Over the past week, members and officials in each county, commonwealth, and district, without regard to party or political preference have congratulated their winning candidates.
Last week, members of the various political parties representing their candidates, cast their votes for senatorial candidates of their respective counties.
And once again in Liberia, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed.
Our democracy, pushed, tested, threatened, proved to be resilient, true, and strong.
The 2020 Senatorial Election which occurred last Tuesday, December 8 reflects the fact that even in the face of a public health crisis unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes, the people voted.
They voted in record numbers. More Liberians in Montserrado voted this year than have ever voted in any senatorial election in the history of our country. Over 347 thousand Liberians in the mother county were determined to have their voices heard and their votes counted.
At the start of the pandemic crisis, many were wondering how many Liberians would vote at all. But those fears proved to be unfounded.
We saw something very few predicted or even thought possible — one of the biggest senatorial voter turnout in Montserrado ever in the history of the country.
Numbers so big that this election now ranks as the clearest demonstration of the true will of the Liberian people — one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we have ever seen in our country. It should be celebrated, not attacked.
More than 200 thousand of those votes were cast for the opposition candidate in Montserrado.
This too is a record number. One of more votes than any senatorial ticket has received in the history of Liberia.
It represented a winning margin of more than 85,900 votes almost the total number of votes cast for the candidate of the Coalition for Democratic Change.
Altogether, the opposition candidate earned 206,368 votes, well exceeding the 173,502 total votes needed to secure victory.
206,368 votes is more than the number of votes George Weah received in 2014.
At that time, we, CDCians called this senatorial tally a landslide. By our own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then.
And we respectfully suggest we do so now. If anyone didn’t know it before, they know it now.
What beats deep in the hearts of the Liberian people is this: Democracy.
The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves.
In Liberia, politicians don’t take power, the people grant power to them.
The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame.
Time and again, in 2017, when the Coalition for Democratic Change massively defeated the Unity Party, Liberty Party, Alternative National Congress, All Liberian Party, in the first round of the General and Presidential Elections, their lawyers presented their arguments to state officials, state legislatures, and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Liberia.
They were heard by more than 10 judges across the country.
And in every case, no cause or evidence was found to reverse or question or dispute the results.
The fifteen sub-political divisions went to the presidential runoff. All of the counts were confirmed.
And yet none of this stopped baseless claims about the legitimacy of the results. George Weah was announced president.
Even more stunning, in the 2019 representative by-election in District 15, Montserrado, opposition leaders actually signed on to a communication filed by the Collaborating Political Parties. It asked the National Elections Commission to reject the certified vote counts in some polling places in the district.
This legal maneuver was an effort by CPP officials to try to get the Supreme Court of Liberia to wipe out the votes of more than one thousand Liberians in the district and to hand the representative seat to Telia Urey, a CPP candidate who lost the district, lost the popular trust of the people, and lost each and every one of the communities whose votes they were trying to reverse.
It’s a position so extreme we have never seen it before. A position that refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law, and refused to honor our Constitution.
Respecting the will of the people is at the heart of our democracy — even when we find those results hard to accept.
But that is the obligation of those who have taken a sworn duty to uphold our Constitution.
Six years ago, as a credible institution in Liberia, it was the National Elections Commission’s responsibility to announce the tally of the votes that elected George Weah as Senator of Montserrado. They did their job.
And we are pleased, but not surprised, that a number of our colleagues in the CDC-led government have acknowledged the results of the senatorial election.
We thank them. We are convinced we can work together for the collective good of the nation.
Now it is time to turn the page as we have done throughout our history. To unite. To progress.
As we said through this campaign, we will be leaders for all Liberians.
We will work just as hard for those of you who didn’t vote for CDC, as we will for those who did. There is urgent work in front of us all.
Getting the pandemic under control and getting the nation victorious against this virus.
Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Liberians who are hurting today, and then building our economy back better than ever.
In doing so, we need to work together, give each other a chance, and lower the temperature.
And most of all, we need to stand in solidarity as fellow Liberians. To see each other, our pains, our struggles, our hopes, our dreams. We are a great nation. We are a good people. We may come from different places and hold different beliefs, but we share a love for this country. A belief in its limitless possibilities.
And so, as we start the hard work to be done, may this moment give us the strength to rebuild this house of ours upon a rock that can never be washed away.
And as in the Prayer of St. Francis, for where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith, where there is darkness, light.
This is who we are as a nation. This is the Liberia we love. And that is the Liberia we will be. May God bless Liberia and its citizenry.
May God protect our nation and people and all those who stand watch over our democracy.