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Editorial: Still Not Understanding Politics

Liberia, on October 11, underwent a democratic exercise praised by the local and international communities. Despite the peaceful manner in which Liberian voters conducted themselves in casting their ballots, as well as the praises which characterized such conduct, a number of political parties chose to demonize the process during the announcement of the results with statements inimical to peace and stability.

Whether or not their October 15 statement was well calculated, it may have had the propensity of instigating violence, especially their call for a mass meeting of their supporters on Sunday, October 16.  Among the nine collaborating political parties denouncing the results “null and void” was the National Union for Democratic Progress or NUDP. Its political Leader and Standard Bearer, Senator Prince Y. Johnson represented it at all levels of the discussions leading to the issuance of the October 15 statement.

Just 24 hours following the statement, Senator Johnson ‘back-tracked’, declaring a formal support for President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the ruling Unity Party in the November 8 run-off presidential election.  The Nimba County Senator, furthermore,  announced a visit to his county to further consult chiefs and elders on his decision, something he has already done and accepted by  the “chiefs and elders” with a number of demands, including jobs in the new  ‘Ellen Administration”.

Of course, the Senator’s decision and action received sharp reactions from his political allies’, including the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC and a few others in Monrovia. While some described him as unpredictable as he may actually be, other viewed him as being very inconsistent. But what many have failed to understand is the dynamics of politics being the act of the possible.

It is actually saddening to realize that with all of the local and international political education and experiences, Liberian politicians and their key supporters have undergone for years, they are yet to understand what politics entails.  While Senator Johnson may have been seen by his opposition colleagues as very inconsistent, especially in the wake of their radical decision to reject the results of the election results announced by NEC, it was important for them to have also been cognizant of the fact that politics itself, is not stable.

The falsehoods, empty praises, inflicted impressions, as well as deceits, tricks, espionage and so forth which characterize politics, especially so during electoral processes, not only in Liberia, but also Africa must be enough for the lack of total hope in politics. This is why those who understand “practical politics” will always waits for the “light at the end of the tunnel”.

It is unfair to castigate and negatively brand Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the National Union for Democratic Progress as very inconsistent when politics itself is dynamic or inconsistent.

All that is needed within the opposition for the run-off presidential election on November 8 is to amalgamate both financial and human resources, as well as create or strengthen their information and propaganda machinery in their outreach and political campaign before and during the two  week run-off process, instead of complaining about, badmouthing, threatening,  hunting and attacking the Liberian media.

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In view of the foregoing, it is advisable that if they have not done so, now is the time for the opposition to make maximum and extensive use of the local media.

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