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Crowd, Not Votes A Lesson Never Learnt by Liberian Politicians

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It is just about two years to go for Liberia to usher in a new government – that’s in 2017 when Liberians go to the poll to elect a President, Members of the House of Representatives and others.

Ahead of this, pre-elections campaign activities are currently ongoing across the country to the conspicuous silence of authorities of the National Elections Commission-the NEC.

While representative aspirants may be gallivanting all over the place – in their various electoral districts, for support and votes, most presidential politicians appear to be pretentiously unbending. In other words, the impressions being given to political onlookers and would-be electorates are that these presidential aspirants are “working” across the country.

Indicatively, the crowds which follow their pre-election drives wherever they go throughout the country imbue in them a sense of popularity and votes, not being cognizant of the fact that October 2017 may a little bid be a distance for such assumption.

Moreover, believability in ‘crowds as final votes’ may most often be on the basis of mere commitments to them through their political emissaries, who usually present to them (the presidential aspirants/candidates or hopefuls) the inflated impressions of massive support in contrast to the political reality.

The fact of the matter remains that “crowds” don’t necessarily mean “votes” as most of these politicians may think. Similar situation unfolded recently in Monrovia during the launch of the All Liberia Party – ALP, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, when interim officials of the party presented the impression of an “Tsunamic” event .

Unfortunately, that was really not the reality, as many of us who popped in to observe the crowd did not really feel the Tsunamic nature. Again, this is part of the game of politics; but whether such political game can be translated to the political reality – votes at the end of the day, it is anybody’s guess.

Interestingly, Business man-turned politician Benoni Urey and his ALP may be far from ‘learning the lessons’ of the ‘Tayloric’ style of electoral politics (how former President Charles G. Taylor and his National Patriotic Party-NPP did their politics) for such an overwhelming victory in 1997 amid a formidable opposition of former warlords-turned politicians and the progressives. As living testimonies, we followed and witnessed Taylor’s campaign activities across the country, including Monrovia – such political jamboree was not because of the man’s popularity, but the strategic manner and form his political sojourn was planned, organized and executed so much so that at the end of day, the tsunamic impact of the ‘crowds’ was manifested in the un-countable number of votes.

Mr. Urey and a few others of his ALP may have been with Mr. Taylor and his NPP at the time, but whether or not any lesson was learn is something yet to be practically seen.

Current Unity Party Varney G. Sherman failed to borrow such political strategies and only relied on his huge cash in 2005, but got the discouraging result he received even though he had the ‘crowds’.

Despite coming out of a conflict situation, Charles Taylor as a Presidential politician, had no boundaries and did not encourage divisive politics in his NPP ahead of elections. He established himself as a “politicians without borders” so much so that he attracted massive support not only from his party members, but other Liberians. The attributing factor responsible for this was that tasks were assigned to non-NPP partisans to perform and they did expeditious. Taylor did not allow gossips, back-biting, as well as envy, among others, from his partisans to discourage his relationship with non-NPP members – that was just a few of his political strategies.

As a keen media and political observer, I admonish Benoni Urey and other Presidential politicians to “learn the lessons of the Taylor style of politics” – perhaps (and if need be) modify such political nature if and only if they should translate “crowds to votes”.

 

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