,” she said.
Doe-Sheriff said there can be no development when there is corruption at the highest levels of society.
Ruling Unity Party candidate Clemenceau Urey said the Sirleaf government has mounted a serious effort to fight corruption and that the critics either have no eyes to see or ears to hear.
“We know that there’s much more to be done as far as fighting corruption is concerned. But I think we are on the right path. I think anyone who says that we are not doing anything either have eyes and they cannot see ears and they don’t want to hear,” Urey said.
Urey said he decided to run for the senate because he felt it would be a vehicle to advocate for the less fortunate.
“Because of the challenges I had growing up as a child when I lost my father at a very young age, I came to Monrovia and I had to struggle to get my education. And many people were generous to me. And as a result of that experience I’ve developed the attachment for counseling and helping young people,” Urey said.
Doe-Sheriff predicted a landslide victory for the opposition CDC because she said there has been a collaboration of all opposition parties.
“The opposition political parties have come together under one umbrella asking for a change, asking for a new dispensation. The Liberian people have spoken and we as opposition we together as opposition bloc we are going to be victorious,” Doe-Sheriff said.
Doe-Sheriff could not say whether her party would accept the results if the opposition did not win.
She could only say that the ruling Unity Party should expect a tsunami on Tuesday.
“No one is going to win this election except Doe-Sheriff because Mr. Urey in his own right mind can never, never win an election against the opposition political parties. We are a tsunami, and we are the biggest bloc,” Doe-Sheriff said.
Some political observers see Tuesday’s by-election as a prelude to the 2011 general elections.