Elections and Party Politics Reviewed: The Liberian Case

first_imgBy John S. M. Yormie, Jr.Introduction/BackgroundEspoused by John Locke, the fundamental constitutional principle is that the individual can do anything but that which is forbidden by law, while the state may do nothing but that which is authorized by law.The doctrine of the rule of law dictates that government must be conducted according to law. In compliance as a nation state, Liberia observes the rule of law and has at the top of the law pyramid the constitution. Article one of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia provides for the inherent power of the people to choose their leaders through elections art.Simply defined as a formal decision making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office, electoral practices date as far back as the medieval period to select rulers such as the Roman Emperor and the Pope. (Encyclopedia Britannica online retrieved July 20,2017).Liberia has appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for the most fraudulent election in 1927. This comes aside widespread perceptions that the 1985 presidential election was rigged, coupled with claims that the 1997 election was fair, but not free. Nonetheless, the 2005, 2011 declarations of the international community and particularly the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) and African Union(AU) observers show an upsurge in the credibility of Liberia’s electoral system.Liberia’s first ever presidential election was contested by then Governor Joseph Jenkins  Roberts of the True Liberian Party and Chief Justice Samuel Benedict of the Whig party in September 27, 1847. Roberts and his Vice President Nathaniel Brander won and became inaugurated on January 3, 1948. (Guannu, 2010).While there are significantly vast elections literature to explore about Liberia, a glance has been given to the early election periods, voting patterns, party sentiments and a look into the 2017 election variables for the presidency.Analysis The scenario that an underrated Leicester City Winning the 2015/16 Premier League  manifesting in Liberia may not be totally an illusion, but will not be in the 2017 elections as certain parties will just be mere partakers. Who will win may not be definite here since we are not in the seat of making prophesy. We can rather analyze who can win.From party and individual levels, the four players which secured the most votes in 2011 are contesting the 2017 elections: Unity Party (UP), Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator Prince Y. Johnson and the Liberty Party (LP).The pecking order may change, but these four are likely to persist, while new players like the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) and All Liberian Party (ALP) will find following places.Let see where the voters are and what influence them:Up to the publication of the paper, about 20 presidential candidates are contesting the October 2017 polls with about 2,183,683 registered voters (available at www.necliberia.org). From the baseline of 2011 the demographic concentration of the most populous counties have not been nullified, having Montserrado and Nimba in pecking orders, with the former from 630,367 (35 percent) in 2011 to 777,503 (35 percent) and latter from 230,146 (13 percent) to 279, 572 (13 percent) available at (www.necliberia.org). There has been an increase in registered voters but maintained percentages respectively.As consistent as it is calendared that Fridays come after every Thursday, tenacity in research has proven that among the most power and influential people in politics in Liberia are Senator George Weah of the CDC and Senator Prince Y. Johnson of then NUDP, now Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction(MDR).Senator Weah won the first round of the 2005 elections, but could not garner the 50 plus one in the second round. He also ran on the ticket of the same party as vice running mate and unarguably his popularity saw his party end up in the runoff although boycotted in 2011. He contested as a senatorial candidate in the 2014 special senatorial elections and emerged as the Senator for Montserrado with 99,226, (78 percent) of the total vote cast. He is still a force in the most populous county.Senator Johnson was not only a candidate in the 2005 elections but a phenomenon of attraction although sometimes perceived as controversial. He amassed an overwhelming vote of  81,820 that accumulated (33.8%) of total votes. He contested also as a presidential candidate and came third, and played a key role in votes mobilization in Nimba that led to the second term of Madam Sirleaf in 2011.He went on to contest the special elections and along with Senator Jewel Howard were the only two candidates seeking reelection who returned, taking up most of the votes of 37,932 (66.6 percent). He remains the single most influential factor in Nimba.Both individuals have not had the salience of lawmaking and representation from legislative score cards from empirical evidences, but their support can be described as fanatical and sometimes hard to falsify from an empirical research viewpoint.Method of campaign finance plays a big role in determining logistical supports which are very important, since it’s difficult to track who owns what in Liberia, not much can be said but to not abandon this key component altogether, it has been observed that the forerunners have displayed material preparedness.Policy driven decision making models have a place on the bus here in Liberia but may not be as significant as personal sentiments and regional affiliations as determinants of voters. In 2005, Korto as a presidential candidate amassed 3.3 percent of total votes nationally. He  pulled  about  30,054 (21 percent) (available at www.necliberia.org) in Nimba, second in rank only to Weah despite noticeable less popularity before the elections.Same appeared with Senator Johnson in the same county during the 2011 polls. The same song was being sang in vote rich Grand Bassa in 2005 as well as 2011, as Brumskine garnered higher votes than any of the presidential contestants (58%  and 37.6 percent respectively).It can be predicted that voting will still take place along these lines but new phenomena may occur. Beginning with Nimba, first round victory for Senator Johnson is likely but not very certain. This means the possibilities are high from fanatically built sentiments. However, the influence of vice presidential running mate Karnwea cannot be rubbished especially having considerable influence where Johnson’s music plays loud (Lower Nimba region).Dissolution of dominance becomes apparent. Not only seeing that as a downside, most of whom played Johnson’s music loud have lost interest in his alleged individual stance on political dividends while others see him as a good Nimba Senator than a better Liberian President. Most of said people have been planted cells of campaign for UP which plays hugely for them and may turn things around quite exponentially.Considering a second round, UP and CDC is better for UP in Nimba. If LP and UP were to be, where Senator Johnson goes will be an advantage. However, even at the most unlikely for UP if the Senator does not go their way, if their cells are maintained by having free flow of finance and logistics, could still pull significant votes.In Grand Bassa, the man is clearly Brumskine, but the recent reemergence of Findley’s popularity can cast some balance, but at the end the LP can still win most of the votes.For Montserrado, it remains beyond regionalism but more of individualism. There will not be a lion’s share, although CDC or the UP may take a bigger portion. The fact is new players previously discussed have gotten a say that cannot be overlooked.Beginning with new ‘darling boy’ Cummings, who has a big track record of serving with integrity in one of the world’s biggest multinational corporations, has earned him some image. Despite speculations of dual nationality, his triumph to reach the ballot paper has set a stage. He has an organized team built around research and analysis sophisticated Taa Wongba. They have mended strategies of attracting musical stars that pull people for his rallies to deliver key messages. His intervention in areas of health and education and limited attacks on oppositions have found him a place on the dining table but faces an uphill task of citizens’ perception of him being a stranger.Big Ben (Mr. Urey) is not a strange name over here. An old time good friend to Taylor may not play people’s perception of his ability to tighten the nuts internationally. However, he has been a good friend to many farmers and students. He has a good record of being a philanthropist to the biggest private university in Liberia, Cuttington University. He has the cash and has influenced many stars (soccer and musical) and will get his fair share especially along the Congau settlements.The former Bank Governor cannot be counted out in the eyes of business people who have had easy means of gathering loans. His track record at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) shows innovation and a modern CBL building under his regime shows development. He, however, cannot pull the change fully due to small team of experts and people who could either play or revert to dirty games.Major AssumptionsThere will not be a one round victory but UP is most popular to reach the second, either with the CDC or LP. Despite the economic hardships faced by many, a half full and have empty situation hangs over the UP. Many have seen reforms and structural developments but in many ways have been overshadowed by unemployment and evident hardship, which have been tied to the UP.But  what has proven to be the UP standard bearer’s main ground has been the sympathy bought by many as a very mature and integrity built person, branding him as the one who can make the change from his lessons learned over the years. Over these recent months, endorsements have shown he has more auxiliaries and regional affiliations, which are very important in Liberian elections.A tighter race will be with the UP and LP because the LP has proven tactical in bargaining and consolidation unlike CDC which has been weak in integrating fellow oppositions coupled with complacency nerves and self-belief on being an unrelinquishing driver. Maybe the politically accomplished female genius of Senator Taylor and other folks from the NPP to the like of Rep. James P. Bannie can change the variables in their favor.The preconditions of parties’ willingness to see nothing but a fair process along with NEC’s cordial relationships with all parties signal less tension. This is very important; and voters’ consciousness after a series of elections at both legislative and presidential levels are evidences of consciousness. However, politicians at grassroots level must avoid provocation while the media’s role of transparent reporting will validate calm.Conclusion/RecommendationsThe paper has mapped historical antidotes of Liberia’s elections from 1847. It identifies issues of fraud in previous elections and raise guarantee of the credibility NEC has earned by conducting free and fair internationally accredited elections. An analysis was also made on who wins the 2017 presidential race and what influence voters with case viewpoints from the most populated counties.About Author: John S. M. Yormie, Jr. is Research Analyst at FSI and Executive Director of Liberia Research and Development Networks. He can be reached at ownbrojya@gmail.com.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Saunders still trying to make a name

first_imgYou can excuse Saunders if he feels like he is in limbo this spring. As soon as Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon are healthy enough to join the rotation, the Angels are expected to send their insurance policy back to Triple-A. Weaver’s status remains up in the air, and Colon isn’t expected back until mid-summer at the earliest, even though he has been impressing manager Mike Scioscia of late with his progress in rehab. So Saunders forges on like an intern who has to return to college in the fall. “For right now, I think hopefully I have a spot,” he said. “I don’t know what Bartolo is doing or what his schedule’s like, so all the best for him. I hope he gets back healthy and see where it takes us.” For now, Saunders is aiming to be the No. 4 starter and preparing to make his season debut April 5 against the Oakland Athletics. Gary Matthews Jr. is showing that the pressure of being implicated in baseball’s latest performance-enhancing scandal might not hurt his play on the field. Matthews, named this week in an investigation of pharmacies selling human growth hormone, crushed a homer to right field. MESA, Ariz. Joe Saunders might have made a splash last season, but he still is fighting for name recognition. On a board entering the concourse at HoHoKam Park on Friday, the Angels’ starting pitcher was listed as “Jose” Saunders. The left-hander made his spring debut against the Chicago Cubs and pitched a solid two innings, allowing a home run to Matt Murton but nothing else. He gave up a walk and recorded four of his six outs on fly balls to Vladimir Guerrero in right field. “I located for the most part,” said Saunders, who had his contract renewed by the club Friday. “That one pitch to Murton I tried to go in and left it out over the plate a little bit and he hit it good. Other than that, I felt my command was pretty good, so I was pretty happy.” center_img “On the practice field he has been great,” Scioscia said. “He knows where his focus has to be and it’s good to see him come out here and play.” Despite the fact his long-toss sessions have been stalled in the 110- to 130-foot range, Weaver insists he is making progress on his sore biceps every time he throws. The biggest reason for his optimism came at the start of camp when he found out he had nothing more than tendinitis. “After I got the MRI results that were negative, it kind of kicked me in the (rear) and made me work harder to get ready,” Weaver said. With John Lackey out as the starter today because of bronchitis, Hector Carrasco will take the mound against the Colorado Rockies at Tucson. Dustin Moseley also will pitch today. Carrasco, Moseley and even Chris Bootcheck have been mentioned as possible starters if Weaver is not ready to go at the start of the season. In addition to Saunders, Weaver also had his contract renewed. The Angels also came to contract terms with nine players: Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Greg Jones, Dallas McPherson, Tommy Murphy, Mike Napoli, Chris Resop, Ervin Santana and Reggie Willits. doug.padilla@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Exclusive – Chelsea star would be perfect for Arsenal, claims former Gunner

first_imgFormer Arsenal striker John Hartson believes Petr Cech would be perfect for the Gunners – but doubts whether Chelsea would let the goalkeeper join one of their rivals.The Czech star has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer, after losing his first-team place to Thibaut Courtois.Arsene Wenger is in the market for a No.1 and is believed to have targeted the Blues shot-stopper.But Hartson, while backing the Frenchman to splash the cash, believes the former Rennes man may be out of reach.“Arsenal have to invest,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show. “Arsene Wenger needs to get the cheque book out again.“Arsenal’s squad is not as strong as Manchester City or Chelsea. They need to go and get the best players out there.“Petr Cech is only 32, so he’s still got seven, eight or even ten years left. Goalkeepers can go on forever. He’s got great quality.“We saw the other night at Leicester, he can still make great saves. Arsenal need a goalkeeper but whether Jose Mourinho will sell Cech to one of his biggest rivals next season? I don’t know.”last_img read more

Brave Tourists Visit Chernobyl to See this Enormous Abandoned Radar

