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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid