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Liberian Presidential election, October 2017

19 January 2017 at 09:09 | 5915 views


Liberian presidential election October 2017: Preliminary observations and advice.

By Dagbayonoh Kiah Nyanfore II, USA.

Often when I listen to Liberian radio stations or when I read the papers on this year’s Liberian presidential election, I observe that some supporters of candidates focus on discussing negatively the opposing candidate or candidates and not talking about their own candidates.

A Liberian talk show guest, for instance, consistently criticizes a particular candidate but gives no platform information of his own candidate. By only speaking negatively of the other candidate, you are saying in essence that the opposing candidate is the one to beat. Meaning, he has the best chance of winning and therefore must be attacked. Attack communication or campaigning has its role in electoral politics, but in many respects it can backfire.

Specifically, in an advanced campaign in developed countries, the opposing camp with adequate resources can implement 24/7 media blast in reaction to a negative campaign or remarks from the opponent or opponents. Such endeavor may include quick or rapid response to any statement from your campaign affecting your platform and making your message difficult to get across. Do not start a fight that you cannot continue and may not win.

If you have a candidate, talk about him/her in the media. Say why your candidate is the right person for the presidency. Talk about your candidate’s vision, character and how he/she is different. Do not dwell on your candidate’s education, speaking or oratory ability and wealth, for they do not concretely tell about the candidate and how he/she is better. They could drive mostly hungry people to your party’s headquarters just to eat from your rich candidate. There are so many starving people in Liberia as I observed. Some possible voters would say to me in reference to a rich candidate, “eh he wants to be president; I will just eat from him” or “let him bring it, we will chop it”.

Make your case simple and answer these questions: Is your candidate different? Does your candidate have a heart, feeling and care for the Liberian people? Did your candidate demonstrate this care before the candidacy? Is your candidate honest and has integrity? Did the candidate treat people fairly in his/her business or private life before entering politics? Does the candidate have a story, a background which the ordinary Liberians can relate to? If so, tell it. Talk about your candidate and not about his/her opponents. If possible, tell the candidate’s story and vision in local languages to be broadcast in villages or rural areas. We are humans and like to know that the person who wants to lead us is one of us.

We Liberians tend to put each other down and at the end, we build nothing. We do not look from within but rather focus on the outside material, saying that this candidate is not presidential material or timber. But that view is old. We have heard it many years ago during the Tubman administration and read it since the creation of the republic. Who sets the criteria or the standard for the highest office? The historical ruling elites who owned properties and controlled the country and government centuries ago, similar to those in plantation White America, set the criteria and made us to view others as unqualified or lacked the pedigree to be president.

We have been programmed historically to believe that a person is presidential material if that person has an impressive education, years of experience in the government, has a good family background and has lived in America. Usually and previously, that person was Congo or Americo-Liberian,a member of the group which ruled and dominated Liberia before 1980. Further, a person was presidential material if that person had a solid family background and good standing in the society or country; was a solid member in the Methodist or Baptist church, in the Masonic Craft and in the True Whip political party, which oppressed Liberians for decades.

But those who met those qualifications and got elected never brought development to the country. Since her independence in 1847, about 170 years old, Liberia is still underdeveloped. Available statistics on the country are embarrassing but factual:

- There is one doctor per 100,000 people.

- There are only two major public hospitals and they were built with foreign funds.

- Education is a mess, according to President Sirleaf.

- Most rural areas lack adequate educational facilities and have little or no educational opportunity.

- 63% of the population has no access to clean and safe drinking water.

- 98% of the people have no electricity.

- Only 6.9% of the roads are paved.

- Economic conditions have not improved.

- Unemployment remains 85% since the president took office.

- The average Liberian lives on less than $US1.25 a day.

- Corruption is a vampire, says again the president.

- Almost all businesses in the country are owned by foreigners and they control the economy.

- The economy is currently in recession, while government increases taxes on basic goods.

- Liberia is among the ten poorest countries in the world, despite our many and rich natural resources.

Our well educated and connected leaders have failed us. Should our country remain that way, and should we and our children live in this condition all the time? Do we need change?

If you do not believe in a candidate, do not speak, write or vote for him/her. Do not also bad mouth the candidate and the candidate’s opponents either. Politics is dynamic. It is moving, changing, and you cannot tell where you would be tomorrow. Be honest and professional in all endeavors.

