By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The long-awaited Senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties were greeted with a very poor attendance while many persons expressing serious frustration in the process.
This is the first democratic elections under the regime of President George Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). This is also part of the famous development agenda code named “Pro-Poor”.
Polling places and centers in central Monrovia and its environs were virtually empty while polling staffs, security personnel and candidates’ observers were dozing to sleep while others were slowly walking around to avoid sleep.
According to our reporter who tours most of the centers in central Monrovia and its environs, he observed that not many persons were seen at voting centers.
Our reporter stated that polling started just in time at many of the centers he visited, but electorates were nowhere to be found at those centers in order to cast their ballots
A polling staff on the main campus of the University of Liberia identified as Davies told our reporter that the center was boring and wanted to catch some sleep because according to him, people were not turning out to vote.
“Hmm…my brother to where I am now, I want to sleep because the people are refusing to come and vote since we stated this morning only ten persons have been here so far, imagine all of the observers are all standing out there and will only rush in when they see a person coming into vote and that happens after every thirty to forty five minute,” a polling staff told our reporter.
Also, many persons said they never had interest in the process, thus, they are tired of voting for lawmakers who in their words would not seek their interest but said lawmakers look at personal gains.
Others complained that there was not sufficient awareness carried out about the process, something which they attributed to the poor turnout of the election.
“For me, I’m not going to vote for anyone, because I’m not here to make anybody rich while my children and I suffer in this hard country. These people are only interested in they and their families and friends and leave us the common people to suffer,” a middle age female, Marie Wesseh told our reporter.
Another Liberian, Prince Nagbe says “the National Elections Commission (NEC) did not do much awareness about this whole election business for which many people did not turnout, so I do not see why they requested for all that money for in the first place.”
It can be recalled the National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah stated that the commission submitted a three point nine million United Stated dollars (US$3.9m) budget to central government for the conduct of the by-elections, but said amount was reduced to two point seven million United States dollars (US$2.7M) by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), a situation which delayed the holding of the election earlier.
Meanwhile, the by-election is as the result of the elections of the current President and Vice President, Ambassador George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor respectively.