Senior Research Fellow of the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, Dr. Kester Onor spoke on the upcoming presidential run off elections to be held in Liberia on the 7th of November as well as the expectations from each candidate.
In the election, former Vice President Joseph Boakai came neck-a-neck with incumbent president, George Weah in votes out of 20 party candidates with reported percentages of 43.50 and 43.8 respectively.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Wednesday, Dr. Omor informed that the updated results actually show that Weah who had 791,661 votes had a percentage of 43.79 while Boakai with 786,205 votes had a percentage of 43.49 votes whereas none of them reaching the 50% cut off bench mark to be declared winner of the election.
Rumors have marred the election as accusations of pre election violence, high-handedness of president Weah, manipulation of result numbers, as 20,000 invalid votes due to negligence of voter education of the system.
Despite this the African Union and International Observers stated that the election was a free and fair one with the only caution being that voters would need to wait on the proper authorities, the National Electoral Commission to make announcements of winners. Out 2471617 registered there was a percentage of 77.71% voter turnout.
“African nations have a lot to learn. For the first time we have somebody who is not using his power of incumbency to manipulate the situation. You can see that even the opposition agreed that the election was free and fair.”
Kester stated that Weah’s may not have faded due to amount of votes he got. He also suggested that both candidates should aspire to woo other oppositions and coalitions to combine votes and noted that the odds may prove to be in Boakai’s favour as most of them seem to be anti Weah. This is due to accusations of corruption and plunging the state further into poverty.
“You can see those like the Mandingos who will most likely align with Boakai, but that depends on what’s offering them because I’m such alliances, you need to look at what’s on the table. If what he’s offering then os enough for them to align with him, then why not. But if on the other hand, using the power of incumbency, weah can woo them, then they can expand the already existing coalition.
“When you talk about corruption charges, remember that it is being alleged and only the court of law can decide that. But remember that politics is a game of numbers. And again, he can offer them some ministerial slots. And maybe in the next election the party can offer to support their candidate. These are some of the issues that can be brought to the table.
“But of we’re talking about maladministration, it’s becoming a general thing in Africa. Talking about economy, you’ll see that in Africa, things haven’t been in good shape. Most African countries are having serious economic problems, not just Liberia.”
In conclusion, Dr. Kester stated, “If you look at the country’s economy, you’ll know that Weah isn’t just going to the moon to alleviate the issues in his country. He has to make due with the things that are available in the country. I’m not saying he has performed extraordinarily but at the same time posterity will judge him at the end of his tenor.”