Role of journalists, press/media
Journalists should play a key role in this presidential election or in any other election. They must carry and report the news fairly, balancing both sides. Accordingly, they are the “watchdogs of the society”. They must verify information and report accurately. Avoid sentiments and personal feeling.

In the past some journalists have taken sides in an election, reporting inaccurate information. For instance, in the 2005 election, it was reported that candidate George Weah had married Mamie Doe, daughter of late President Samuel Doe and that the candidate told the people of Grand Gedeh, Doe’s home county, that he, Weah, would wipe off their tears , referring to their cry and sorrow for Doe’s death. This information was inaccurate. Had the press double checked the information, it would have found out that Mamie Doe, known as Veronica Doe, was already married and was living with her husband in Europe.

Moreover, there was no fact to the alleged statement by Weah. This misinformation was geared to inflame the tension between Grand Gedeh and Nimba that existed during the civil war. As known, Doe was killed by Prince Johnson of Nimba County during the war. The strategy of this reportage was to drive Nimbanean votes away from Weah for the benefit of candidate Ellen Sirleaf of the Unity Party. Here, bad journalism was used to recreate regional division and national disunity for selfish political benefit.

Another failure of journalists was the report in 2005 that Sirleaf had ordered the burning down of Monrovia during the civil war. It was said that the order was broadcast. The press failed to check out the story, and therefore the public generally believed the accusation was true.

Journalists must uphold the codes of journalism and must desist from misinformation and from what I call "prostitution journalism" or journalists selling their integrity. Some news media publish stories which favor their political interests and kill stories or articles which do not, yet they are some of the main news organs in the country. In political coverage, as in other forms of journalism, only the facts should be reported.Journalists should not get personal with the candidate.

In the US, press or reporters covering a campaign report only the event, they ask questions, seek answers and report. Sentimental reporting is discouraged. A journalist, however, can be hired to promote a candidate but not to report the news giving one side only and being dishonest.

Further, the media, as an institution, can endorse a candidate. But the paper must give fair and balanced treatment to all candidates in an election. For example, in the 2016 presidential election in America, the New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton, but it covered fairly all news regarding the election. The paper will continue to cover all news pertaining to the Trump administration professionally, though the paper supported Clinton’s candidacy. That is professionalism; that is a duty.

Need for change
The world is changing politically; people are looking for change. We saw this change in Nigeria and most recently in the Gambia and in Ghana. Moreover, away from Africa, Donald Trump was elected president of the US not because of his education and experience, but because he was different. He represented change! Many observers and pundits thought that he was going to lose, because, using Liberian terminology, he was not presidential material. In fact, his grammar is “just below 6th grade level”, according to a study discussed in The Washington Post.

In short, do not focus negatively on another candidate. Talk about your candidate and tell how your candidate can bring change. If you have to mention the opposing candidate, talk about the candidate’s record or platform and compare it to that of your candidate. Be respectful, factual and convincing, and by doing so, you would be helping your candidate. Journalists have a duty for fair and balanced reporting in a campaign.

There is another side to my advice. This brings me to elections in general. I will also discuss further on Liberian electoral politics.

You may say that my views on electoral politics and campaign are those from America, that political campaigning in Africa is different and that many variables, including tribal and regional factors, can play a role. That is true. It is also true that I gained most of my experience in the US. Africa is a different terrain. I agree.

But all political campaigns have one common goal, which is to win. The way you tailor your message and how you get it across matters. In America, majority of the electorate are literate and have TVs and radios while in Africa, the majority population cannot read and write. Most cannot afford TV or personal radio, so you have to gear your campaign to that reality. However, all electorates are not stupid, they are not fools. They know and see their objective condition and want change. They want improvement in their lives. They want to be able to feed their families and be able to send their children to school. Sometimes the need for change may take a while but it will come; it will happen sooner when they put good, caring and honest people in power.

In Ghana the electorate saw corruption and their declining economic condition and voted for change, despite political, ethnic and regional differences. In the Gambia the people were tired of the Yaya Jammeh rule and voted for change; and so did the Nigerian people in their last election.

When a political institution stays too long in power, it tends to lose focus and takes things for granted. With “belly driven” supporters, praise singers and cheer leaders, the regime can believe that everything is fine and well. We see this behavior many times in Africa.

