Liberian Election 2017: The Donald Trump’s Trademark Style of Campaigning On Divisive Politics Must Be Discouraged

By: Josephus Moses Gray

J. Moses Gray

The future of the nation will be decided this year’s October when Liberians go to the poll to decide the prospect of the country for the next six years of post-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s era. As several elections elsewhere around the world have shown, the possibility of major setback cannot be ruled out in the forthcoming momentous elections especially the presidential one.

The Donald Trump’s trademark style of campaigning centered on xenophobia is finding its way into the body politics of Liberia, as divisive politics of hate speech of tribalism, coarse nationalism and ethnicity are not out of place among a growing number of the candidates’ supporters and associates.

However, this article discusses the issues of “Native-Congo” affairs in this year’s elections while the article also further digs into the essential role of Liberian women. It further goes on to assess how democracy is perceived and practiced nowadays in post-war Liberia, with focus on the general overview of divisive politics and Liberian women involvement in the this year’s poll.

On the dark side of democracy, one may ask: Will majority of the electorates be prepared to make sound decisions to place power in the hands of men and women who are people-centered or will voters go for the opposite by trading the ever present chronic tradition of their ballots in exchanged for monetary gain and a ‘tea spoon full of raw rice to pathetically, but heartlessly just for few minutes ease their immediate quest and livelihood.

Otherwise will Liberians use the October elections to punish or discipline the hard and bitter way the political corrupt bureaucrats, failed politicians or do the opposite to make wrong choices again? In other countries, the people hold their leaders’ feet to the fire to fulfill their promises, but for Liberia, the situation is to the dissimilar.

That is why during these elections’ processes, the masses are taken for a short ride while consistently being viewed for granted by those seeking their votes; all is squally due to ignorance by our people due to the high rate of illiteracy in the country. The people, bulk of the voting population is taken being for granted by the corrupt bureaucrats and crooked most of whom are sealed in leadership.

The nation is yet to see a captivating political character, one imbued with the political chemistry to uprightly win the 2017 presidential election, a character who can remove greater number of poverty-stricken messes from abject poverty to a new level of appreciative livelihood, improve the provisional and basic necessities including electricity, paved roads across the country, safe drinking water for a majority of the population, reduce the massive unemployment and create jobs, ensure quality education and decentralized available and affordable healthcare delivery system among other necessities of human needs.

But can these essential provisions be visible in the absence of placing state authority in the hands of a  leader-one who lacks the political will to decisively combat  the menace of corruption and cannot commend greater respect from the population?

Unlike in the United States and Europe where elections are tied to specific national issues that affect the well-being of the people and the state; rather elections in Africa especially in Liberia is directly the opposite.

The process in Liberia is based on personal appetite or what is disgracefully dubbed as belly-driven quest and not people-centered and progressive development-oriented, as politicians put into place an obscure plans using false innuendo to disadvantage the poverty-stricken masses and illiterate population.

For instance, in the USA and Europe, campaigning are based on the party’s ideology of a far right, far left or center right or center left; or in most instances reduced to rightists vs leftists. But in the case of Liberia, these elections are about individuals, connection, tribal and family linkage as well as personalities with no clearly defined ideologies of political parties in the country.

Political institutions especially parties in Liberia are built around individuals, such is the case of the governing Unity Party, CDC, Liberty Party, ALP, UPP, LAP, and several others. For this we have seen it far too long; man like political appointees; when the system falls or goes they also disappear; meaning the parties are individual-bound and when the individual goes out of circulation, the so-called followers also go into obscurity.

Whenever these individuals whose influences and financial assistance breathe life and hope into these parties are operating on are no more around, such a party is doomed and definitely will collapse. As an evident, this has been the case of several political parties such as the TWP, NPP, UPP, LUP, LAP and NDPL.

For instance, two former ruling parties-NDPL and NPP were exclusively centered on the financial supports and influences of ex-presidents Samuel K. Doe and Charles Ghankay Taylor; and true to the hard facts of reality, these two parties no longer possess the political dynamism in this era to occupy the presidency.

As Liberians go to the polls this October in a landmark presidential and Legislative elections, the process is being closely monitored particularly due to the destructive nature of electoral contests, where not only have personal attacks become common, but also where in many instances, would-be-candidates and their associates engage in divisive politics by playing on the raw nerves of ethnicity, race and religion in order to play in their favor against the interests of the others.

Liberian politicians and political activates are shamelessly and actively legitimizing all sorts of unbearable rhetoric of ntive-congo divisive politics in the country; policies based on people’s identity: racism and homophobia.

But one might ask, is divisive politics the answer to our daunting problems in Liberi? But what is most interested to ordinary Liberians is the wiliness of politicians to come to the political table and see their role as representing one umbrella nation of red, white and blue within a democracy of parties.

In recent time divisive politics have taken an upward trend, as certain politician and lawmakers have been angels and prophets of advocating tribal, sectional and regional divisive politics.

Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine has once said the Bassa people have been tied of making people president while the people of Lofa are spearheading a momentum campaign that this is the time a citizen of their county to become the heir to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, arguing that they are tired of occupying the Vice president position of Liberia.

The Lofa citizens have embarked on a tribal campaign by saying that the time has come for their Uncle Vice President Boakai to be president and that any son or daughter who stand in their  uncle way for the presidency would be considered as a “curse” while the majority boc of the National Legislature has been the main architect of the Native-Congo  politics in the October 10th presidential poll..

By: Josephus Moses Gray/The Author/

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About Cholo Brooks 15641 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.