• Op-Ed

Liberians Head to the Polls

Liberians head to the polls today, October 10, 2017. Amidst others, the temperament on the ground still weighs heavily against the educated. It can’t get more vexing than that.

This is the biggest fear that looms on the minds of some, as they head to the polls.

On the one hand, some dread a reincarnation of our immediate past, when a small section of Liberians believed then, that leading a nation did not really require a high placed education.

So, the likes of Dexter Tayor benefited from that system, a spoiled system if you will.

Those were some of the unbearable moments in our nation’s history. The bulk of our first-time voters were infants and toddlers, who can barely account for those ugly moments in our nation’s immediate past. For the most part, that era was greeted with obsequiousness.

Ministers and heads of agencies engaged in fist fights and open brouhahas. Yes, this was the era when the late Joe Mulbah and one Milton Teahjay crashed to the floor, while desperately trying to land knockout punches against the other.

Over at Defense, one Austin Clarke cordoned and demarcated the narrow ministry between himself and the late Ted Quiah. And then there was one Dumbuya, a factional Chief of Staff who was appointed by ULIMO. He could not see eye to eye with Phillip Bas Kamah, his immediate and much experienced deputy.

Mediocrity and ignorance are two qualities that should never face a nation. Those moments could well return by the end of this day.

On the other hand, the bulk of our disadvantaged first-time voters are high on vengeance, and very determined to punish “educated people.” Those classified in the ranks of Madam Sirleaf, and if you will, Liberians who earned their education abroad.

The only difference between today and yester years, is the absence of guns and machetes. Yes, Madam Sirleaf and Joe Boakai may have screwed things up for their educated counterparts, but exalting ignorance as the only remedy, could hurt us more.

Mostly, words in the street, are that Cummings is the best candidate. However, “he is just coming and should wait for his time, I want to vote for him, but could be a waste of my vote," one voter said. At one Hataye Shop, there were open praises and condemnations for the various candidates.

Nonetheless, whoever sold this idea that educated Liberians led by Madam Sirleaf and Boakai failed our people, did muddy the electoral atmosphere.

The fear of well-meaning Liberians, is that six more years of inactivity and on the job training at the Executive Mansion, could lead us further backwards.

Already, we are about a half century behind our sub-regional counterparts, one former UL colleague I met reminded me. Six more years of not getting it right, could almost put us to the century mark of total backwardness, he bellowed.

All is not lost. Our opinion polls here are unscientific and unreliable.

The hope is that, there is still a large number of undecided voters who could determine the outcome of this election.

Pertaining to Nimba County, another battleground in this election, there are well over six presidential and vice presidential candidates with ties there. This further creates the unlikelihood of a fifty-percent plus one vote-winner takes it all first round.

Security seems to be intact. In addition to UNMIL beefing up its strength, there is a 250 advanced Nigerian forces deployed at strategic locations. Those advanced troops will be joined by a number of others with additional logistics later today. In other locations, mechanized police units are posted at various electoral locations of the country.

Final outcome of the election will be announced on October 25, 2017.

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