In a live nation – wide address, President Ellen Johnson tells Liberians and politicians that the country’s laws and democratic institutions are strong and will stand the current political challenge and the test of time here, enjoining politicians to do better.
Mrs. Sirleaf’s brief statement to citizens and politicians on Tuesday evening, 7 November comes as political tension builds in a country that is being eagerly watched by its neighbors and the world in its struggle to achieve a much talk about peaceful democratic transition between elected presidents for the first time in 73 years.
“We politicians must do better; Our people went the distance; We achieved 73 percent voters’ turnout, demonstrating confidence in our electoral process and the future of our country,” she urges.
There has been much more unease among Liberians after the Supreme Court indefinitely suspended a runoff election due between Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Sen. George Weah due to a challenge filed against the process by defeated presidential candidate Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine.
Brumskine has been demanding so many things since he lost the 10 October polls, including a rerun of the entire polls and recusal of NEC’s board of commissioners, while claiming that the Commission did not go through the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) for the ballots.
But a communication from the PPCC dated 10 August under the signature of Executive Director James Dorbor Jallah vindicates the NEC, saying it did not interpose any objection for the awarding of the contract to CETIS d.d for the supply and delivery of the ballots and elections forms or goods at an estimated cost of US$1,576,123.03.
In her statement on Tuesday evening, President Sirleaf said she is glad that all political parties have agreed to consistently and publicly adhere to the provisions provided under the Liberian laws. These provisions, she says include the right to challenge through an established and orderly process for voting and electoral arrangements that have been put in place.
“We can strengthen them by demonstrating maturity, and not abuse our positions or misuse the platforms that have been made available to the Country through news media and new technology,” Mrs. Sirleaf says.She calls for continued respect for each other, the rule of law, human kindness and decency, saying allegations, hate speech, inciteful language [have] been defining what should be a proud moment in Liberia’s history.
President Sirleaf tells Liberians that democracy is only as strong as its weakest link, noting that at these moments, the country’s democracy is under assault, while its reputation is under assault and its economy under stress.
But she warns that historians will look back at this time and judge Liberians by how each of them conduct themselves at this critical moment in time, saying “We cannot fail them; we cannot damage our future.”
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah