“A democratic turning point, but people are waiting for development” says a missionary
Monrovia (Agenzia Fides) – “We are voting in a peaceful manner with a strong participation of voters”, says to Fides Eric Aka, an SMA missionary (Society of African Missions) from Foya, the capital of the homonymous district of Liberia, on the border with Sierra Leone and Guinea. In Liberia, today, October 10, just over 2 million voters are called to elect the new President, who will succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, and renew Parliament.
Fr. Eric, says a massive participation in the vote is expected in favor of outgoing Vice President, Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) in the area of Foya. “Boakai is originally from this area, and the local population hopes he is elected President”, says the missionary.
Three candidates have a real chance of victory. In addition to Vice President Boakai, there are former footballer George Weah, who leads the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and entrepreneur Charles Brumskine, leader of the Liberty Party (LP).
Fr. Eric is hopeful of the proper conduct of the elections: “The election campaign took place peacefully and there is a calm climate in the Country. We hope it continues and that there are no after affects after whoever wins the elections”. “The Church has invited the faithful to a novena for prayer for the peaceful conduct of the vote, and appealed to voters to vote freely”.
When asked what are the main issues in Liberia, Fr. Eric answers “it can be synthesized in one word: development. Development of agriculture, schools, and health. These are the main problems that the population faces every day. There is also: corruption, misuse of public money and the high unemployment, and this too must be attributed to the lack of development”. “We need to invest in sustainable agriculture because most of the population still lives on agriculture”, the missionary concludes.
Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, still affected by the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic which exploded in 2013, which in two years killed more than 4,000 people nationwide, as well as the 14-year bloody civil war which ended in 2003 with more than 250,000 victims and about one million displaced persons.
The election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005, re-elected in 2011, was a decisive turning point for the country’s pacification. Now the new elections will have to consolidate it. (L.M.)
(Agenzia Fides, 10/10/2017)