The 2011 Legislative and Presidential campaign which kicks-off today is expected to be based on the issue of a promise kept and a call for a change of leadership. The ruling Unity Party or UP is expected to be canvassing on its achievements over the past five years. Prominent among its campaign messages would be the ongoing infrastructure developments, the debt cancellations, the stabilization of the economy, changing of the country’s image from a failed state to a nation of peace and progress, a nation worth emulating positively.
The ruling party is also expected to say to the Liberian people “we have kept our promise”. “And if elected, we can do more.” They are expected to say this time around that “our records are there, you have seen our works and so you can trust us.”
However, there is no doubt that the opposition camps are expected to base their campaigns primarily on the ruling party’s failure to fulfill its zero tolerance for corruption promise and therefore would be shouting for a change. The President’s failure to punish those the opposition bloc have over the years considered as her closed allies for alleged corrupt practices, the importation of diaspora Liberians to take up jons here, the turning of the country into a single party state would be some of the possible campaign subjects for the opposition bloc.
2011 is expected to be a complete departure from the 2005 presidential elections’ campaign, which in the first round was purely based on personality and not the achievements or gains, and failure by any of the contesting political parties at the time. The reason was simple, all of the contesting parties except for the National Patriotic Party, the National Democratic Party and of course the True Whig Party were yet to taste state power.
For many, it was their first time participating in a multiparty election and therefore only the NPP, NDPL and TWP could be scrutinized based on their past achievements and or performances, but the rest were on personality. It was a campaign purely based on the role individuals played during the 14-year-old civil conflict. Why the said individuals should not have been given state authority.
But unlike the first round, the run-off was a straight battle between the educated and uneducated. Even the former flag bearer of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change George Weah has admitted that his limited education cost him the 2005 elections. Below are images from the 2005 Campaign run-off between UP and CDC.