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Ex-warlord, footballer confirmed as Liberia presidential candidates

FILE PHOTO: George Weah set to contest for presidency of Liberia again

Monrovia, Liberia | AFP |  Twenty candidates will contest presidential elections in Liberia in October, among them a former warlord, a footballer and a fashion model, as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf steps down after two terms, the electoral commission said Monday.

There is no obvious frontrunner to replace the Nobel Prize-winning Sirleaf as head of the fragile west African state she was elected to lead in 2005 following a long civil war, one that has left deep scars on its economy and social fabric.

Elections for the presidency and House of Representatives take place on October 10 — the first time since the end of the conflict in 2003 that Liberia will be holding a vote without the presence of UN peacekeepers.

Ahead of the opening of campaigning on Monday, the UN appealed for the ballot to go ahead smoothly, urging all “to spare no effort in their pursuit of peaceful elections.”

Among the president/vice-president tickets put forward by political parties, key figures from the civil conflict loom large.

Senator Prince Johnson — a onetime rebel fighter filmed drinking beer during the notorious murder of former president Samuel Doe in 1990 — is standing for president for the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).

Football superstar and Senator George Weah will stand for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) with Jewel Howard-Taylor, 54, the ex-wife of Charles Taylor, as his vice-president pick.

Charles Taylor, once Liberia’s most feared rebel fighter, is serving a 50-year sentence in a British jail for his role in fuelling neighbouring Sierra Leone’s own long civil conflict.

Two prominent businessmen, Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings and telecoms tycoon Benoni Urey, are standing on pro-jobs and pro-growth platforms as they aim to bring corporate expertise to the presidency.

Meanwhile the only female presidential candidate, MacDella Cooper, is a former fashion model turned philanthropist who is promising “hope and reform” for the poor, largely rural nation.

Sirleaf’s vice president, Joseph Boakai, is hoping the record of keeping the peace will be enough to propel him to the top job, despite complaints the ruling Unity Party has failed to deliver on the economy.

The international community is preoccupied with electoral violence, however, as the underfunded Liberian security forces take over control of election security from UN peacekeepers.

“These elections, and the subsequent transition, will mark a significant milestone whereby a sitting President will hand over power from one elected President to another,” the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), African Union, and regional body ECOWAS said in a statement.

“We remind political parties of their obligations to peaceful campaigning in compliance with the country’s electoral laws (and) international standards,” it added.

 

8 comments

  1. Amb. Stephen T. Vorkpor

    this is not a full research leaving the hottest Opposition Liberty Party apart from this…….

  2. Amb. Stephen T. Vorkpor

    this is not a full research leaving the hottest Opposition Liberty Party out of this research….. I recommend that the research be revisited

  3. Liberty Party leads the race and is not highlighted. The ruling party’s independent survey puts Liberty Parry ahead by 8 points. Brumskine-Karnwea’s ticket is the hottest ticket in Liberia. The integrity team will win in October. Both leaders are hardworking and have no record of corruption.

  4. George Kanneh Tulay

    I am sorry but I believe that this piece was written intentionally to exclude Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and his Liberty Party. Anyone who’s worth an ounce of credibility writing on our upcoming elections would consider Cllr. Charles Brumskine. He is the candidate with a clear articulated ideology and vision for a new Liberia. That is something almost all those candidates you mentioned including the Vice President have failed to do. In the West leaders are chosen based on the issues and their articulated ideological vision. Why should it be different for Africa.
    More besides Cllr. Brumskine has distinguished himself as a man of integrity and honor which can’t be said for the majority of the competition. Brumskine knows the issues that have been plaguing our beloved country and he has broad appeal. Liberty Party is the Party seen as the major opposition party by many Liberians who believe in the future of our country. Ours is the party touting national development and reconciliation. We have a clear plan to improving and creating the service delivery that will enhance the quality of life for our people.

    Liberty Party 15 commitments to the Liberian People under a Brumskine’s Presidency: Please vote Charles Walker Brumskine for President

    1. Government will underwrite all WAEC fees, and make all government schools free of charge.

    2. Establish a Student Service Corp to draw high school graduates and college students into community service, working for government during their annual vacations. The government will in turn pay for their college education.

    3. Expand the education sector with more formal and informal teaching and training opportunities for school-age children, adult learners, and vocation and technical education. We will computerize the schools, and use the Internet as a tool for learning.

    4. We will not re-create the old Liberian education system—with its bias towards Liberal Arts training leading up to the college level. We will make education more relevant to existing and the future jobs and skills needs of the economy. We will extend the school days to late afternoon, initially on a voluntary basis, to give our children the opportunity to learn more, and to have the benefit of adult supervision while their parents are at work.

    5. We will use the Armed Forces of Liberia as a vehicle to assist with the development of our country. We will establish auxiliary units, such as the Agriculture Battalion, the Engineering Battalion, and the Medical, in which Zogoes and other troubled youth, after been fully rehabilitated, as well as the average young Liberia, who may so desire, to be trained as carpenters, painters, masons, electricians, plumbers, farmers, medical technicians, among others.

    6. We will reintroduce the militia, as a means by which young Liberians may be trained and become reserve soldiers, and in exchange therefor have four-year college education paid for by the government.

    7. Use government procurement of goods and services to give priority to Liberian-owned businesses, build the domestic entreprenurial class, and attract talented Liberians in the Diaspora. This will be supervised by a small business institute (SBI).

    8. We will reactivate and recapitalize the Agriculture Cooperative & Development Bank, establishing branches all over the country, so that our farmers will be able to secure loans to grow more food, with the aim of making Liberia self-sufficient in rice production.

    9. Emphasis will be placed on preventive healthcare as opposed to curative medicine. Liberty Party government will focus government health programs on the true causes of ill health such as poverty, poor nutrition, inadequate housing, and unsafe drinking water, among others. We believe that preventive health measures and improved sanitation are less costly and more effective, which will include a network of mobile clinics that will be placed in each of the 73 electoral districts of the country.

    10. Our social welfare system will be enhanced to include benefits to Liberians over the age of 65, who have not worked in the monetary sector of the economy, primarily rural dwellers who lived off subsistence farming. These citizens will be given a monthly package, sufficient for each to afford at least a bag of rice every month.

    11. Make the Southeastern counties and Lofa and Gbarpolu accessible year-round by road. We will also acquire ferries to connect our coastal counties.

    12. We will create the enabling environment, and provide incentives, to ensure employment of Liberians with disability.

    13. Once I discovered that over the last three years, the Office of the Vice President has received about US$9 million from government, Harrison and I have agreed that should the people of Liberia elect us, we will reduce the salaries of the President, Vice President, and appointed officials of the Executive Branch of Government. We will challenge members of the Legislature to do the same. The savings from these reductions will be used for, among other things, to increase the salaries of civil servants.

    14. We will reform the land law so that every Liberian who, as rural dwellers, possess land their ancestors lived on for time immemorial will be given deeds—fee simple title for their land.

    15. We will create the enabling environment for the establishment of free zones in Liberia, and recommence transshipment, which was a major source of revenue prior to the war.

    • George Kanneh Tulay

      With the exception of one candidate, none of those captured in this article have told the Liberian people Why they should be elected. They just except to get elected because our people are gullible. This is a new era. They ‘re in a shock.

  5. Amb. Stephen T. Vorkpor

    This survey must be fully done again because the top opposition now for the Presidency in Liberia had change because of a very rich policy and workings in the interest of all Liberian that the Liberty Party had pull out so the race now becomes more interesting as Liberty Party brings in a lot of Surprises everyday that lands …….

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