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Editorial: Camouflage Primaries

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Ongoing party primaries around the country have left much to be desired. Rather than delegates allowing delegates to nominate or select candidates for legislative post based on their popularity with the people in those respective constituencies, party executives are forcing candidates(whether they are marketable or not) down their throats.

For instance, in Margibi County, University of Liberia Accounting lecturer Ansu Sonie, who until recently was National Treasurer of the governing Unity Party has been compromised for businessman Oscar Cooper for the senatorial post much to the displeasure of party delegates and most of the electorate. As a result, Mr. Sonie has reportedly resigned his post in the party is considering a next course of action.

In Bong County, ex-superintendent Ranny Jackson who emerged as a compromised candidate against Transport Minister Jeremiah Sulunteh has been having nightmares with reports that executives of the UP Bong chapter had attempted to bring onboard other aspirants against Mr. Jackson.

In Nimba County incumbent Junior Senator Adolphus Saye Dolo and ex-superintendent Edith Gongloe Weh who is seeking the same post as an independent candidate are at each other throats. An APD/UP collaboration has brought on board veteran politician and incumbent Grand Kru County Junior Senator Blamo Nelson and Sinoe County’s representative Jefferson Karmo who both want to maintain their respective seats.

We are fully aware like the ruling party does, that some candidates or compromised candidates are difficult to sell to the electorate. The memories of Clemensu Blahyon Urey Vs Congress for Democratic Change Geraldine Doe Sheriff are still fresh in our mind. Despite the fact that the Mr. Urey had the best finance campaign against the CDC Doe Sheriff during the Monterrado County Junior Senatorial by-election he lost the poll principally because he was just politically unmarketable. Unity Party incumbent Chairman Cllr. Varney Sherman, then standard bearer of the Liberia Action Party encountered similar fate in the 2005 elections.

In the dozens of by-elections conducted throughout the country by the National Elections Commission during the last five years, the ruling UP miserably lost most if not all to the opposition block. Therefore, we caution executives of the ruling party which is seeking another term that if care is not taken in conducting these primaries, it could experience a replay of the 2005 elections when it failed to have a firm grip on the national legislature. The result of such failure always leads to bills from the Executive being accompanied with brown envelops.

It is important that the electorate or party delegates who have the voting power be allowed to freely select candidates for legislative posts based on their popularity within those constituencies rather than the executives handpicking candidates and imposing them on the people. Such approaches as we all know in most instances have had negative consequences or unimaginable outcomes.

Party primaries are meant for aspirants to test their popularity within the party or among the partisans before going out into the various constituencies to seek the votes of electorate. But when the process is manipulated against the interest of the majority as seem to be unfolding now, no matter how much money a candidate may bring to the campaign when he or she is detached from the people the entire effort is also a waste.

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