AFRICA/LIBERIA - "After this election there will be a fractured country": a missionary’s opinion

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Monrovia (Agenzia Fides) - "After this election there will be a fractured country, not united" says to Fides Fr. Mauro Armanino, of the Society of African Missions who lived in Liberia for several years (now works in Niger), where today, November 8th, voting for the second round of the presidential elections will be held. The consultation is boycotted by Winston Tubman, leader of the Congress for Democratic Change and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s main rival, who denounced the risk of electoral fraud. In the first round, Sirleaf obtained 43.9% of the votes, against 32.7% of Tubman. Yesterday, the anti-riot police intervened in Monrovia to disperse the pro-Tubman protesters, two people were killed.
"I am sorry that we have come once again to lose lives in Monrovia, after already so many deaths", says Fr. Armanino. "I am sorry that Prince Johnson’s votes are shamefully accepted by Sirleaf, who among other crimes, also tortured to death former President Samuel Doe, because there is the convenience that the Nimba County returns to be united to the Country. This is because - continues the missionary - these elections divide the Country, so it is preferred to unite only one part of Liberia, but not the most difficult part, that are the young, who have been ignored all these years, and the poorest. People who identified themselves in Wea’s great dream, who from the slums of West Point in Monrovia has become a player of international repute".
"I remember that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had recommended that Sirleaf (as he had supported former President Taylor, accused of crimes against humanity) and Prince Johnson would be excluded from public office for 10 years", continues Fr. Armanino.
With regard to allegations of fraud launched by Winston Tubman, Fr. Armanino says: "Rather than talking about outright fraud I would highlight the strong pressure on behalf of the international community in favor of the outgoing President (including the Nobel Prize for peace just before the first round), which would give more guarantees to the International Establishment. In a sense this is the great fraud, beyond the small frauds of which we speak today, and which was spoken in the 2005 elections. It is the very context that pushed for Sirleaf’s election. In this context, opponents have responded, perhaps awkwardly, because invoking the boycott elections in a country emerging from a long civil war is a dangerous game. For this, I regret to say, there will be a divided Country from this election, which is not governed. We only hope that others do not take advantage of this situation, because there are too many weapons in circulation", concludes the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/11/2011)