Monrovia, Liberia: Liberians will go to the polls again on October 10, 2023 to elect a new president for six years, and members of the Senate and Legislature, who serve nine and six years terms, respectively.
It is a big deal for this small African Nation and it will be only the second attempt at a peace transfer of power since Liberia's civil war ended in 2003, after Charles Taylor's disgraceful departure.
President George Manneh Weah who won the presidency in 2017, thus marking the first peace transfer of power, is looking for a second six year term. His main challenger, Former Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai and his Unity Party allies seem to have found the momentum. There have been chants from both camps about a first round victory; something we haven't seen in Liberia since the end of the one party state in 1980.
President Weah Campaigns in Grand Bassa County
The Weah's administration continues to boast of development feats under the current president. Under Weah's Administration, the Lofa County road construction and pavement has begun. It is Boakai's hometown and it's a major development for the county since 1964 when Lofa became a county.
The CDC-led government under Weah, has erected several development initiatives including the building of sporting pitches, kilometers of roads built, payment of high schools examination fees for seniors, amongst others.
However, Weah's critics believed he has failed as president. They have accused him of not dealing with murders, corruption, and the rising illicit drugs use by young people across the country. Amongst the murders, were that of four government auditors, who were killed within a 10 day time span. Government investigation has not been able to identified their killers.
Boakai, who served for 12 years as vice president to former president Sirleaf, is presenting himself as an experienced stateman, who is wise and promises to surround himself with qualified Liberian Professionals in his vision to route out corruption and bring development to all sectors of the economy. His critiques have accused him of "squandering" opportunities while in government.
Joseph N. Boakai arrives from Accra at the Roberts International Airport outside of Monrovia
Upcoming legal challenges, however, may have a sway if, and when the Elections will take place, amid mounting violence against party members from both the Unity Party and Congress for Democratic Change.
In a recent news article published by Front Page Africa, the Unity Party has filed a complaint with the National Elections Commission and has accused the body of "deliberately violating Chapter 4. 1.2 of the revised Electoral laws" which states that “the number of voters in every precinct shall approximately equal, and unless the commission in any particular case determines, the number of registered voters in any precinct shall not exceed 3,000”.
According to FPA, Unity Party alleges that "93 precincts in nine counties constituting 4.5% of all voting precincts in Liberia have more than 3,000 voters," which is a violation of electoral laws.
Some political pundits believe that any kind of unresolved issues at the NEC and potential legal fights, have the propensity to turn into physical fights on the streets of Monrovia if the NEC is unable to manage these disputes.
As voters gear up to vote on October 10th, will President Weah get a second term or will the Unity Party or another candidate win the presidency of Liberia?
As voters await for October 10th to cast their ballots, all eyes will be on the National Elections Commission as it deals with complaints and other electoral disputes.