by Olatunji Saliu
Political parties in Liberia have concluded their campaigns in a final push for votes ahead of Tuesday’s general elections in the West African country.
Campaigns for the general elections ended at midnight Sunday, following the guidelines provided by the National Election Commission (NEC), which is overseeing the electoral process.
Twenty candidates, including incumbent President George Weah, will participate in Tuesday’s presidential election, alongside the national legislature elections. The fates of the presidential candidates will be decided by more than 2.4 million registered voters out of Liberia’s population of 5.4 million. The polls will be conducted across a total of 5,890 polling places in the 2,080 voting precincts identified by the National Election Commission.
On Sunday, the streets of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, and its suburbs were filled with thousands of supporters of the Liberian ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) party in a final push for votes.
Amid the chanting of party songs and slogans, many supporters, mostly young people, held a carnival-like rally for hours, defying the heavy rainfall throughout the day.
Weah, who took part in the CDC’s campaign finale, acknowledged cheers from supporters wearing blue or red color berets as his motorcade toured the suburbs of Monrovia up to the party’s headquarters in Congo Town.
The 57-year-old Liberian president expressed confidence in winning the election, which has been widely described by local and international analysts as “a two-horse race.”
“My performance will be sufficient for my reelection,” Weah said at a rally earlier this month, counting on his achievements in office.
During his six-year presidency, Weah has focused on economic development, education and healthcare, implementing infrastructure projects and seeking to attract foreign investments to boost the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, Joseph Boakai, former vice president of Liberia and the presidential candidate of the opposition Unity Party (UP), concluded his campaign Saturday with a rally that also witnessed a large turnout of supporters.
The UP has primarily focused its campaign on good governance, poverty reduction and social justice issues. While emphasizing the need to address corruption and strengthen institutions for a more prosperous Liberia, Boakai has made continuous efforts to overcome the perception of being part of the previous administration, which has faced criticism for corruption and inadequate economic growth.
The 78-year-old has vowed to “increase domestic rice production and establish three agricultural hubs in the country,” drawing on his rich experience as minister of agriculture between 1983 and 1985. Boakai has also pledged to improve cross-border trading by paving the highways connecting county capitals and those connecting Liberia to other countries.
The Collaborating Political Party (CPP), led by Alexander Cummings, its presidential candidate, also concluded the campaign Sunday with a grand rally held in the country’s Grand Bassa County.
Addressing his party’s supporters, Cummings vowed to accept the election results “on the condition that they truly reflect the will of the Liberian people.” The CPP’s campaign has mainly highlighted the lack of essential services such as healthcare, education, electricity and clean water, as well as the poor state of the country’s infrastructure and the high levels of poverty, attributing all these challenges to “decades of ineffective leadership and mismanagement of public resources.