In less than three consecutive weeks from now, Liberia’s eligible voters of 1.3 million people will be deciding their country’s and children’s future through what is expected to be an internationally supervised free, fair and transparent democratic elections having sailed through fourteen years of bloody civil war that destroyed ten of thousands of innocent lives and led hundred of thousands into displaced camps and foreign lands.
Since its birth in 1847, Liberians have not had a free and fair democratic election; but what had been obtained over the years according to Liberia’s political history is nothing but tyrannical, despotic and autocratic selfish regimes that made the lives of Liberians miserable as each household lives on U.S $0.50 (fifty cent) daily according to the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
Now that the country and its people have begun putting their lives together hoping that as they go to the October 11, 2005 elections, a God’s fearing Messiah will be elected to deliver them from the dungeon of terror, hardship and sufferings.
But the million-dollar question on the lips of all sound Liberians is – who will take the political crown as Liberia’s president, and would be a servant and not a ruler out of the 22 candidates in the race?
On the basis of providing the electorates the basic information of these persons in the Liberian society, the today’s edition of this paper intends to first start with-Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party and his running mate, Mrs. Amelia Ward.
Cllr. Brumskine is a one-time president Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate in the regime of the exiled Liberian Leader, Charles Taylor.
As for Sekou Demate Conneh, a former rebel leader of the Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), now Flag-bearer of Progressive Democratic Party (PRODEM). Conneh’s Vice Standard Bearer is Edward Sali.
Mr. Samuel Divine is a banker who headed the Liberia United Bank (LUBI) during which time LUBI went bankrupt, making it very impossible for hundreds of depositors to get back their hard earned monies. Divine is the only Independent Presidential candidate with Jacob Mamu, Sr. as his running mate.
Another aspirant is David Farhat of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Mr. Farhat has over the past week come under shape criticisms from his critics who accused him of being a foreigner (Lebanese man) by virtue of his color and relations. He is yet to clarify or defend same. Fahart’s running mate is Ciapha Gbollie former chairman of the FDP.
Next in the presidential line is Armah Jallah, a former Senator of Lofa County in the erstwhile regime of exiled former president Taylor. Jallah is the Flag-bearer of the National Party of Liberia (NPL) and has Isaac Sammy as his running mate.
Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is standard bearer of the Unity Party. Ellen as she is populously called, caught hard time in defending herself against a statement she allegedly made during the heydays of the NPFL’s rebel war from 1989 that, the rebels should level the Executive Mansion to the ground and that she (Sirleaf) would rebuild it.
She was accused of being one of the architects behind the Taylor’s bloody insurrection that led thousands to their early graves. Consistently, Madam Sirleaf has opposed allegations linking her with the disbanded NPFL. Her running mate is Joseph Boakai.
She is followed by Rev, Geroge Kiadii of the National Vision Party of Liberia (NATVIPOL). His running mate is Shadrack Mcgill.
Dr. Geroge Klay Kieh is of the New Deal Movement and his Vice candidate is Alaric Tokpah. He is said to have spent a larger part of his life in the United States where he served as a lecturer at one of the American Universities.
Another man is Joseph D.Z. Korto and his running
mate is James Barclay of the Liberian Equal Rights
Party (LERP). He too spent most of his life in the
USA but is now here to grasp state power.
He is followed by Alhaji Kromah of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP), whose Vice Presidential Aspirant is Emmanuel Russell. Kromah too is said to be catching tough times to defend himself against the atrocities his rebel faction ULIMO committed against the Liberian people during 1992 when he (Kromah) vowed to get rid of the Taylor’s NPFL. Now he is eyeing the highest position of the land.
Former Agriculture Minister, Roland Massaquoi and his vice, Somah Paygai, are vying for state power on the ticket of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), a party organized by exiled former president Taylor.
As an offspring of the NPFL, the NPP is on record of having made empty promises to the people during its six years rule. During its rule, the NPP-led government came under numerous criticisms for its human rights abuses coupled with a lot of inhuman treatment carried out against innocent people through its rag-tag Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) and Special Operation Division (SOD). Now, it is opting for the Mansion again.
Another is John Morlu and his vice Omaxline Demen all of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). This man spent a lot years in the USA working for the Liberian Government. He is back in the country to run for the presidency.
He is followed by Bishop Alfred Reeves and his vice mate Martin Sherrif all of the National Reformation Party (NRP). Reeves too have been subjected to a lot of criticisms from his opponents and the public for leaving the pulpit to go to the Mansion. “Who are you leaving the pulpit with”? Asked by one of his congregational members, who preferred anonymity.
Another is Cllr. Varney Sherman and his Vice John Fania, all of the Coalition for the Transformation of Liberia (COTOL). Sherman is said to be facing rough times defending himself day and night as it relates to his connection with Chairman Gyude Bryant. Both Sherman and Bryant are from the Liberia Action Party (LAP). He (Sherman) serves as Bryant’s Legal Advisor. His critics alleged that he is being financed by Bryant, but he denied.
Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh and his vice-Dr. Marcus Dahn, are for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD). The name-Tipoteh- has existed for decades. This man according to those who have followed his political activities, he has been running behind the presidency for years but is yet to succeed.
His critics have acused him of always wanting to head any organization he joins - such as Interest Groups and political party, SUSUKU, APD, MOJA and LPP to name a few.
He is followed by Cllr. Winston Tubman and his vice Jeremiah Sulunteh, all of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL). Tubman is the man who has abandoned his well paid UN job just to become president of Liberia. His relative, Dr. Williams V.S. Tubman, a Marylander, led Liberia for an unbreakable 27 years but his critics said, his father’s regime did less to improve the country, while at the same time the rate of illiteracy went very high, no roads and traditional slavery was introduced during his reign.
Then comes a lady, Dr. Margaret Thompson and her vice Rev. Rudolph Marsh, of the Freedom Alliance Party (FAPL). Madam Thompson, according to her critics, is new to Liberia’s political landscape.
Another candidate is the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC’s) Standard Bearer, George Weah and his Vice Rudolph Johnson. Weah’s intention to ascend to the Executive Mansion is being strongly challenged by his most detractors and opponents who see him (Weah) as being a political novice, while others questioned his level of educational standing. Weah openly confessed that he is not a high school graduate, even though he did sports administration which earned him a Bachelor’s degree something which is an irony. But his opponents argued that politics is far different from sports, and maintained further that Liberia’s presidency needs people who are well informed and not people who will buy brains as Mr. Weah promised to do if elected.
Finally, the next man is Dr. Joseph Woah-Tee and Vice Washington Broh all of the Labor Party of Liberia (LPL). Dr.Woah-Tee boasted of acquiring numerous degrees from various American Universities and Colleges. But his critics argued that having lot of degrees is not sufficient but one’s ability to apply such degrees to the extent that society will benefit. Dr. Woah-Tee is vying for the presidency at the time when his party is being rocked by a serious political crisis.