The U.S. Embassy in Liberia, and the European Union, through its mission to Liberia, are critical and irreplaceable partners in Liberia. Certainly, these institutions’ support to Liberia’s political, social and economic development is remarkable, and indeed, no doubt, Liberians appreciate their assistance, guidance, and concerns.
Like The U.S. Embassy and the visiting EU delegation to Monrovia as well as several other international institutions, Globe Afrique has concerns about the delay in the transitional process of Liberia, but this concern should in no way suggest that doing the right thing needs to be ignored in favor of doing the wrong thing. Properly investigating a fraudulent electoral process under the laws of Liberia is the right thing to do; not doing so is the wrong thing to do.
The Press Statements issued by both the US Embassy in Monrovia and the visiting EU delegation to Monrovia urging Liberians and Liberian stakeholders to avoid ‘unnecessary’ legal delay in the electoral process is something almost every Liberian and the friends of the country welcome. However, Globe Afrique disagrees with both the U.S. Embassy and the visiting EU delegation that what happened––the electoral fraud and irregularities––during the 10 October 2017 presidential election must not be properly investigated by the National Election Commission and adjudicated by the judicial system in the country.
What Makes European nations and the United States strong, vibrant and peaceful are democratic transparency, the rule of law and accountability. Nobody is above the law in Europe and the United States. Also, in Europe and the United States, the court is the last resort and the independent arbiter.
In Europe Also, several leaders, including former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi have been taken to court before. A point which proves that following the law to solve problems is better than instigating violence as some Liberians, including current President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did in the 1980s when they wanted power by all means in opposition to the previous administrations.
In The United States, a Special Counsel has been appointed to investigate and hold accountable individuals associated with President Donald J. Trump, Sr.’s campaign team regarding alleged election tempering even though President Trump is in charge and insists that the election was won free and fair. Yet, the U.S. Congress and Federal intelligence services are still investigating not because they want to but because Americans are protective and care about their democracy. If Americans can feel this way about their country’s electoral process, why not Liberians?
In The 2000 U.S. Presidential election between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, a legal process ensued titled: George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, Petitioners v. Albert Gore, Jr. et al Docketed at the Supreme Court of Florida and eventually proceeded to the Supreme Court of the United States before His Honor, Anthony Kennedy, then Justice–In –Chambers. The case was filed December 9, 2000 (SC000-2431) with an expected ruling date of January 7, 2011.
During The Court and legal process, the American people and the world waited patiently for the full and transparent resolution of the case because protecting their democracy and the conduct of a free and fair election was the right thing to do. Liberians, like the American people and the rest of the world, believe that waiting patiently in order to protect Liberia’s democracy and the conduct of a free and fair election is the right thing to do and so nothing should be pressured and misconstrued as ‘unnecessary’ delay.
Moreover, When The People of Kenya had their presidential election on August 8, 2017, a poll which was allegedly marred by fraud and irregularities, the aggrieved parties took their case to the High Court of Kenya. At the time, former U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, suggested that the Kenyan election was free, fair and credible, but the Kenyan High Court overturned the results and requested that a new poll was conducted within few weeks after all the circumstances that prompted the fraud and irregularities were corrected.
Then, The US State Department issued the following press statement dated August 10, 2017, titled: Elections in Kenya.
August 10, 2017
As a longstanding friend of Kenya, the United States applauds the millions of Kenyans who on August 8 peacefully exercised their fundamental democratic right to choose their leaders. We welcome the statements made by international and domestic missions observing the Kenyan elections, which have contributed to transparency, integrity, and public confidence in the electoral process. Our Mission in Nairobi also fielded observers, and we were impressed by Kenyans’ commitment to ensuring their voices are heard through the ballot box.
We urge all parties and their supporters to peacefully and patiently await the IEBC’s (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) announcement of official results. The IEBC should be given an opportunity to complete its tallying. We also encourage the IEBC to continue communicating openly with the Kenyan public, and we welcome the IEBC’s commitment to fully investigate any allegations of fraud, with the engagement of all election stakeholders.
If candidates dispute results, it is important that they do so in accordance with the constitution and rule of law and not through threats or acts of violence. We stand with Kenyans across the political spectrum who are working together to advance democracy, build prosperity, and strengthen security in their great country.
In The 2005 And 2011 Liberia’s presidential elections, there were allegations of fraud and irregularities. Presidential candidate George Manneh Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) felt cheated and had complained about these occasions. The Liberian people had complained too.
Yet, The Liberian People accepted the 2005 and 2011 results and move on. But the question is, Liberia cannot be the only place where things that are wrong should happen and be acceptable just because the Liberian people want to or are used to moving on. At a certain point, Liberians need to make things right and this is one of the times that certain things, including the current presidential election, need to be made right.
Moreover, The Preceding Communication and information from the US State Department on the Kenyan election and electoral court cases in the U.S. appear to contradict the current stance of the US Embassy in Monrovia and that of the visiting EU delegation to Liberia on Liberia’s current political stalemate involving the fraud and irregularities obtained in the October 10, 2017, presidential election.
While Globe Afrique applauds the US Embassy in Monrovia and the visiting EU delegation to Liberia for their efforts, support and concerns, Globe Afrique believes let everyone put the blame where it needs to be: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
President Sirleaf, at age 79 and retiring, has not shown restraint by not acting as an elderly stateswoman. Her hyper-activities during the October 10, 2017, presidential election process have led to all the wrong signals, real and perceived. It is now time the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia and the visiting EU delegation to Liberia call a spade a spade. Blaming stakeholders and some in the Liberian public that want a better country by doing things right is not helpful.
Liberians Who Want fairness and honesty should not be a scapegoat. Liberia’s problems are Sirleaf, nothing less, nothing more.