Two Liberian artists from the musical industry here, Emma Smith and Scientific, launch a nationwide “vote wise and save Liberia elections” awareness this Saturday, 2 September in Monrovia.
According to the two celebrities, the campaign is intended to educate voters about the risk of casting their votes based on a tribal identity or for money. The exercise is expected to be characterized by free concert, direct outreach in communities, churches, mosques and market places across the country. The artists in a joint press conference held Friday, August 31, 2017, note that as the October 10th elections approach, it is prudent that voters be adequately educated to avoid electing wrong people into office.
“This year’s elections will determine whether Liberia will move forward as a nation or not” says Emma Smith.The artists say it hurts to see voters, who have the mindset of voting their own choice of leaders, but only to make U-turn on their decision simply because of little cash and food items.
“This Vote Wisely, Save Liberia initiative is intended to educate voters on the risk of electing someone based on tribalism or for money (selling vote) and the benefit it brings when they vote for someone based on a platform”, a press release quotes the artists as saying.
They stress that by informing voters about their civic rights and responsibilities, the campaign seeks to encourage them to become active, positive contributors to Liberia’s progress by voting the right people in office. According to them, the idea is to transform the country’s voters into ambassadors for change by realizing that selling votes or voting based on tribalism makes room for bad governance and encourages corruption.
They continue that voting based on tribal identity or selling votes keeps some of the best potential candidates from being elected. “From our preliminary investigation, we uncovered that candidates are taking advantage of the high rate of poverty and the huge numbers of uneducated voters to peach tribal politics, as well as giving out money for votes.
“Therefore, this has to stop! Cash for a vote and tribal politics has now become a dominant, determinant factor in Liberian politics”. Scientist notes that the poor are usually victims of tribal politics or vote buying because their limited means makes them susceptible to material inducements, including offers of basic commodities or modest amounts of money.
“So, when this campaign kicks off, voters will be urged not to give credence to tribal politics or selling votes, which has the propensity to ruin this country”, he warns.They say the campaign will also urge youth not to allow politicians to use them to commit acts of violence or political hooliganism before, during and after the elections.
-Editing by Jonathan Browne