Ruling Party
In Liberia, the ruling Unity Party is seeking a third term. Meanwhile, corruption and poverty have increased. President Sirleaf is not eligible constitutionally to seek re-election for the third time. Her vice president, Joseph Boakai, is running instead.

However, the party has lost some of its key supporters and is not as strong as before going into this election. Early this month 16 permanent members of the party defected to the new coalition. James Mulbah, Secretary General of the party Montserrado District 4 gave reasons for the defection.

We need a total change of government and realistically speaking my interest is to ensure that the Unity Party is defeated. We need to find another alternative; someone who has the country at heart and with a long history of humanitarian assistance to our people.

When a ruling party has failed in its mandate or its leader is no longer around, the party tends to fall apart or lose its muster. The vice president is not President Sirleaf. VP Boakai is generally layback, non action oriented and a non get-go-person. He was agriculture minister under Samuel Doe. Before that, he managed a produce marketing corporation, a government agency.

Sirleaf has said that she and the VP would retire together. Seemingly, he was forced to run by some party members who feared losing their government positions if he retires, for apparently these members see no one known nationally to lead the party.

Opposition Parties
On the other hand, the opposition are not united. The just organized Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is so far the only coalition party. It includes the Congress for Democratic Change, CDC, which is considered the largest opposition party in the country. The NPP is a member with Senator Jewel Howard, former wife of Charles Taylor. Another member is LPDP with House Representative Alex Tyler, ex-speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives. Jewel Howard is a senator from Bong County.

There are over 15 opposition parties. Last year leaders of the opposition met in Ganta, Nimba County and vowed to form a united coalition, but weeks later two of the parties started attacking each other. The opposition parties were undecided on who should be the standard bearer of the proposed coalition. Even political leaders of newly formed opposition parties refused to go second, wanting to be number one, a move some observers view as “ego tripping.

While opposition leaders fight among themselves for first place, FrontPage Africa, a leading paper in Liberia, has reported that some opposition leaders individually were in secret talks or in meetings with Vice President Boakai to go second place with him. This behavior resembles that of crabs in a basket.

The indecision, the infighting and power struggle among the opposition parties seem to have led to the creation of a coalition of a few parties mentioned above. The National Elections Commission last December certificated the coalition. It is hoped that the other opposition parties would join the coalition. However, the coalition has vowed to defeat the ruling party and win with or without the rest of the opposition.

Opposition Candidates
The following discusses briefly some of the key candidates of the opposition parties. Detailed discussion will be covered in subsequent articles. Other candidates have either been mentioned earlier or will be discussed later.

Charles Brumskine, Jr. of the Liberty Party is a lawyer. He was the main legal advisor of Charles Taylor’s rebel government during the civil war. He served as president pro-temp of the senate under Taylor’s adminstration. He became standard bearer of the Liberty Party in election 2005 and as member of the National Patriotic Party after the 1997 election.

Benoni Urey is a businessman, a minority owner of Lonestar Cell, a telecommunications company, which is part of MTN Group, a foreign owned company. He is board chair of Lonestar Cell. He is also a farmer. He had served as commissioner of Liberian Maritime Authority, then Liberian Maritime Affairs under Charles Taylor. The UN had put a travel ban on him and others for an alleged role in the Liberian Civil War but later de-listed them from the ban. He and others, including President Sirleaf, are still on the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) list of individuals recommended to be prosecuted and barred from holding public office for 30 years for alleged participation in the civil war. In the 2011 election, he supported the CDC before later forming the All Liberian Party (ALP), of which he is its political leader.

Alexander Cummings is a retired Coca-cola executive, who has resided in the US for many years. He joined the Alternative Nation Congress (ANC), a break away group from CDC, and became the group’s political leader after its stewardship by attorney Kwame Clements.

Dr. Mills Jones is a former Governor of the Liberian Central Bank. He had worked as an executive of the International Monetary Fund before joining President Sirleaf’s administration. He is a founding member of MOVEE, Moment for Economic Empowerment and is its political leader.

A recent presidential poll shows that the race would be between CDC’s George Weah and the ruling Unity Party’s Joseph Boakai in the second round if there is one. A candidate must win 50 plus percent of the total national votes to avoid a runoff.

