The National Elections Commission or NEC announced the commencement of political campaign since November 20, for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election, but it appears many of the contenders are not seriously campaigning as anticipated by voters and the NEC.
At the same time, some participants in the race are starting on a slow pace while many are saying that the spread of the Ebola Virus disease is responsible for lifeless political campaign. However, others believed that voters or Liberians as a whole have lost confidence in politicians who are seeking elected posts due to ‘failed promises’ by past leaders.
Since March, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have been hazardously hit by the deadly virus. Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare shows that over 5,000 lives have been lost in the sub-region with Liberia topping the death toll. Though the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization have declared that the spread of the virus has subsided; Liberians are skeptical about the downturn of the virus.
Speaking to The NewDawn Sunday on 24th Street, Sinkor in Monrovia, a man identified as Robert Kollie said people are not getting in the streets to declare support for candidates of their choice and campaign because of the virus.
“Beware, that the virus is spread through body contacts and nobody, including me is willing to put our lives at risk for Liberian politicians who, after election will turn their backs to us. Also, the politicians are not coming to engage us, some think by using various radio talk-shows can help them, forgetting to know that not every Liberian has access to radio or will develop interest in listening to radio,” Kollie said.
Another resident, Madam Vera Momo of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Community said, Liberians are tired with empty promises from politicians. Madam Momo, who is student at the AME Zion University, told this paper that it is disappointing and appalling for Liberians to dedicate their time and energy to candidates during campaign period only after the process to be considered as ‘enemies’ or ignored.
However, history show that African midterm elections have always suffered low voters turnout; many believe that it’s the fact that each county is producing one person for representation on the national level so voters do not really spend time going all out to campaign unlike in case of presidential and legislative elections.
Meanwhile, since the start of campaign last Thursday, polls conducted by various local radio stations here indicate that some candidates are already in the lead:
In Montserrado County, the political leader for the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, George Weah, seems to have taken an early lead, followed by Robert Alvin Sirleaf, son of the President; Grand Bassa County incumbent Senator and Senate Pro-tempore, Gbehnzohngar Milton Findley and opposition Liberty Party candidate, Mr. Jonathan Kaiplay are struggling for supremacy in Bassa, while incumbent Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and former President of the Cuttington University, Dr. Henrique Tokpah are leading the race in Bong County.
Liberty Party former chairperson, incumbent Senator Clarice Jah, is finding it difficult to convince voters for a second term, as many callers have declared support for University of Liberia Professor Ansu Sonii and former Representative Richard Saah Gbollie in Margibi County. At the same time, Galakpai Kortimai of the Congress for Democratic Change and Stephen Zaigoe are the main contenders for the senatorial seat in Lofa County.
Sinoe County is seriously being hunted by incumbent Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan and former Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay. From all indications, it is glaring that the former political leader of the National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP, Senator Prince Y. Johnson may return to the Capitol Building in flying colors in January, 2015. PYJ visibly remains a lone-ranger in Nimba despite the presence of other candidates, including ex-superintendent Edith Gongloe-Weh.
Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Emmanuel Pennue, Samuel K. Doe, Jr. and Marshall Dennis of the CDC are major contenders for that county. The national Secretary General of the CDC, Mr. Nathaniel McGill and former Senator Daniel Natehn are battling for Gbarpolu County.