YESTERDAY, DECEMBER 26, Liberians were seen jubilantly trekking in their ones, twos, threes or small groups heading to various polling places around the country to cast their votes for either of the two contestants, who took part in the Presidential Runoff Election. Unlike the October 10th Presidential and Legislative Elections, which saw long queues for hours and had many complications associated with it, Tuesday runoff was far different and better.
THERE WERE VERY FEWER or no queues at all at most of the polling places. It was like a walk in the park as most of the voters only just had to walk into their voting rooms without standing in long lines in order to cast their votes.
THE RUNOFF ELECTION, which was between the ruling Unity Party (UP) of Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of Senator George Manneh Weah, had been delayed for over a month owning to legal challenges, which were mounted, initially by the Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and later by the UP.
THE LIBERTY PARTY, one of 20 political parties and independent candidates, which contested for the nation’s highest seat and came third in the first round of the elections—October 10th— had cried foul and ran to the Supreme Court with their complaints.
BECAUSE OF THEIR QUALMS, the runoff election, which should have been held on Tuesday, November 7th, was postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday, December 26, following weeks of legal arguments and final ruling from the Supreme Court.
ALL THROUGHOUT THESE LONG days of waiting, Liberians sat patiently discussing the process when they met at various intellectual centers and in other gatherings.
NOT A DAY WAS IT REPORTED that supporters from party ‘X’ had attacked supporters of party ‘Y’, vice versa. Everything was civil. In fact, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Liberty Party’s Bill of Exception case, nearly all Liberians hailed the Court and, in their own ways, promised to abide by the ruling, which mandated a number of measures to see through before a runoff date could be announced by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
EVERYTHING WAS DONE; NEC announced December 26; Liberians complained that the day wasn’t favorable as they would just be coming from their Christmas Day celebration, yet didn’t do anything to jeopardize the runoff election day. In spite of the turnout, which looked very dismal in terms of the October 10th polls, registered Liberian voters still came out to vote. They played their part by peacefully waking in to cast their votes either for Vice President Joseph Boakai or for Senator George Weah.
LIBERIANS ARE NOW ANXIOUSLY waiting to hear the official results from the Elections Commission following the official closure of the polls by 1800 hours on Tuesday, December 26.
THE ONUS IS NOW on the National Elections Commission to speedily, expeditiously and tactfully handle the results so that supporters of either of the two parties won’t begin to suspect that a ploy has been engineered against them in favor of the other party.
NEC SHOULD DO ALL IT CAN IN its power, conscientiously in line with the Constitution of the Republic, to handle the results with care in order to avoid the corridor of disputes. It should also do all it can to release the results in a timely manner.
LEST WE FORGET, it behooves every Liberian, who voted or didn’t vote, to accept the results as would be very clearly announced by authorities of the National Elections Commission; at least now that it has happened.