The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

2023 Elections And The Seriousness Of The Opposition
—My One Cent Opinion

By Jerome Carngbe
(Journalist and Talk Show Host)

Election history in Africa and the world is replete with incontestable accounts of how people have mostly voted AGAINST regimes, and not necessarily FOR the opposing parties/candidates. When people are disappointed, frustrated, disenchanted, and angry, they demonstrate what we call ‘democratic revolt.’

They vote you out with little or no care about whom they are voting in. When you are killing a snake in your house, you break the television set, wet your clothes, smash your plates and glasses, and then put your broken pieces together after the dangerous visitor (snake) is eliminated.

Again, opposition coming together, as good as it sounds, and also cash, time, and energy effective as it may be, it’s not the only recipe to democratically defeat a regime that has lost the people’s trust and confidence. In election, people vote for their lives (safety, security, bread), and not necessarily the political formation or chemistry of the opposition. The cost of living is stronger than an opposition conglomeration. Bad governance and corruption are stronger than an opposition collaboration, and the market women, including struggling single mothers and the hundred of thousands of business people who are excruciatingly losing or have lost their capitals and livelihoods, will not necessarily wait for an opposition bloc to decide the regime’s fate at the ballot box.

Additionally, in 2016, eight opposition parties met in Ganta, Nimba County with the view of forming an opposition bloc to defeat the then governing Unity Party (UP), but eventually, only three parties (Congress for Democratic Change, National Patriotic Party, Liberian People’s Democratic Party) made the current governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). The objective of changing the government was still achieved in the absence of a large coalition or alliance as envisaged by many. This is a proof that substance is stronger and far more important than from. The purpose of the Ganta meeting was realized with the determination of the politicians and the voters.

Another key point is the waive of opposition victory in Africa in the better part of the last 17 years. Mohammadu Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria), Nana Akufo-Addo defeated John Mahama (Ghana), Hakainde Hichilema defeated Edgar Lungu (Zambia), George Weah defeated Joseph Boakai (Liberia), Julius Maada Bio defeated Samura Kamara (Sierra Leone), just to name a few. This voting pattern has become substantially consistent during the period mentioned and is likely to continue.

Also, I like to disagree with the saying that Liberian voters are confused. I consider this as a groundless and unfair indictment of the ordinary voters. I think it is us, politicians, journalists, and other intellectuals that are confused, and are confusing or attempting to confuse our people. The masses are not confused, and I’m not sure they were confused yesterday and therefore see no reason why they would be confused tomorrow. In 1997, with more than a dozen candidates in the race, our people gave more than 75% of their votes to Charles Taylor. In 2005, they substantially gave their votes to Ellen and Weah, 2011, Ellen and Tubman; and 2017, Weah and Boakai (500,000+ to 400,000+) in the first round. In the 2020 Senatorial Election, the records are there as to how our people voted. They were not confused. They voted deliberately.

Therefore, while I do not dismiss the idea of a major opposition bloc, as good and logical as it sounds, it is not the only recipe (formula) to vote a government out of power once the people are resolved. People vote more against than for. When a woman is fed up with you, forget about the next man she’s going to. Most times she care less about the destination. The departure point becomes more paramount than the destination. At this point, her main concern is to leave the ‘hell.’

My advise therefore, to President George Manneh Weah is to focus more on the bread and butter issues. Listen less to the politicians and listen more to the people; not necessarily your supporters because your supporters will always tell you what you want to hear and not necessarily what you need to hear, and they alone cannot re-elect you. Listen to what the people (masses) are saying at the market places, school campuses, commercial vehicles, community gatherings, on radios and in the newspapers. Respect the opinion polls and think outside the box and thank me later.

Again, 2023 Elections and the seriousness of the opposition—my one cent opinion.

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