News / Africa

    Voting Underway in Liberia as Opposition Boycotts Poll

    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and incumbent leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a resident's home after voting during presidential elections at her home village of Fefee outside the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.
    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and incumbent leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf sits at a resident's home after voting during presidential elections at her home village of Fefee outside the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.

    Voting is underway in Liberia's presidential run-off between incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and former justice minister Winston Tubman.  The president is poised to win re-election in a poll that has been marred by an opposition boycott, and a clash between police and protesters that killed at least two people.

    Voter turnout in the capital was light for this run-off.  

    During last month's first round of voting, large crowds gathered outside polling stations long before they opened. Most of the classrooms Tuesday at the G.W. Gibson High school were empty, with poll workers resting their heads on desks.

    Getting out the vote

    Solomon Abu Massah came out to vote and encouraged other Liberians to do the same.

    "It is necessary, and it is my right to vote. And actually, I am putting my country first. With the help of the international community, nothing  will happen in our country, so that is why I am free to come and vote. And I am even asking other Liberians out there to come and exercise their right," said Abu Massah.

    A Liberian woman casts her ballot during presidential elections at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.
    A Liberian woman casts her ballot during presidential elections at Klay town just outside the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.

    Gifty Sadee came to vote for President Sirleaf because she said she would not be intimidated by the opposition boycott.

    "I came out to vote today because I know it is my right to vote, and I voted for who I know can lead this country," said Sadee. "I had no fear because I know that international security is here and nothing will happen."

    UN peacekeepers keep watch


    U.N. peacekeepers guard the National Electoral Commission, where a banner reads: "This election is not a war."

    Peacekeepers remained outside the headquarters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change overnight, following Monday's deadly violence between protesters and riot police.

    United Nations [UN] peacekeepers patrol in their vehicle during Liberia's presidential election run-off, along a street in Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.
    United Nations [UN] peacekeepers patrol in their vehicle during Liberia's presidential election run-off, along a street in Monrovia, Liberia, November 8, 2011.

    When a police van arrived at opposition headquarters Tuesday, it was met by an angry crowd shouting "No Police." Nigerian peacekeepers asked the police to leave, and they did.

    Wilson Boakar is boycotting the vote because he said President Sirleaf is trying to steal this election after sending riot police to kill her opponents.

    "You see that the turn out is very poor because our people are mourning. After all, Liberian people have died. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf just won a Nobel Peace Prize," said Boakar. "Someone who won a Nobel Peace Prize should understand that the price of power would not supersede the interest of peace."

    Violence erupting

    Because of Monday's violence, Mary Gongar said the president's opponents do not feel safe enough to vote.

    "I can not vote because Ma Ellen brought war on us, sent the troops to come and kill us. So I am not in peace to go vote," she said.

    Liberian riot policeman drag away a commander who fired live rounds while storming the compound of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change headquarters in the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 7, 2011.
    Liberian riot policeman drag away a commander who fired live rounds while storming the compound of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change headquarters in the capital Monrovia, Liberia, November 7, 2011.

    After the rioting, Liberian police closed three opposition radio stations, including Kings FM, which is owned by Tubman's running mate, former football star George Weah.

    Alexander Beahdieh, the news director of Kings FM, said, "At about 11 o'clock last night, the police authorities, armed men, the ERU personnel marched onto the station, shut the station down, put our reporter on gunpoint and then ordered him to sign a paper that, according to them, they took from the Justice Ministry. This is terrifying. We are now running for our lives. We are afraid because we can be picked up at any time by security forces."

    National police spokesman George Bardue told VOA the radio stations were not closed arbitrarily. He says police were acting to enforce court orders issued late Monday to preserve public order.

    Tubman is boycotting the vote because of what he says is electoral fraud. President Sirleaf says the boycott is unconstitutional because it encourages Liberians to give up their right to vote.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora