Friday, December 5, 2014
My Fellow Liberians:
Today, the Robert A. Sirleaf Campaign for Senator of Montserrado County has directed its lawyers to file a suit against the Government of Liberia. On behalf of the people of Monrovia, and in our own name, we have represented to the courts that Executive Order No. 65 is discriminatory, punitive and wrong, and it seeks to undermine the ongoing democratic process by which the citizens would elect the individuals they believe to be qualified to represent their interests in the government for the next nine years.
The Order is discriminatory in that it seeks out only the people of Monrovia for its enforcement when the issue it proposes to cure – the possible transmission of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease – is actually occurring all across the country. It clearly is punitive because it punishes all the people of Monrovia many of whom continue to respect and abide by the Ebola Preventive Procedures established by the government and its partners. Obviously, these people do not need to be punished for observing the law.
And it undermines the ongoing democratic process.
Firstly, it seeks to unfairly portray all campaigns as incapable of controlling their supporters and of conducting themselves in line with the provisions established and agreed upon by the NEC, political parties and independent candidates should these other campaigns decide to also publicly turn out their supporters. I strongly reject this characterization as our campaign has and will continue to be orderly and respectful of all others.
Secondly, it creates an unfair advantage for one candidate over the others. By seeking to suddenly ban the public display of support by other campaigns who may desire to do so, the government has generated the wholly false impression in the minds of the electorates that other campaigns may not have the capacity to turn out numbers sufficient to confirm their ability to win these elections. Failing to turnout supporters will not only demotivate campaigns that are desirous of doing so but also could unfairly influence the votes of independents, as well as discourage many from turning out on Election Day.
Thirdly, we have already heard threats about cheating and the promised consequences. The turnout of one campaign without permitting others to do the same would lay dangerous basis for these claims and threats to be possibly realized. The veiled message of Executive Order No. 65 – that because one campaign turned it supporters out and others did not by which a reasonable assessment could be made about the actual strengths, depths and competitive advantages of each campaign – will play favorably to support claims of cheating and threats of disorder should another candidate other than the one who turned his supporters out, wins.
We believe that Executive Order No. 65 is dangerously wrong to impress the minds of the public that only the candidate who turned out his supporters deserves to win, and as such, an outcome which does not confirm this belief ought to be fraudulent. Therefore, rather than an orderly process which the Order may have intended, largely on account of the public perception which the Order itself wrongly creates, disorder could actually follow the announcements of results.
Finally, and of no less importance, we have sued the government and are determined to set this Executive Order aside because it is wrong. We submit that we have also seen violations of the Ebola preventive measures, and we condemn these violations. However, it is always wrong to change the rules of games in the middle of the games. And although intentions may be right, it is always better that our actions are right, as we are judged not necessarily by our intentions but by our actions.
And so, as we legally challenge Executive Order No. 65, we again propose to all of us who dare to present ourselves in the service of our people at this time to act as the leaders our people truly deserve. I ask all of us seeking these political offices to let our actions keep our people alive, and as I have promised, let our mission of service truly empower our people with opportunity and hope for a better future.
May God bless us all. I thank you.