News / Africa

Opposition Supporters Back Boycott of Liberian Presidential Vote

Polling agents count ballots for the Liberian presidential election at a polling station in Monrovia, October 11, 2011.
Polling agents count ballots for the Liberian presidential election at a polling station in Monrovia, October 11, 2011.

Liberia's main opposition party says it may not take part in Tuesday's presidential vote because the electoral commission is not fair. Electoral officials say the vote will go ahead as scheduled despite threats of an opposition boycott.

What is going to happen in Liberia Tuesday depends on who you ask.

Founding members of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change say the party will boycott a run-off election against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf unless all its demands are met. Those demands include a recount of ballots from the first round and an entirely new electoral commission divided equally between the CDC and the president's party.

But advisors to party candidate Winston Tubman say the former justice minister is still considering taking part in the vote. He is a relative newcomer to the party and angered more senior officials when he said this week that there would not be a boycott.

So what do party members think the CDC should do? Mary Musu wants to go to the vote, but only if its fair.

“I want for the people to be fair to the party because they have not been fair from the beginning," said Musu. "The election commission has not been fair to this party, and that is the thing that has brought the problems.”

The CDC says electoral commission chairman James Fromayan manipulated vote counts from the first round to give the president the lead. Fromayan resigned Sunday saying he did not want to give the opposition an excuse to boycott the run-off.

Party member Eaton Marshall says it is not about Fromayan but about the president trying to steal another term in office after he says she was fraudulently elected in 2005.

“Everyone thinks that CDC is the problem," said Marshall. "But we are not the problem. We gave our conditions and our conditions should be met. We are wanting that Ellen give way, that CDC leadership can come to power because in 2005 we won the election, and we accepted the result that was against us. Now the people have spoken again and we see a whole lot of fraud in the elections.”

Election observers from the Carter Center and the Economic Community of West African States say problems in last month's first round of voting did not affect the outcome.

CDC member James Songar says party supporters will make Liberia ungovernable if President Sirleaf tries to force through a second term.

“This is a revolutionary process. And we are stating to the world that we are revolutionists," said Songar. "And in the process we want transparency. And if Ellen forces her way to become president, definitely she will encounter problems. She will encounter future problems.

Lovette Dennis says there will be no election in Liberia on Tuesday.

“One person can't go for election," said Dennis. "So why would you say there will be an election on this coming Tuesday. How will it be? We don't want them to take advantage of us because Ellen is the ruling party, so they want to take advantage of the other people. It will not be fair.”

The electoral commission says there will be a vote Tuesday, and President Sirleaf will not be the only candidate. Because Tubman finished second, he is on ballot papers that have already been printed.

CDC member Archie Sannoh says he realizes the vote will go ahead as scheduled and the electoral commission will likely declare President Sirleaf the winner. But he says there is value in boycotting a vote that is not fair.

“It will help us because it will show to the world that we were cheated and our complaint was not listened to," said Sannoh. "So then we save our protest for future occurrence. Because when the world sees that a country that is going to democracy, one president can not go for election. It will jeopardize the democratic process of the country.”

Unopposed on the campaign trail, President Sirleaf says she hopes all registered voters turn out for the poll because that is their constitutional right. She says her opponents are trying to confuse voters by pretending to boycott the run-off election while actively campaigning behind the scenes.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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