By: Laymah Kollie
Monrovia-October 3,2023: Less than six days to the general Presidential and Representatives Elections in Liberia, Presidential Candidates contesting in the process have presented manifestos to the citizens on what they intend to do if they are given the country’s highest seat but constituent believes their manifestos are unrealistic. The various platforms presented envision a modern and technologicalized Liberia in the next six years.
Liberia is expected to conduct her Presidential and Representatives Elections on October 10,2023. The EUROPEAN Union and other International partners have started the deployment of long term observers to monitor and track the electoral process.
The National Elections Commission recently informed the public of the arrival of ballot boxes into the country and possible deployment in subsequent time.
Seven Presidential Candidates presenting their platforms collectively highlighted improve education, modern agriculture and food production, better healthcare, infrastructures and independent rule of law.
An independent female candidate in the elections madam Bendu Alehma Kromah, platform highlights infrastructure, health care, education.
The number two female candidate in the presidential elections stressed that her administration will firmly look at the rehabilitation of at-risk youth by constructing five centers in different localities and providing necessary programs to upgrade the already perishing generation.
For aspects of rule of law, Madam Kromah asserted that her government will put in place mechanisms to fully strengthen the judicial body in offering best services to the country; noting, the issue of corruption will be collectively minimize and maintain the fragile peace enjoyed.
“The need to have road connectivity is so important. If I’m elected president , we will strengthen all of our judicial services, rehabilitate at risk youth by building five centers in different locations, reach foreign partners to minimize all the problems going on in Liberia. We will work together to minimize corruption. We can disagree and still maintain peace, peace is an essential component that must be maintained by everyone”
Also, Joshua Tom Turner of the New Liberia Party said his manifesto basically focus on industrializing the country and modernizing agriculture through technology. The candidate stated that his administration will bring expertise from India and other developed countries to train farmers and improve the sector.
At the same time, stressing of amending article 55 of the Liberian Constitution that gives president the power to appoint judges and other relevant bodies in the country. The NLP leader believes inorder for the judiciary to independently perform its duties, it should be void of political influence, as such during his administration judges will be vetted and chosen by civil society actors.
“I will bring back made in Liberia. I want to industrialized this country, 80% of our people are drop out of school. Maximize agricultural sector, bring technology into the agricultural, empower farmers and create a green house and food bank, bring International expertise from India, to train our people.
When I’m elected President, I will amend that article that gives president the power to appoint judges, it makes these judges to not work independently. Judges will be chosen by civil society actors.”
Article 55 states: The President shall appoint and commission Notaries Public and Justices of the Peace who shall hold office for a term of two years but may be removed by the President for cause. They shall be eligible for reappointment.
Article 56 further states : And (a) All cabinet ministers, deputy and assistant cabinet ministers, ambassadors, ministers and consuls, superintendents of counties and other government officials, both military and civilian, appointed by the President pursuant to this Constitution shall hold their offices at the pleasure of the President.
(b) There shall be elections of Paramount, Clan and Town Chiefs by the registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of six years. They may be re-elected and may be removed only by the President for proved misconduct. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for their qualifications as may be required.
Allen R. Brown Jr. of the Liberia Restoration Party stated his party manifesto basically focus on the production of rice, transportation for citizens and building of infrastructures to collectively connect Liberians.
The LRP leader continues that if giving the presidency, his government will negotiate with rice and petroleum importers in reducing the price of rice making it applicable for all Liberians to fend for their families. Candidate Brown told Liberians the country will be self sufficient with rice, with local production being globalize and immense improvement of education under his regime.
My platform focus on Rice, transportation, infrastructure. When elected president I will call importers of petroleum and make a deal with them to reduce prices in rice. I will l deal with traffic by putting money into infrastructure. For the Rule of law, we will strengthen the judges and lawyers to independently perform their duties. What I’m going to do is to invest substantially to improve education, I’m very confident that Liberia has everything it takes. Agriculture We gonna be self sufficient about rice, agriculture in terms of globalization and give incentives to students who are interested in agriculture because feeding ourselves is a priority.
In terms of maintaining Peace and stability Mr. Brown mentioned that his administration will deal with the rule of law by appointing competent judges with reputation and passionate lawyers for a serious rule of law. We have to take our rule of law seriously.
“ We raise money and security, strengthen judicial inquiry. I’m going to build our people and make sure our people build this country, for infrastructures will make sure that we have road connectivity”
However, the political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change Simeon C. M Freeman, lamented that he doesn’t believe in the quest for war and economic crimes court in order for perpetrators of war crimes to be prosecuted, instead, energizing the supreme court for people to face full justice of crimes they committed.
Secondly, the presidential candidate stated his intention to privatized the education and health sectors in the country; stressing, of his government creating a private ministry that focuses on health instead of the Ministry of Health.
The politician intend to create a free entry to Liberia by offering a resident permit of ten years.
“I don’t believe in war crimes court. Our civil law court is more than enough to deal with people in these areas, all we need is evidence. We want to privately run a publicly education, National education task and agreement will be reach as to how payment will be made. Private ministry run health sector instead of health ministry eating plenty money. Reduce Interest rate. Create free entry to Liberia, one resident permit for 10 years”
Meanwhile, civil society and ordinary citizens believes their manifestos are unrealistic to the crucial needs of Liberians. The citizenry feel the presidential candidates drafted these platforms in basic needs of winning the elections without consider the local majority.
A Civil Society Actor Mr. Varmah Kamara, Executive Director of the Youth Media Action (YMA) referred to the candidate’s manifesto as deceptive, unrealistic and meant to win elections.
Some of their platform far from reality, privatizing schools , technological dam. They are drafting these platforms in the absence of the people. They need to get to the needy. For me I disagree with that there should be a war crimes court. There should be a separate body, very independent, dealing with that. It is not possible rice production, they are just saying things without looking at what’s on ground. Their manifest can’t perform to what we are facing now. I think for these politicians they need to be real, look at the issues on ground, reality draft their platforms. They are being deceptive.
At the same time Madam Josephine Johnson of the Gbangaye’s town in Sinkor thinks these manifestos are fail promises only intended to win voters.
She stressed that Presidential candidates usually come with heavy promises that can not work out in the end when they ascend the position.
“They are not telling true, every election year they give us big big promises and nothing we can see. I don’t think they really meant these things but they want to win voters”