Can Collaboration Succeed in the 2003 Election?
By John K. Boimah, PE
October 9, 2002
Discussion about the 2003 Presidential Election in Liberia has been focused on the number of political parties vying for the presidency. I get the feeling that most Liberians cannot understand why a small country like ours must have more than 14 political parties. And with the discussion of collaboration amongst these political parties, I sense that collaboration will not succeed.
There is a track record to show that our political parties cannot and will not collaborate for the sake of our people. I have thought about this whole thing for a while now. I have discussed it with many of my friends. In theory, collaboration should work but when the time comes for the selection of the candidate to represent the collaborating political parties, the whole thing fails. Why? It is simple. The ego of our politicians is bigger than Liberia. Why are Liberians blaming these political parties for not collaborating? I have heard Liberians complaining of the first failed attempt to collaborate in 1985 and President Doe got elected. In 1997, collaboration failed and we got President Taylor as our leader.
I don’t blame our political parties. Each, one of these parties feels that it can make Liberia better. It is the birth right of these leaders of these parties to feel that they can make Liberia better. Whose right is it to deny them when each political party feels their party can provide the leadership our country needs. I believe in the right to compete. I believe in democracy. I believe every political party should compete for the presidency. Healthy competition will provide Liberia the leader she desires. The problem lies in how we go about selecting our leaders.
Therefore, the Primary System is my recommendation. In this system, every political party campaigns for the presidency. The top two vote getters (not based on percentages) qualify for a runoff few weeks later. With this system, the Liberian people make the decision. There is no arm twisting. No one leaves feeling that their party has been cheated. The people make the decision.
This is my recommendation to our election officials, all political parties and the leaders of both Houses at the Capitol Building.