Yes to Census Before 2005 Elections

By W. Topor & N. Wiah
Uplb Los Baños, Philippines

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 11, 2004

Liberian People, what is this? Is Liberia returning to square one? According to the United Nations (UN), this peace that is holding, is Liberia’s ‘last chance.’ Equally so, the very UN should help in facilitating all democratic mechanisms.

What prompted this discussion is from the article on May 7, 2004 posted on the web by the Inquirer Newspaper entitled, “No Census for 2005…says Elections Commission.” One wonders of the reaction of the 18 registered political parties, which the National Election Commission (NEC) Boss was addressing when she made this statement? Of course, all parties would ask, how can free and fair elections be held without census. The last census was held in 1984, after which there has been civil war? In case no party was able to raise this issue perhaps due to egotism or an oversight on the part of those Parties’ bosses; now, it’s time that it becomes the ‘issue of our time’ for every Liberian, if Liberia is to march forward rather than turning about face.

Ordinary Liberians have suffered and are still suffering! For that matter, all of us are going through serious hardship despite one’s status in education or wealth. As it rains on Liberia, sheep and goats are under one roof literally. Let us not permit our personal interest to supercede the national interest as the case has always been. Remember! This peace that is holding is Liberia’s ‘last chance’ says the UN, let us, therefore as true Liberians, not thwart the process – who would want to see Liberia at the rear among civilized nations?

It is about time we Liberians tell the UN what we feel that can bring total peace to our motherland. And for sure, the UN as a world police for maintaining peace and order will never reject our perception for amicable peace in Liberia. Therefore, let us be firm in stating what exactly Liberia needs from the UN. Normally the democratic mechanisms the UN needs to facilitate and to be implemented by the Liberia Transitional Government (LTG) are:

1. Repatriation- that is encouraging and bringing home refugees from sister countries; thereby ending their suffering and those of host nations who are using their meager resources for the up keep of Liberian refugees.

2. Resettlement-convening the returnees as well as those who are internally displaced to go to their original places of choice.

3. National census- this is to establish the database not only for qualified voters for the coming elections but also could provide information on the overall planning for the reconstruction.

4. The above suppose to lead to total reconciliation or healing of the wounds of the civil war.

Madam Commissioner, with due respect, we fully support the position to have a national census before the 2005 elections and hope you push that technical issue through with the UN. This should enable your Commission to work effectively and more transparent. At this point, we urge the Liberian political parties to join hands with Chairman Morris in resolving this issue with the UN if Liberia is to fully utilize its last ‘chance of peace.’