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-Out of 20 Candidates For President, Who’s worthy of Their Vote

Choosing someone from a list of twenty persons qualified to contest the presidency may not be too strange to Liberians. 2005 and 2011 are just too typical as 2017, though the outcomes often proved otherwise.

Voter Headache 9x6Always, the burden to determine who gets to the throne rests on the shoulders of the voters. So for the 2017 race wherein plenty people are vying for president, there is a greater apprehension:
Before the National Elections Commission (NEC) could qualify candidates and declare campaign for October’s poll officially opened on Sunday, July 30, 2017, Liberians were already drenched in the pool of confusion. They have been struggling with the choice of who should be the next president and should not. Discussions about choice, about the best candidate that has been raging between and amongst registered voters seemed to be heightened by the start of campaign, as tension is far more getting higher with regards voters’ direction. The New Republic’s Intern, Christine Wounuah, looks at the variables.

Voters are in the state of perplexity ahead of Octobers’ poll with each of the twenty persons qualified to contest for president positioning themselves as the best “alternative” for Liberia after outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Also, amid a seeming voters lethargy amongst Liberians is the question about ‘who is the best the candidate, and who to vote for’ in homes, offices, taxi cabs and other places of work and social interactions.
As noted by experts, this third post-conflict election dubbed crucial may not be different from the past two elections which saw Liberians endued much difficulties in deciding the best candidate.
But as a known fact that those who are partisans of parties will cast their votes for their candidates, the question is mainly on the lips of undecided voters or those who do not belong to any of the parties fielding candidates.

Voters’ headache
It has unarguably become a headache for the over two million registered voters choosing someone from a very crowded electoral field of twenty candidates chasing a single seat.
“Who are you going to vote for amongst the twenty candidates? Who is your choice? Where is your interest? Who are you carrying?” are some of the questions voters are asking one another. While are some are clear about their choices for president, others are quiet indecisive, not being able to make a determination yet.
It is a known fact that those who have marked their candidates are encouraging their colleagues to join them. Our reporter said he witnessed similar situation Tuesday in a taxi cab en route to Monrovia when argument ensued amongst passengers following the driver’s inquiry about ‘who the best candidate is.’
He said most of the passengers spoke in a manner that explained their lack of knowledge about the qualities of the candidates vying for president. “From their interactions, I have noticed that most of them are not aware of other candidates, apart from Joseph Boakai, George Weah, Charles Brumskine and few others,” our reporter explained. “In fact, they are yet indecisive between Weah and Boakai, Brumskine and Cummings.”
What is obtaining regarding indecision amongst voters, he said, speaks to candidates’ not being able to present themselves as adequately as possible to the voters.
Though it’s too early to make any sound judgment, it is anticipated that 2017’s might not be of a huge difference. This is said to be same in past elections wherein voters could not clearly make choices amongst presidential candidates, thereby resulting to results unintended.
“When voters have to deal with many names and faces on the ballot, it becomes a problem; when voters to make choices amongst plenty candidates, it is likely to worst comes out victorious,” a Liberian told this paper.

Candidates’ brag
Another issue that seems to be proving the election so difficult is that each of the candidates brags of being the best amongst the rest. Before campaign could get underway, the so-called top parties had indulged into badmouthing each other’s candidates.
Vice President Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party (UP) and his supporters are claiming clean-sheet in public service.  George Weah and his CDC also dogged in the heels, saying it is their time to lead. Weah says Boakai is not a presidential material and rallied Liberians not to vote for him. Bragging as the man who clean the mess of the UP-led administration of which Boakai has been a part for twelve years.
Alexander Cummings and his Alternative National Congress are saying the same thing. According to partisans, their Standard-bearer is the best candidate in the race. Mr. Cummings has on many occasions said “Liberia deserves the best,” suggesting that he is the best man that can change Liberia around.
Mills Jones and his Movement for Economic Empowerment are also referring to themselves as the best in the race.
Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party says he is the one who can clean the mess; he has the technical knowhow to fix it. Prince Johnson of his MDR also want to take the presidency because the UP has miserably failed and that corruption has become a walking stick. Each of the candidates is putting the fight of corruption on the front-burner of their agenda as the reason why Liberians should vote them to power.
Though it is normal political gimmick that politicians speak good of themselves, the implications are that undecided voters struggle to make a choice on the basis of what candidates say about themselves and others in the race.
It is likely to become a major headache for voters in October’s poll choosing from among the long list of candidates almost with the same message.

Liberians speak
However, others are of the conviction based on past results from the 2005 and 2011 elections that the ruling Unity Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change will for runners-up.
At the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinion (CEIO) on Carey Street, some citizens expressed their opinions on the ongoing campaign and the upcoming elections as well.
Samuel Watkins, a partisan of the Coalition for Democratic Change, described the endorsement of Joseph Boakai and activities leading to his campaign as fake.
He indicated that people are using the endorsement as means of getting back some of the country`s money allegedly stolen by the UP leadership. The CDCian regretted the UP regime and he vowed to vote them out on October 10 this year.
Also, Christian Suah, a senior student at the University of Liberia and resident of district #4 in Montserrado County is of the strongest conviction that VP Boakai will be reelected as the next president of Liberia comes October 10.
Suah, a supporter of the UP, said he and some members in the district are working tirelessly to make sure that this dream comes true. Besides, he said 75% of District #4 citizens support the reelection of the District Representative Henry Fahnbulleh, also of the Unity Party.
According to Christian, CDC Standard-bearer George Weah is unstable and unable to rule a nation like Liberia, describing him (Weah) as an immature politician.
“Weah is an immature politician, he is unstable, he doesn’t even know his ambition, today he is contesting as president, and tomorrow vice president another day is senator; he will soon contest as community chairman. If Liberians vote Weah it means they are dumping the entire country and the future of the young people,” he said.
This is the likely trend the entire process will take whereas voters become the victims of not making the right decision that addresses their problems.
While the candidates have greater roles to play, the voters have the far-reaching responsibilities that could create headache for them.

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