Ruthie Ackerman of the Women’s Media Center is reporting that Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s victory in the presidential election was tainted by violence and low voter turnout. Ackerman wonders aloud if Sirleaf will be able to unite the badly divided country in her second-term. Ackerman writes:
On Monday (11/14/11) violent clashes erupted between Liberian police and protestors from the CDC, leaving at least two dead, according to the UN. Tubman, Liberia’s former justice minister, claimed that eight people died and that he and his running mate, soccer superstar George Weah, were targeted for assassination.
Photos seen around the world showed at least one dead body and many wounded, images reminiscent of those seen during Liberia’s 14-year civil war. Protestors fled into CDC headquarters as tear gas and bullets were fired on the building and tanks surrounded the compound.
The protests started after Tubman announced the party would boycott the run-off election, claiming voter fraud and ballot box stuffing in the first round of elections.
Speaking to reporters Thursday at Monrovia’s Foreign Ministry, Sirleaf said that if she wanted to steal the election, she would have won outright in the first round instead of having to go to a run-off.
“It’s so common for somebody to call fraud when you don’t win,” she said.
Sirleaf expressed regret for the deaths that occurred during the violence. In addition to the violence, low voter turnout has prompted some to wonder if the president’s second term will stand or be undone.
With a recent Nobel Peace Prize win, Sirleaf should be flying high. Unfortunately, this is not the case because the elections are tainted with innuendo and violence that suggests many are not in support of her administration. Hopefully things will settle down and people will remember the progress that has been made under Sirleaf’s leadership. Change is a process and it takes time. Sirleaf now has more time to create more change. Let’s hope she retains the opportunity.
Read more at the Women’s Media Center.