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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid