Kevin in Liberia

Its Purpose: to raise awareness of current social, political, ethical, and spiritual issues within a relief and development context in Liberia. Its effectiveness is simple: It relies on me, the author, to provide insightful, and often debate-sparking material that will encourage you, the reader to get engaged through comment contributions, emails, and promoting others to read, re-think, and respond to the important issues discussed.

I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom. ~ a prayer by Blaise Pascal

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Political Action in Monrovia


One day closer to the elections and today had to have been the most visible day for both Ellen Sirleaf Johnson’s supporters as well as the Swedish Quick Reponse Team (aka UN Soldiers ready to stomp anything that gets out of control). On the way into work today the traffic was horrific! We noticed up ahead in the road that the disturbance (embarrassment) was caused by a massive crowd of Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (one of the prime candidates to win the election) supporters. Word on the street was that it was her first day of campaigning which seems like a pretty good strategy to follow at the moment. The crowd was blocking the entire boulevard and it wasn’t until the crowd saw the 10+ vehicle caravan of Swedish soldiers and tanks that they proceeded to move to the side of the road and wave their banners and shout their jibber jabber. Some of the tanks were on the back of flatbed trucks being transported to some other place besides downtown Monrovia. There were other tanks which were actually mobile and tearing up the road with their metal chains and what-have-you. Instead of transporting them all on the backs of trucks I guess its always good to show some muscle just in case things get out of hand and you have to lob a little “convincer” into the air. I think you get my drift. The intimidation factor is pretty large. Downtown Monrovia was also quite the circus. You could visibly see tanks on major intersections. I know they’re only there to make sure people are using the proper left-hand turn lane but they’re doing their job don’t get me wrong!  If today is any sign of who is voting for who it looks like Ellen has a large group behind her. There was even one guy today who was wearing a sticker for another candidate but when he saw Ellen’s group giving out free t-shirts he proceeded to rip the sticker of the opposing candidate off his shirt and get in line for a t-shirt of the person he’s “truly” voting for. I’ll make a prediction about who will win the election. The candidate who will win the election is the candidate who hasn’t spent all their campaign money and who still has a small budget for some gimmick to hand out to people who are standing in line for the ballot box. I don’t want to sound sarcastic but that is EXACTLY how I see it.

I have also heard that George Weah is holding a similar like campaign on Saturday. I think Saturday may become a little more unsettled than today. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson has a majority of women and older folk behind her where as Weah has primarily young kids, more specifically ex-combatants. If any day is a good day to get out of Monrovia for the day I think Saturday may be the day just in case some things get a little hairy. Either that or it might be a good day to be a roving photographer and get in and take some candid shots, pictures that is.

During this final week before the elections it is my intention to make daily posts to the blog site to keep everybody informed on what I see from my standpoint as a development worker in Monrovia.

Keep posted.



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