News / Africa

Liberian Opposition Calls for Election Boycott

A Liberian child stands in front of an election poster for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Liberian capital Monrovia, September 8, 2011.
A Liberian child stands in front of an election poster for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the Liberian capital Monrovia, September 8, 2011.

In Liberia, Monday is a day of reflection for voters ahead of Tuesday's presidential run-off vote between incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the former justice minister Winston Tubman. Tubman is calling on supporters to boycott the vote because of what he says is electoral fraud.

President Sirleaf says this vote is about a generation of Liberian children whose sleep and schooling have never been interrupted by gunfire. In a country still recovering from 14 years of civil war, she says that future is imperiled by an opposition boycott.

“We must cherish this peace," Sirleaf said.  "We must nurture it and ensure that our path is irreversible.  Mr. Winston Tubman has called on Liberians to give up their franchise, their right to vote.”

President Sirleaf says Tubman's boycott violates the constitution, ignoring the fundamental laws that Liberians have agreed to uphold.  Tubman says the president is misleading voters and distorting the constitution because people have the right not to vote.

!--IMAGE-LEFT-->

“There is nothing in our laws that compel Liberians to vote.  They have the freedom to vote or not to vote.  And to call upon them to vote or not to vote is no violation at all,” Tubman said.

Voters weigh in

So what do voters think about an election that is no longer a choice between two candidates and is more a choice between voting and staying home?

Bobby Gibson, a member of Tubman's party, says President Sirleaf is deceiving herself if she thinks Tuesday's vote will have any legitimacy.

“What will happen on Tuesday is that it will just be a merrymaking for Madame Sirleaf and her agents because they will just be going there, marching there to go and vote for themselves," Gibson said.  "But we will not be going there to vote for our candidate because we know that the process is not going to be transparent.”

Tubman supporter Leena Seah says she is not voting because the president broke her promise not to seek a second term.

“I am not voting.  Ellen's one is now finished," Seah said.  "We want for Ellen to step down because the one term has past.  So now now I am not voting."

Undecided

Vestor Bestman is a member of Tubman's party who admires President Sirleaf, but has not yet decided whether he will go to vote.

“A county coming from 14 years of civil war you don't expect to live on a silver platter.  We have to pass through stress and strains.  So she did well.  She is doing well.  She touched the health sectors.  She touched the education sectors. She touched the developmental sectors," Bestman noted.  "I must commend her for what she did.  I must applaud her and give her that respect.  I wish she could sit another term.  Then we could see how best our country will go forward.”

Sirleaf supporter Amelia Jones says the president has made remarkable progress in rebuilding Liberian infrastructure so soon after the end of fighting.  Jones says Tubman's CDC party has given up because they know they will lose.

“She made the country to be in peace.  She filled roads, water, current, and she made us to sleep sound.  CDC, to me, they gave up.  They can't make it.  We don't want him," Jones said.

The opposition boycott ensures the president's re-election. The question now is one of turn-out. The president's campaign is hoping for numbers that approach the more than 70 percent of voters who took part in last month's first round. The opposition says low turn out will undermine the legitimacy of her mandate and call attention to their claims of electoral fraud.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid