George Weah, a former international football star from Liberia, is seeking re-election to the country’s presidency on Tuesday. Voters’ top priorities are peace and development.
A group of men discussed their priorities for the 10 October presidential and parliamentary elections in Buchanan, about 150 kilometers east of the capital Monrovia, under a tin roof.
Better healthcare, education, roads, jobs, and living expenses were all topics of discussion. However, there was one underlying problem in a nation ravaged by repeated civil wars.
Peace is what we most anticipate, said 37-year-old Melvine Zoega.
More than 250, 000 people died as a result of the West African nation’s conflicts between 1989 and 2003.
Although the two major political parties have vowed to vote peacefully, recent clashes between their supporters, which resulted in the deaths of three people, have raised concerns about a resumption of violence.
Whoever wins, we advise the youth to accept it. David Tokpah, 55, said,” Whether it’s our candidate or not.
” The previous conflict was terrible. Numerous innocent people perished. We are aware of where that has led us over the past 14 years, so we don’t want it to happen again.
While the electoral commission wants to reassure voters that it can organize fair and credible polls, the authorities have vowed to find troublemakers.
In a region where there have been several recent coups, observers from the European Union, Africa, the West African bloc ECOWAS, and the United States have all been sent there.
CORRUPTION AND DEVELOPMENT
If a candidate doesn’t win the first round with an improbable absolute majority, Weah will face 19 candidates, and the second round of voting is scheduled for early November.
The nation’s 2.4 million voters will have the option of choosing between the 15 senators and the 73 seats in the House of Representatives when polling places open from 0800 to 1800 GMT.
Within a few days of the vote, the preliminary results are anticipated.
One of the front-runners for the presidency is Unity Party former vice president Joseph Boakai.
Any vote manipulation or cheating, according to him, will result in” the end of this country.”
Boakai, 78, wants to exact revenge on the current president for defeating him in 2017’s second round.
Prince Johnson, a former warlord and senator, is one of the alliances he has formed, and if the ruling party meddles in elections, the people will revolt.
Boakai has vowed to improve Liberia’s poorest citizens’ quality of life, infrastructure, and national image.
The World Bank estimates that more than a fifth of people live on less than$ 2.15 per day, and staple food prices have skyrocketed.
Weah is accused of leading a corrupt system, and Boakai, who served as vice president from 2006 to 2018, presents himself as an honest replacement.
Five senior Liberian officials have received sanctions from the US for three years of alleged corruption.
Liberia came in at number 142 out of 180 nations according to Transparency International’s 2022 perceptions of corruption index.
” MAN OF THE SITUATION”
In Monrovia’s West Point slum, George Mobo, however, is not particularly concerned about corruption.
The 30-year-old said,” Look at African nations and tell me which ones are not corrupt.”
His top priorities are employment, peace, and education.
Sitting close to a brand-new football stadium constructed under the president’s watch, his friends concur.
The man in charge of the situation is President Weah. He created free education and roads. For two years, there was also the coronavirus. He will now perform better, according to John Seaton, 24.
Weah gained notoriety after becoming the first and only African to win the Ballon d’Or, football’s most prestigious individual award, in 1995. He took office in 2018 after winning an election in October 2017.
In a nation where more than 60 % of the population is under 25, the former PSG, Monaco, and AC Milan striker, who grew up in Monrovia’s slums, is well-liked by young people.
Posters comparing him to his running mate Jewel Howard-Taylor, the ex-wife of imprisoned former president and warlord Charles Taylor, are strewn across the streets of the nation’s capital.
Loudspeakers have been blasting music praising Weah during street processions for his party, the Congress for Democratic Change.
Former Coca-Cola executive and philanthropist Alexander Cummings and human rights attorney Tiawan Gongloe are Weah’s main rivals, along with Boakai. The outcomes they achieve may be crucial in the long run.