By Togba-Nah Tipoteh
Many people think that a person is winning from an election when he or she gets the highest number of votes. This Commentary is saying that winning is about performance in the interest of the voters rather than getting the title from the election. There is overwhelming evidence about persons who get the highest votes in an election and receive titles, but do not have records of performance in the interest of the voters.
The only way to get good persons elected is to have fair elections. Fair elections can take place only when the National Elections Commission (NEC), the supervisory body for elections, is composed of persons who have been appointed on the basis of the Constitution of a country, such as Liberia. Whenever NEC is not constitutionally constituted, it is impossible to hold any fair election. Witness the elections held under the Chairpersonship of Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, a citizen of the United States of America (USA). In the Togba-Nah Tipoteh versus Korkoya Case in the Supreme Court of Liberia to declare the NEC Chair constitutionally unacceptable for State office, the Supreme Court declared that it was not prepared to rule on the Case. Up to now, the Supreme Court has not made any ruling on the Case, but elections are being held. It was the same Chairperson Korkoya who declared the non-relevance of the voter registration roll (VRR) and brought in hundreds of unvetted NEC elections personnel, while not cleaning up the voter registration roll. In fact, NEC was using two broken down/ineffective voter registration machines donated by UNDP. The VRR remains unclean, as reported by the internationally acclaimed Daily Observer Newspaper.
As the electoral system remains unfair, bad governance continues because good persons are not elected and with bad decision-making at the level of the State, longstanding and widespread poverty prevails, becoming the pretext for violence and even civil war, as seen in the Liberian Civil War of 1989 to 2003. The government that overthrew the previous government publicly admitted the prevalence of corruption and lack of reconciliation in the midst of the poverty quagmire. The present government, laments about the persistence of corruption and mass poverty, meaning that the conditions that led to the Civil War in Liberia still exist.
Persons who have been elected and now bear titles continue to boost about their winning but they have only the following poor societal records to show:
- near all Liberians remain poor, having access to less than USD2 a day while their Legislators have access to an average of USD1000 a day;
- Unemployment, especially youth unemployment, continues to stand above 80 per cent:
- The school system remains westernized and irrelevant;.
- Physical facilities in schools are still inadequate;
- The health system continues to be irrelevantly curative rather than relevantly preventive; and
- Foreigners in the Commercial Sector alone have access to USD50 million a month doing work and owning businesses that Liberians should do and own under the Constitution of Liberia. Therefore, we can see from the foregoing evidence that winning is about performance in the interest of the voters and not about titles.
What is the Way Forward for the Better? The Way Forward for the Better is to use available knowledge to raise awareness in ways that motivate the masses, the voters, to take non-violent actions to change the raw materials for export system, a poverty generating system, and bring in value addition/manufacturing under Liberian ownership, the poverty alleviating system.