Home Editorial Our Hope For 2023: Free, Fair, And Credible Elections

Our Hope For 2023: Free, Fair, And Credible Elections

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A little over five months from now, specifically in October this year, Liberians are scheduled to elect new national leaders including the President of the Republic and Members of the Nation’s bicameral Legislature comprising the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Representatives (Lower House).

The pending elections are in line with provisions of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which call for, among others, the election of new national leaders after every six years.

Precisely, Article 83 (a) of the Liberian Constitution says: “Voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.”

The first six-year tenure of incumbent President, George Manneh Weah, would constitutionally expire in January next year (2024).

Per the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which is also the Organic Law of the country, incumbent President Weah has the right to seek re-election for another six-year tenure.

Article 50 of the same 1986 Constitution states that “The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President who shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia. The President shall be elected by universal adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday in January of the year immediately following the elections. No person shall serve as President for more than two term.”

Already, there are signs that incumbent President Weah would seek re-election, as his supporters across the country including officials and members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), have been showcasing what they call his Administration’s “massive development achievements” since the former global soccer icon ascended to the Liberian Presidency, and since the country became an Independent Republic on the West Coast of Africa.

The pro-regime advocates often reference the building and /or pavement of more road networks and other infrastructural projects relating to housing, education, healthcare, youth and women’s empowerment among many others.

They maintain that the CDC-led administration remains resolved in transitioning the Liberian Nation towards the next level in terms of rapid socio-economic growth and development.

On the other hand, members of the Liberian opposition community have been clamoring, here and there, that the Weah administration has miserably failed the Liberian nation in many development spheres including poor economy, corruption, and as such, it deserves no second six-year term.

The political opposition is of the view that granting the incumbent Administration another six-year term would, to say the least, be suicidal on the part of Liberian electorate, and as such, the current CDC-led government should be kicked out of state power via the ballot box in October.

Considering the pros and cons of the expressed positions by the various political stakeholders, which we think are healthy for any democratic competition, we, at The INDEPENDENT Newspaper, think that the onus rests on the Liberian electorate to not only critically examine the issues that impact their lives but to also prudently evaluate the various platforms and policies of public office seekers.

We say this simply because, the pending elections remain crucial for Liberians in deciding the fate of our dear country, in terms of good or bad.

This means the kinds and qualities of individuals, politicians, and /or candidates who would be infused into the next national leadership via the ballot box in October will demonstrate as it relates to the type of future Liberians actually want for themselves and their country.

In other words, the decisions of the Liberian electorate, whether for, or against any of the various candidates will determine as to where we, as a Country and People, may be headed after the much-awaited October polls.

It is therefore our sincere hope and fervent prayer that Liberians would, in October, choose voting to public offices, individuals of high moral repute, tested and committed public servants.

We are further optimistic that Liberian voters would snub, at the polls, all known charlatans, fraudsters and swindlers who, in recent years, have been masquerading as messiahs for good governance including its components of transparency, accountability and probity as well as social justice, peace and the rule of law.

Indeed, it is our unquenched desire for Liberians to put on their critical thinking caps by thoroughly questioning, without any fear or favor, all public office seekers in the pending presidential and legislative elections as it relates to how they individually and collectively intend to fulfill their various development agendas now being showcased in many forms.

It is also our belief that the National Elections Commission (NEC), would perform its statutory responsibilities without any fear or favor.

In other words, the NEC must ensure a level-playing field for all candidates and ensure that every stage of the pending presidential and legislative electoral process is not made wanting and deficient against the interest of other candidates or stakeholders.

Likewise, we, at THE INDEPENDENT, are optimistic that the Liberian Judiciary would rise to the challenge of addressing elections-related and other cases brought before it with much swiftness, fairness, integrity and credibility.

The Judiciary must now be seen courageously and prudently resisting attempts, if any, by anyone or group, to unduly subject it to manipulations and self-serving influences.

We say this simply because various authoritative international reports about the Liberian Judiciary over the years including the annual report of the United States Department of State on Human Rights, leave much to be desired.

More than that, the law must, indeed, remain the law and the interpretations of the laws of Liberia should never again be influenced by the so-called rich and powerful against the weak and the poor as it has been widely documented.

To put it succinctly, all must be seen equal before the law and there should be no friends and foes in the adjudication of cases including matters arising from the pending October polls.

In our candid view, such measures, among others would help to guarantee Liberia’s peace, safeguard and consolidate its fledgling democracy, whether rain or shine.

In summary, the October Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia are very crucial, as such, their conduct should be characterized by transparency, fairness, credibility and integrity, aimed at ensuring that the outcomes of the polls lead to nothing less than building solid bridges of peace, development and progress in Liberia for the benefit of all and sundry.

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