Monday, October 23, 2017

Will T. B. Joshua be the King-maker in #LiberiaElections runoff?

The most influential political figure in vote-rich Nimba County, Senator Prince Y. Johnson appears to be collaborating with Senator George Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change for the November 7 runoff elections.

Senators Johnson and Weah attended church service together at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), led by Pastor T.B. Joshua.

Senator Johnson has often described Prophet Joshua as his ‘spiritual father’.

Before their departure for Lagos, Nigeria, there were speculations that the Prophet Joshua was courting Senator Johnson to throw his weight behind Senator Weah who led the October 10 presidential elections, but failed to obtain the 50 percent plus one vote required to be declared president.

Senator Johnson’s Movement for Democratic Reconstruction (MDR) Secretary General, Wilfred Bangura, dismissed the speculation of his party’s political leader planned trip with Senator Weah to Nigeria, terming it as misleading when he was contacted by FrontPageAfrica last Wednesday.

However, he told FrontPageAfrica on Sunday that “It is a happy coincidence that they were in the same service...if there is any news of collaboration he will break it upon his arrival.”

The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations posted on its official Facebook page that Senator Weah was in service to “seek God’s face” for his nation.

During his sermon which was broadcast live on popular Christian channel Emmanuel TV, Joshua warmly welcomed Weah and spoke directly to him.

“My brother is here today because he loves his country and wants God’s choice for his country,” Joshua stated. 

“He is not here to impose himself. What does God say about his country, Liberia? What is God’s opinion? That is why he is here.”

The cleric went further to reiterate that he was not favoring any particular side of the political spectrum but his own role was to pray for “the will of God” to be done in the nation of Liberia.

“We are not herbalists or witch-doctors; we are people of God. God’s choice is our choice. We cannot pray against God’s will,” Joshua stressed, with Weah nodding firmly in agreement.

“Without God’s corresponding power, we cannot pray to Him. For every step we take – every movement and action – intimation comes first,” Joshua further expounded.

 “There must be suggestion from the Spirit to move before we move. If truly I am a man of God, I must hear from God – move or don’t move.”

Joshua also disclosed that Vice President Joseph Boakai had also contacted him to request a meeting.
“God’s opinion is what we should seek in our country – simple! God is the Answer, the Final,” the influential Nigerian pastor added. 

Joshua was instrumental in Johnson’s conversion to Christianity and mediated his reconciliation with the family of the late Liberian President, Samuel Doe.

“You cannot twist or bribe God; He is not a man… The best place to go is to meet people God has given the grace to be a communicator between visible and invisible,” Joshua concluded. “Meet them and let them tell you what is the way out – the next thing to do.”

Senator Johnson swept 107,330 of the 214,000 votes in Nimba County representing 53.5 percent of votes cast in that county. 

The county is a major decider in Liberia’s elections.

The Senator had previously described Senator Weah as a little brother, a son, and son of the Nimba people but appeared to have shifted in recent weeks when he slammed Senator Weah as someone who is unable to control his followers, and as such, any decision to elect him as President of Liberia will send the country back to war.  

“I am appealing to Ambassador George Weah because you have not become President yet, but you turned loose your men on people to stab them. When you become President, this country will go back to war,” he warned.

Senator Johnson, standard bearer of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction went on to say that it is not anyone’s birthright to be President; therefore Senator Weah should not impose his will.
The Senator has been equally critical of Boakai in recent time, describing the Vice President as one who has nothing new to offer Liberia and should go and relax.

Despite the nearly impossible odds stacked against his bid for the Liberian presidency, Johnson continues to be courted by mainstream politicians due to the vote count of Nimba.

This year alone, some 214,000 inhabitants cast their votes in the county.

With the run-off elections already in play, both Weah and Boakai are said to be making aggressive move to land the Senator’s endorsement, with some sources suggesting that Johnson’s pastor, T. B. Joshua, being courted by both sides.

Pastor Joshua, a Nigerian Pastor, televangelist and Philanthropist, is the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organization that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Long queues, peaceful elections so far in Liberia

Liberians have been at the polls since 8am today to decide who becomes the next president to succeed the first female African President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has ruled Liberia for the past 12years

Reports reaching AEP indicate voting is going on peacefully without much incidence in most polling stations across the country. Despite the humid and hot temperature this afternoon, huge turnout has been recorded across the country.
President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was among one of the first to cast her vote in her home county of Bomi. She jokingly told reporters “At least the talk shows will stop” and told reporters she was happy to have finally voted someone to replace her.
This elections has so far witnessed a general atmosphere of excitement among several Liberians especially among the over 100,000 first time voters who are voting primarily for peace and calm.
Philimena Mulbah, AEP field officer reporting from District 10 polling station says though it took her less than a minute to go through the process she had to wait in line for a long while before it got to her turn
“Been in line for 3 hours it’s 90 something degrees and the lines are still long!” she said.

