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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid