V.P. Boakai Outlines Reasons For Poor Turnout At Referendum

Source: Heritage (Liberia)

Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai Sr

Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai Sr. has been outlining reasons for the poor turnout and huge number of invalid votes at the just ended referendum. He observed that for many Liberians the referendum is a completely new phenomenon, noting that it was further complicated by the fact voters had to grapple with several issues, and not just one issue.
The Liberian Vice President further observed that the fact that there were no symbols or photos to help the illiterate population understand the issues made things worse. “It was in writing and with the illiteracy rate put at between 70 and 80 percent; it is understandable that many voters could not read between the lines to decipher what to do. Besides, the referendum was not the kind of thing that could be taught on radio. ”

Speaking on Monday evening, when a two-man delegation from the African Union Civil Society Movement, accompanied by Mr. Rameses A. Porte Jr. and Madam Elizabeth Sele Mulbah of the Governance Commission paid a courtesy call on him at his Capitol Building office, Vice President Boakai said another challenge was that several aspirants transported voters outside of Monrovia to register, but that because most of them were no longer in the race, many voters could not go to areas they registered to vote.

Another difficulty, the Vice President observed, was moving from one part of the country to another due to bad roads in a country devastated by a protracted civil conflict.

“The huge number of invalid votes also indicates that people did not understand the issues they were to vote for or against,” the Vice President noted, but added that “the referendum itself was an eye opener for many… The satisfaction we get is that efforts are being made to let people know that decisions that affect their lives are in
their own hands.”

Briefing the Vice President earlier, the Team Leader of the African Union Civil Society Movement, Dr. Mathias Adossi said the AU Civil Society observer mission documented several dysfunctions in the just ended referendum, including lack of adequate sensitization about use of the ballot paper.

Dr. Adossi observed that Liberia has made great strides in democracy, and commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the good work she is doing.

Dr. Adossi then presented a copy of the AU Civil Society Observer Mission report to Vice President Boakai for onward transmission to President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf. In another development, Vice President Boakai has turned over seven BNWand five police escort motor bikes to the Liberia National (LNP).

The Liberia’s Vice President turned over the motor bikes to the LNP through its Inspector General, Mark Amblard on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at his (VP Boakai) residence.

The motorbikes, which are 28 in total, were donated to the Liberian Government through the instrumentality of an Italian humanitarian, Varo Macchi.

Macchi has been Liberia’s Ambassador-At-Large to Italy, and current serves as the country (Liberia) Maritime representative in Italy.

Speaking at the turning over ceremony, Vice President Boakai challenged the LNP to use the bikes for the intended purpose, noting, they must be used in enhancing security and traffic control.

He pointed out that Liberia as a country coming from war has lot of needs, but noted that the security of the state takes key priority.

He said government cannot afford to buy all of these motorbikes now because there are other competing priorities, and so giving the motorbikes to be used by government was an important venture.

For his part, Inspector General Amblard lauded Vice President Boakai for seeking the interest of the LNP.

He assured that the donated


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