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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More