Cllr. Jallah’s Win Makes Lofa Voters ‘Look Stupid’ -Says TQ Harris; Frowns on His “Hybrid” win

MONROVIA – The Lofa County senatorial by-election has come and gone, but in its wake a lot of surprises have emerged, prominent among which is the ascendency of Cllr. Joseph Jallah, a man who chose to run as an independent candidate but had the full resource arsenal of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) under his command. Surprisingly, Cllr. Jallah would immediately join the CDC following the National Elections Commission’s announcement of his narrow win over his main rival Galapkai Kortimai of the opposition Unity Party. In the wake of these developments, longtime Liberian politician T.Q. Harris wonders whether Cllr. Jallah did not shortchange those who cast their ballots for him; and whether Cllr. Jallah joining CDC after winning did not make the voters to look stupid.

Voicing his dissatisfaction over what he terms as the duplicitous manner in which Cllr. Jallah ran as an independent candidate but was heavily supported by the CDC and later joined the CDC, Mr. Harris wondered what legacy would Cllr. Jallah take to the Liberian Senate as a “hybrid” politician.

“The just-ended Senatorial by-election in Lofa County has been won by a man who registered with the National Elections Commission (NEC) as an independent candidate. Yet he received massive support from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) making his victory possible.

“Now he is headed to the Senate as what: an Independent or a bonafide member of CDC? What is his political ideology? Is it compatible with that of the CDC? What is the CDC’s political ideology? Can one predict which way the new Senator is likely to vote on critical issues?

“Perhaps it’s time residents of Lofa County, who voted for the incoming Senator, ask themselves these questions: What are the benefits of electing a hybrid (independent-coalition) candidate? Why did he not present himself as the CDC candidate in the by-election?” Mr. Harris wondered.

Representing The Let’s Go Movement, Mr. TQ Harris said his organization has consistently called on politicians and Liberians in general to instill sanity in the country’s electoral process by adopting two applicable political ideologies and present to the NEC, in 2023, only two political parties for the general and presidential election. He furthered that no independent candidate should be permitted to participate in that election.

“This is not intended to stifle, but rather strengthen multiparty democracy in Liberia. As Liberians better understand the workings of multiparty democracy and are properly orientated, the number of political parties and independent candidates’ participation in elections will no doubt increase constructively.

“In the just-ended Lofa County by-election, there is one and only one winner; it is none other than the gentleman who has suddenly been elevated to a lofty position that pays $15,000 United States dollars a month plus fabulous benefits. With little planning, he very well could guarantee himself this astronomical income (by Liberian standards) and the perks for a period of not less than ten (10) years. Thanks to the people of Lofa who have accorded him these awesome privileges at a time when the vast majority of Liberians live on less than one U.S. dollar (US$1) a day,” TQ Harris averred.

Reflecting further on the Lofa senatorial by-election, the renowned Liberian politician said although the people of Lofa were merely engaging in multiparty democracy and the rightful exercise of their franchise, it would be difficult to agree that multiparty democracy won the day in Lofa.

 “Multiparty democracy has not yet produced dividends for the Liberian people since its reintroduction in Liberia with the 1985 election. Because it has been reduced to mindless creation of political parties and the casting of votes every so often to fill vacancies in government. Hence, the Let’s Go Movement has called for calibration of the political landscape starting now and continuing through the 2023 election,” Mr. Harris postulated.

He said, instead of Liberians running after a plethora of politicians who mostly appear during elections, the citizens need to concentrate on the overdue National Census which must be given priority so that threshold may be established and credible voter registration conducted in a timely manner.

“Outcome of this by-election has yet again confirmed that elections in Liberia are extremely costly; and that winning is almost impossible without adequate funding. Therefore, it is unhealthy to raise hopes if one is not financially capable. Collaboration might be a more viable option.

“There must be careful selection of candidates. And, more important, close attention must be paid to the candidate’s electability and his or her chances of winning; and emphasis at the moment should not be placed on political ideology, independent candidates are irrelevant in the political process. They often crossover to the ruling party after being elected, making those who vote for them appear foolish. Therefore, independent candidates need not participate in the 2023 election,” Mr. Harris stated emphatically.

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