“I really enjoyed voting and the process was so smooth, not too much tension as people have been talking about in past elections. I have voted for Liberia and Liberia is what I want to see move forward,” Gabriel Goah reported.
These are some of the key sentiments being reported from across the country as our reporter Robert Finnan reporting from Grand Bassa County saying the process has been very peaceful however turnout was very high when polls opened. “The voters have been very patient throughout the whole process and everything has been orderly”

Meanwhile AEP field officers in some other selected counties in Liberia report of long queues with priority being given to the aged, nursing mothers and the physically challenged. Braille ballot papers are also available for the visually impaired which has been highly commended by observer missions.
Field officers also reported a few isolated cases of logistical issues as well as voters not finding their names in the voter roll. For instance, in Gardenersville, an elderly woman, Anna was frustrated because her name wasn’t found in the voter roll even though she had her card.

20 Presidential Candidates are contesting the process with the challenge being between the governing Unity Party’s Vice President Joseph Boakai who is reportedly in the frontline with close contender ex-football Star George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change.

Polls will close at 6pm GMT and the final results is expected to be announce within 48 hours after counting of votes.


Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by Following us on twitter  @africanelection and like the African Elections Project Facebook page

#KenyaElections: Raila Odinga withdraws from October election re-run

Kenya opposition Leader, Mr Odinga has pulled out of the scheduled 26 October 2017 elections rerun saying it would give the Independent Elections and Boundary Commission (IEBC) ample time to introduce reforms that will ensure they deliver a credible elections.

"We have come to the conclusion that there is no intention on the part of the IEBC to undertake any changes to its operations and personnel and all indications are that the election scheduled for 26 October will be worse than the previous one."

Mr. Odinga said it was best he withdrew from the race "considering the interests of the people of Kenya, the region and the world at large"

Mr Odinga further called on citizens to come out in their number and protest on Wednesday, using the slogan "no reform, no elections".


Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by Following us on twitter  @africanelection and like the African Elections Project Facebook page

#LiberiaElections: ECC commends Liberians for a peaceful election

Proceedings so far since the polls opened at 8am have been generally calm and peaceful. Liberia’s Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) in a statement issued during the voting process assured all voters the queue at 6pm when polls close would be allowed to vote.

After receiving reports from 470 out of its 498 rapid response observers deployed, the ECC reported that all sensitive materials (including the ballots, ballot stamp, indelible ink, the Final Registration Roll (FRR), and the Record of the Count Forms) were available at 98% of polling places at the time of opening (8am).

Some polling stations were however inaccessible to the physically challenged or the elderly as observers had to climb stairs to reach there. There were security personnel stationed at most polling stations to help remedy such situations.

As at 8:30am most polling stations had opened however a few opened later at 10am which could translate to the long queues seen at polling stations now.

Generally, reports indicate that the opening process has been peaceful, orderly, and proceeded smoothly across the country. However, there were a few reported isolated issues of concern at certain polling places. These included tensions at polling places where opening was delayed or where a large of number voters are queued, as well as instance where observers were not permitted to observe at the polling place.

The statement further reports of instances in some polling places where voters with valid voters’ cards could not find their names on the voters’ lists.

The ECC urged all Liberians to remain calm and patient as voting continues till 6pm and encouraged political party agents to continue monitoring the process through closing and counting.
AEP will continue to bring you updates on the closing and counting process.

Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by Following us on twitter  @africanelection and like the African Elections Project Facebook page

#LiberiaElections: Sole Female Candidate Cautions Against Violence

MacDella Cooper, the only female candidate in Tuesday's presidential election in Liberia, on Monday joined hundreds of peace advocates at a concert for a violence-free poll.

A News Agency of Nigeria team covering the election reports that the concert ended a three-month prayer and fasting camp by women from across the country.

Speaking to NAN, Ms. Cooper stressed the need for all contestants and their supporters to put the interest of the nation above self and respect the outcome of the exercise.

"We are celebrating the sustainability of our peace over the past 12 years, and its continuation for the next 100 years, we hope.

"We had 14 year-long civil war, we sustained 12 years of peace, and in order to develop this nation and build opportunities for our people - the youth, women, fathers, we have to sustain peace.

"So peace is critical to the next phase of our country. It is critical that we go to the polls and vote and leave the polls with peace in mind.

"When the results come out for all the candidates, especially myself, we should have to accept the results, and not use violence as a way of solving our problems, but to get to the legal authorities to dispute any concerns that we may have."

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Imam of Liberia, Ali Krayee, urged the people to put the message of peace into practice before, during and after the elections.

"Today, we all say we want peace, but peace should not be a mere utterance; peace should be what we think, what we love in our hearts, peace should be what we live; peace should be manifested in the way we interact with one another.

"But there can be no genuine peace in our society without righteousness. As long as a society keeps itself distant from God, that society will not know peace.

"So, we ask all of our people to maintain the peace, no matter the circumstances; no matter the cost. We have to do everything that is required to make this nation peaceful."

NAN reports that for the first time in 70 years, Tuesday's elections will see the transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another.

The incumbent President and Nobel Prize winner, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is stepping down after serving out her constitutional two terms of six years each.

Source: NAN