Another recent, but more sophisticated poll was conducted by the Liberian Trust Communications, which surveyed 1000 youths in Monrovia. In the poll, George Weah won by a landslide followed by VP Joseph Boakai. Charles Taylor did far better than the other candidates, including Charles Brumskine (Liberty Party), Benoni Urey (ALP) and Alexander Cummings (ANC). Though the poll was not comprehensive and national, it gives some useful insights.

That poll was interesting in that the candidates’ names were not given in the survey question. For instance, it asked: if the presidential election were held today, who would you vote for? Here the voters named individuals whom they wanted to be president and not selecting a name from a list. It was interesting also that some mentioned Charles Taylor as their choice, though he is in prison in the UK for war crimes. The poll shows that he is still popular despite his crimes and imprisonment.

Major Strongholds
Youth constitutes over 50% of the population. Montserrado County, where Monrovia is located, is the largest populated county in Liberia with about 1.1 million people, out of a national population of approximately 4.5 millions. It has gone CDC in the first round of the past two presidential elections.

The youth voting population should increase this year, about 2.58% national population growth estimate for 2017. A child who was eight years old in 2005 would be eligible to register to vote in this election. Parties that are youth oriented should do well provided they secure their support base.

Nimba, the second largest county, has favored Senator Prince Johnson, a former rebel leader, who won third place in the first round of the 2011 presidential election. He was re-elected as a senator in the 2014 election for the county. The Nimbanians are loyal to him. He is now a candidate for president. While the senator has earlier called for the formation of a coalition of the opposition, he is viewed to be inconsistent and unreliable. For example, in the second round of the 2011 presidential election, he supported President Sirleaf, though prior to the election he danced with CDC and called himself a Godfather of the party.

Bong is the third largest county. It has always supported Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, the darling of the county. As said prior, her party has joined the coalition. Like Prince Johnson, she was re-elected as a senator in the last senatorial election. She and Johnson were the only two candidates who were re-elected as senators. However, the Liberty Party and the newly formed ALP are making their way in the county and could split the votes in Bong in this election

Lofa County is the home of the VP. It is the fourth largest county. It is hard to tell which party has a strong grip of the county. There is a growing feeling that the vice president does not have strong support in his county. In a recent county representative election for his Foya District, his supported candidate lost to the Liberty Party candidate. The loss was an embarrassment to the VP who had campaigned seriously for his candidate.

It has been reported that the president does not appear to support the VP as her replacement for the presidency, and that she would prefer Liberty Party Counselor Charles Brumskine. The counselor is from Grand Bassa County, his stronghold, which is the fifth largest county. A source close to the president has remarked that she does not want a “country boy” to succeed her. However, the president is on record for saying that Vice President Boakai must work for the job just as she did in previous elections. The president has also said that no party can win the presidency without forming a coalition/merger.

The above stated strongholds are important for a successful election campaigning. The president was right that it would require a coalition or collaboration to win. While unlike the US, where election of president is based on Electoral College votes, in Liberia as in other African countries, it is based on popular votes. A candidate who or a coalition which is able to capture large votes in these counties or perform well in the counties would stand a better chance of winning. If the coalition focuses or a unified opposition concentrates on these counties, it could win in the first round and avoid a runoff. If there is a runoff with the ruling party, UP could win by using available resources to negotiate with the other opposition parties for their support.

Data from the last two presidential elections and review of the strength of the other candidates would support the above assertion. In the first round, Nimba went to Joseph Korto (LERP) in 2005 and to Prince Johnson (NUDP) in 2011. Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine did poorly in 2011 compared to 2005, taking third and fourth place respectively. He received a vote decrease of about 9% from 13.9% in 2005 to 5.45% in 2011.

Although the Liberty Party now appears to be better organized and financially stronger than before, ALP and ANC are making inroads in Grand Bassa. At the same time, ALP’s Benoni Urey and ANC Alexander Cummings are not nationally and popularly known especially in rural Liberia, even though they are financially well-off individually and generate enthusiasm as newcomers to the national electoral process. Brumskine’s Liberty Party, CDC and Urey have individually taken the administration to task on national issues however.