first_imgIt may surprise you to learn that a thriving business exists to convey tourists to Chernobyl, the site of the catastrophic 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown in Ukraine. More than 30 people died within days of acute radiation, about 4,000 died later of related cancers, and experts say the surrounding area won’t be fit for human habitation for 20,000 years.Chernobyl, Ukraine – 26 November 2017. Inside of an unfinished cooling tower of Chernobyl nuclear power plant block 5Nonetheless, in the year 2019 a great many people seem eager to set foot in the contaminated area. Its full name is the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation, which morphed into The Exclusion Zone, and finally…The Zone. Lately however people have even begun to attempt to live in the Exclusion Zone, returning to where they once lived. Check out the video on this:It may appall you to discover that the motivation for a considerable number of Chernobyl tourists is to see how closely The Zone matches the scenes in their favorite video game. S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Shadow of Chernobyl which has sold 2 million copies worldwide. And there are others.View from below looking up at Duga radar. Chernobyl, UkraineBut most of all, it may intrigue you to discover that the partially destroyed Chernobyl nuclear plant and the abandoned town of Pripyat that once housed its workers are not necessarily what visitors are most drawn to once they enter The Zone.Duga radar. Photo by Олег Михайлович CC BY-SA 4.0Instead, they are fascinated by something rising out of the forest a short distance away: the massive but decaying Duga Radar, part of a top-secret Soviet military base reportedly built to detect any nuclear attack launched against the USSR in the first few minutes after such ballistic missiles flew.Duga radar. Photo by Ingmar Runge CC BY 3.0The over-the-horizon Duga Radar stands 492 feet high and stretches almost 2,300 feet in length. It was built in 1972 to be a signal receiver. The transmitting center was built a short distance away in a town called Lubech-1, now also abandoned.Vertical view of Duga radar with people walking below. Photo by Alexander Blecher CC BY-SA 3.0 DEYaroslav Yemelianenko, director of  Chernobyl Tour, told CNN Travel in a recent interview that “Tourists are overwhelmed by the enormous size of the installation and its aesthetic high-tech beauty. No one expects that it is that big. They feel very sorry that it’s semi-ruined and is under threat of total destruction.”The amusement park of Pripyat , It was to be opened for the first time on May 1, 1986, in time for the May Day celebrations but these plans were scuttled on April 26, when the Chernobyl disaster occurred a few kilometers awayFor years Duga Radar was protected by extensive security measures. Those who were not cleared to know of its existence were told it was part of a summer camp if they caught a glimpse and asked questions. This was not believed by nearly anyone.More than just a shock to the eyes, Duga Radar was a torment to the ears of many, many people in the broadcasting and radio world. During the 1970s and 1980s, it emitted a sharp and repetitive “rat tat tat tat” noise, interfering with airwaves all over the world. The tapping sound gave the Duga its nickname “The Russian Woodpecker.”Cold War Duga RADAR Station ChernobylThe reason was its power. It consisted of more than 300 individual transmitter elements, operating as high as 10 million watts. Heard on the frequency 10Hz, it became such a problem that in the 1970s amateur radio operators as well as commercial broadcasters began installing Woodpecker Blankers in circuit designs to dull the interference.Inside the Duga RADAR Station ChernobylBecause the Soviets denied its existence for so many years, and after it became defunct still refused to provide more than scraps of information, several theories have taken shape proposing that the Woodpecker’s purpose was more sinister. It did not exist to monitor missiles but to interfere with submarine communications, alter the weather, or exert mind control, they claim.Cold War Duga RADAR Station ChernobylA hotly debated theory is that the Woodpecker and the Chernobyl tragic accident are related. “All roads lead to Moscow,” says the narrator and protagonist, artist Fedor Alexandrovich, in The Russian Woodpecker, a 2015 documentary (and Sundance Festival award winner) which claims that Chernobyl was premeditated and planned.View from the top of abandoned Duga radar system in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine at autumn timeSoon after the reactor explosion at Chernobyl, Soviet authorities blamed human error, and the man overseeing the nuclear plant was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. Subsequently, design flaws were said to have primarily caused the meltdown.The Soviet Union reportedly spent 18 billion rubles (about $273k) on containing and decontaminating Chernobyl, which drastically worsened its financial crisis. Some analysts say it was the nuclear plant catastrophe that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union.Chernobyl abandoned power plant. Photo by Bkv7601 CC BY-SA 3.0The Duga Radar fell out of favor before the final collapse in 1991. Its technology had reportedly become obsolete with the rise of satellite-based warning systems. By 1989, the “Woodpecker” was silenced.Read another story from us: The Radioactive Dogs of Chernobyl are Being Brought Back into SocietyIn 2011, the Ukrainian government opened The Zone at Chernobyl to tourists over 18. And by 2017, tourism numbers had risen to 50,000 people a year.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.comlast_img read more