By: James Flomo
Weah, Senator of Liberia’s main city and capital, came first with 39% in the first round of elections held October 10, but this was insufficient to guarantee him a straight win, which Liberia’s constitution peg as 50%+1.
A November 7 second round between Weah and current Vice President Joseph Boakai was suspended by the Supreme Court due to a chain of protests being led by 3rd placed Charles Brumskine against the Electoral Commission. This protest, including a petition for a writ of prohibition to hold off the second round, has received support from ruling party supporters and other lesser parties.
The Elections Commission was also held from continuing with the fraud investigation for another two days, while the Supreme Court heard from a subsidiary motion sought by the ruling Unity Party to demand Elections Documentations they needed for evidence. However the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Elections Commission still had time to continue and complete the investigation, and wouldn’t intervene in their role.
Despite these arguments and the growing concerns in the streets about a probable transitional arrangement, Weah and his core supporters are however optimistic that the run offs will come up, and they will win.
A University of Liberia-based advocate for George Weah, Charles Harmon, says the “picture is very clear. Once we go into the run off Weah wins. So, they can go to court until January, we will still win.”
Harmon argues that those pushing those conspiracy ideas are looking forward to being accommodated in a power-sharing transitional government, “but that will not work. The court will not take sides.”
Mamensie Kabba, an Executive of Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and social media activist warns that the Unity Party is playing games by complaining, yet campaigning for the second round, and called on CDC members and supporters to remain in readiness for the elections, on whichever date is set by the Elections Commission.
Weah has himself said “let them go to court, we will continue campaigning.” This was in response to claims that the court case had already jeopardized his victory.
Speaking on the merits and misinterpretation of the case, Lawyer Kanio Gbala, who ran as a Representative candidate for Liberty Party, but supports Weah for the Second Round, clarifies that “A stay order is not a final decision. It does not establish the validity of the case.”
Since the stay order in the elections, Weah has prevailed on his supporters to remain calm and allow the judicial process to wind out.
He was also among members of the Senate, who met in an emergency session, to encourage citizens and political leaders to exercise restraint as the political issues get resolved.
Weah also joined other candidates and political party leaders who held discussions with a joint African Union-ECOWAS presidential delegation, which had stopped by to provide regional solidarity for the electoral process.
The optimism Weah’s supporters share of his victory was further enlivened this week when the United States, Liberia’s closest and most significant ally, expressed a statement of confidence in the electoral process.