Our overcrowded Presidential race is almost over, with a little more than 90% of the votes from the October 11 Elections counted so far. Everywhere on the streets and in taxis—where we are packed like sardines with two in the front passenger seat and sometimes up to five in the back—people are talking about it.
Overheard today, as the results were being announced live on the radio:
“Why did some of these candidates waste their money? Just spoiled the whole election!”
“What kind of run-off? They should just give it to Weah. Give him two years—if he can’t make it we will impeach him.”
“Last time the youth gave it to Charles Taylor and the international community said it was OK. They mustn’t do it this time. Weah is not the one to lead this country. Everyone will laugh at us.”
“If Weah doesn’t win I’m taking my passport and getting out of this country.”
"If Weah wins I'm going back into exile."
“The people love Weah. Let him try.”
Well. We wanted democracy and it looks like we got it. Twenty-two candidates vied for the nation’s top office, and the leaders are George Weah (30%), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (19.6%), and Charles Brumskine (12.1%). In early November there will be a run-off between the top two candidates. Who will be in it? Can Brumskine top Ellen in the tally of the final 10%? And if Ellen keeps her position, who will win? Some say that’s a no-brainer, but it really isn’t clear. In a normal place the Harvard graduate (Ellen) would win the high school drop-out (Weah), but this is Liberia and anything can happen here. One of today’s papers says “Fear Grips CDC” (George Weah’s party). Nothing but hype. The support for George Weah is phenomenal, and after the jubilant and electrifying outpouring I saw on the day of his rally I am positive his 30% will come out again and vote for him in the run-off. The question is this: will enough of the 50% who did not vote for either Weah or Ellen show up to tip the scales in Ellen’s favor?