Sinoe County, which has less population compared to the other named counties, is the home of Dr. Mills Jones, leader of MOVEE. He falls in the same category as Urey and Cummings as a new candidate. His candidacy resembles that of Ambassador Dew Mayson (NDM/NDC), who started with high momentum in 2011 but captured 0.48% of the total national votes in the first round. Mayson got 7% from his home county Sinoe. Mills Jones could do better than Mayson considering MOVEE’s economic empowerment platform, which has attracted many market women. He could win Sinoe but may receive not more than 5% of the national votes. This figure could apply also to Urey and Cummings. They have no stronghold.

In a race with many candidates fighting for advantage particularly in a low populated area, the established and popular candidates tend to dominate, making new and less popular candidates to get fewer votes. This usually happens at the close of the race when the dust is clear.

Indeed results of the national votes of 2005 and 2011 presidential elections attest firmly to the above expression: Sirleaf, Weah, Brumskine, Tubman and Johnson got the highest votes while Varney Sherman, Roland Massaquoi, Kennedy Sandy, Gladys Beyan, Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Dew Tuah-Wleh Mayson and the other candidates received far less votes. For example, individual votes of the lesser candidates were 3.3%, 1.13%, 1.06%, 0.63% and 0.48%.

Sirleaf’s Unity Party was able to win by capturing Nimba, thanks to Korto in 2005 and to Johnson in 2011 and by receiving significant votes from the other large counties. The other counties have less population and therefore their votes did not make enough impart in deciding the outcome. She received 59.4% of the total votes in the runoff of 2005, up 39.6% from 19.8% in the first round. Weah got 18.8% less, amounting to 40.6% votes in the runoff.

The president struggled in her re-election bid in 2011. On Election Day, Liberians stood in the rain in a large turnout to vote. She was unable to obtain the 50% plus votes, forcing a second round. She received 43.93% while Winston Tubman of CDC got 32.68%.

Usually an incumbent with a good record of accomplishments and national support would ride easily to re-election as happened in presidential elections in Liberia neighboring countries.

For example, in Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC) won the presidency in the second round in 2007. He easily won re-election in 2012 out of 8 opposition candidates. His party also won majority seats in parliament with 67 seats out of the 112 elected parliament seats in that year.

Sirleaf did not do that in her re-election bid. Despite some successes, her government was marked by unfulfilled promises on electricity availability and better economic conditions. However, the opposition failed to capitalize on UP’s weaknesses. Instead, some collaborated with the regime in the second round. CDC boycotted the runoff for alleged electoral fraud, hence paving the way to an unopposed second round with low turnout on a sunny Election Day.

On the other hand, ground reality disfavored CDC in the 2011 second round: besides Johnson’s support to Sirleaf, Brumskine of Grand Bassa and fourth place finisher, pledged support to the president. Thus with Boakai’s Lofa in the bag, Sirleaf had secured three of the five largest counties and hence would have made it difficult for a CDC victory.

Additionally, there was an economic factor beyond CDC. According to some economic analysts, the ruling party appeared to have taken liberty of state resources without concern of future consequences to achieve a political goal. Not only did the party meet its re-election objective, some individual political actors benefitted financially from the process.

In an apparent disappointing move to the supporters, after the election, President Sirleaf did not offer Johnson, as he had desired, the power to share in the selection of appointments for government jobs, and neither did Brumskine receive his requested appointment as Liberian representative to ECOWAS. The counselor, however, is said to have received large corporate clients for his law firm. He has later announced retirement from politics. Now he has come out of retirement and is again standard bearer of the Liberty Party.

In short, with the above discussion, a candidate with strong support in the five large counties with name recognition nationally would stand a better chance in this election. Further, as it looks in this election, a united opposition or coalition is the one to beat. Again, this is an initial analysis; the variables may change as we get close to Election Day.

President Sirleaf was first elected in 2005 under the general thinking and impression that with her Harvard education, international experience and contacts she would be a better president than soccer legend George Weah. Weah ran as standard bearer of CDC. During the election, he admitted that he was a high school dropout. Though he won the first round of the election, he lost to Sirleaf in the runoff. CDC felt cheated.
But Sirleaf, in an interview, attributed Weah’s loss to complacency while others said he lost because he was uneducated and had no political experience. Anyway, Weah has since gone back to school and has obtained a master’s degree. He is now a senior senator of Montserrado County. He is expected to be the standard bearer of the coalition.

