Photo: George M. Weah in blue
Monrovia (Globe Afrique) – Ex-footballer George Weah continued his lead in Liberia’s Presidential election as the counting of ballots moves into the weekend. Observers from the United States, European Union, and the Carter Center have applauded the Liberian people for displaying a sincere commitment to holding peaceful elections.
Elections are the most critical path a country must follow in a democracy. It allows the citizens to express their interests and select an individual they believe is the best to lead them. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially nations like Liberia, with its weak institutions and history of violence, high stakes election such as the one held on October 10 can lead to destruction and eventually threaten the strength of its democracy.
Fortunately, Liberians have rejected all hints of violence. Additionally, the international community, with dozens of election observers, is in Liberia to monitor the election and ensure anyone responsible for inciting election violence is held accountable.
According to observers from the U.S., voters were peaceful despite some misunderstandings and chaos initiated by the very long voting lines and delays to cast their ballots.
Based on results posted by Liberia’s National Election Commission, nearly 35 percent of the 5,000 polling stations report Weah has taken 39.6 percent of the votes cast, with the current Vice President, Joseph Boakai, capturing 31.1 percent of the votes. From all accounts, it appears there will be a run-off election between Senator Weah and Vice President Boakai.
According to several international observers interviewed by Globe Afrique via telephone, Liberty Party, the third major party in the presidential race, with 9.3% of the votes, has cited several instances of voting irregularities and outright fraud. As the vote counting continues into the weekend, if more examples of voting fraud become noticeable, Liberia may see a repeat of the election process; like what took place in Kenya on August 8, when the Kenyan High Court ruled that candidates must participate in a rerun of the elections – citing irregularities and illegalities.
Observers from the U.S. remain hopeful that the elections process will stay peaceful and the will of the people will be respected and honored. After two civil wars and one of the most devastating Ebola outbreaks in history, Liberia remains one of the poorest and most corrupt countries under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The nation cannot withstand more destruction or violence. Globe Afrique continues to monitor the election because it holds excellent possibilities for future foreign investments in Liberia.