George Weah has become a central focus in Liberian opposition party politics in present day Liberia, primarily because he is the political leader of the main opposition party in Liberia. In 2014, he won the Montserrado senatorial race by a landslide against Robert Sirleaf, son of the president. The senate was viewed as a testing ground for the new senator. Since his ascendancy to the senate in 2015, Weah has been criticized and praised.

Critics say that he has done nothing; he has not spoken out on issues and has not shown care for the people. For his silence, they call him “Bobo”, one who cannot talk. They ask that if he cannot speak out now for his constituents in Montserrado, how can he speak for the nation if he is president. They also alleged that he has not demonstrated leadership and has been absent many times from legislative sessions.

Another side says that the senator, as head of the legislative delegation to ECOWAS, sometimes travels to attend ECOWAS meetings, the reason for his absences at the legislature. It says that as senator, he has done many things, including advocating for youth employment, resolving police and motor cyclists conflict, co-sponsoring the energy efficiency bill for energy privatization for cheaper electricity, advocating for effective use of Ebola vaccines and for the establishment of insurance for healthcare workers, providing personal scholarships to 500 students, some are not from his county and paying the hospital bills for 300-400 poor patients at the SOS hospital.

Supporters also have indicated that senator Weah believes in quiet diplomacy, involving closed door discussions and resolutions to legislative matters. He preaches tolerance, leadership by example and does not respond to many criticisms. He has called and pleaded with the president for clemency of jailed Grand Gedeneans, yet he kept quiet of his possible effort for the recent release of some Grand Gedenean prisoners and for his many humanitarian deals.

The coalition will hold its convention later this month and expects to draw delegations from the various counties.

Setbacks of the coalition
While the coalition has received praise, it has met some criticisms. The paramount complaint is that the organization contains individuals with tainted characters, referring specifically to Former Speaker Alex Tyler.

In May 2016, Tyler, Senator Varney Sherman, then chairman of the ruling party and other former and current government officials, were indicted for bribery in the Sable Mining case. Tyler was a key member of the Unity Party. He later left the party and helped form LPDP, now part of the coalition. With the indictment, he was forced to resign the speakership, a move viewed by some observers as the underground work of the president.

However, some viewers have expressed the view that the key criticism on the coalition is unfair; that the coalition is an organization of parties and not of individuals and that the bribery charge is an allegation. Attorney Kanio Bai Gbala, host of Gbala and Dumoe Show and chair of communications for the coalition, argued that the former speaker is innocent until proven guilty and that to deny Tyler’s participation in the organization simply on an accusation would violate Tyler’s civil rights.

Call for peace, fairness and transparency
I have learned a lot from my recent visit to Liberia. Certainly it is on this basis that I offer this preliminary pieces of advice. I have also observed that some candidates know that they are not electable, yet they are in the race and are spending money. Some are ineligible to run for president according to the Liberian constitution, but they are running anyway. Others are hoping for a second round so they would negotiate and partner with one of the two finalists in the second round. For this purpose, they are reluctant to join the opposition coalition.

There is now freedom of expression in Liberia more than in previous governments, thanks to the Sirleaf administration and to the Liberian people for ensuring that there is peace and security though fragile. The announced decision by the UN Security Council to extend UNMIL presence in Liberia is welcoming. The press must responsibly utilize this space to exercise its civil and professional duty. The 2017 presidential election will be crucial. Liberians should use their constitutional right to register and vote. Civil society and institutions must play a vital role.

I hope that the Liberian National Elections Commission and the Supreme Court will carry out the will of the Liberian people, as will be expressed on Election Day. I also call on the international community, particularly the US government, to respect and honor that will. Liberia and the Liberian people cannot afford another civil unrest, another civil war. The election should be peaceful.

The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conducted a study, which is of concern regarding the election. The study surveyed 1500 Liberians in the 15 counties of the country in mid 2016. The survey reveals that the wounds of the civil war have not completely healed and that violence and civil unrest could resurface if injustices and economic inequality are not addressed and violation of constitutional rights, including land rights is repeated. Despite criticism on the study, the revelation confirms the fragility of peace and security in Liberia. Moreover, it reaffirms the need for genuine peace and for a fair and transparent election.

The presidential election will be held in October this year, still far away and the dynamics could change. I will endeavor to update on the election and give commentaries.

Happy New Year!