Thanks FPA and reporter Selma Lomax and we the disenfranchised Liberian populations/citizens living outside Liberia are following this election with keen interest as with previous elections.
But don't count us out entirely for we are certainly going to have a bigger impact in many ways to affect the outcome in Liberia despite the fact that we are denied our rights to vote as citizens. And what am I talking about?
As a Liberian journalist living in America who writes on the politics back home, our impact has always been felt and will again be felt in this election in three key ways:
1)Tthrough our financial contributions (deep pocket books) to individual candidates and their campaigns since Liberians in America earn far more money than our working brothers and sisters back home;
2) We remit more money to Liberia yearly than is more than the yearly revenue intake and national budget of the government of Liberia, thus a major fuel for the economy, and
3) We exercise direct political influence over our large extended families back home because of our financial support to them and because we follow the politics more through the Internet, and our family members often vote and do vote for a candidate we tell them to vote for.
So while our politicians refuse to amend the Constitution to allow Liberian citizens outside the country to vote in choosing our president, yet our corrupt leaders love our money we send home without which there would be economic and political chaos in Liberia.
Why is Africa's first "democracy " denying some of its citizens the fundamental right to choose their President but these same Presidents over the decades never miss a beat in asking Liberians in America to keep helping their country and then thanking us for our financial and other material support to Liberia like we did during the Ebola crisis? Answer: They our leaders are afraid of their own dark shadows; that Liberians living in America who number over 100,000 by some conservative estimates and thus a substantial voting bloc are not going to fall for their miss-rule of the country--corruption, injustice and human rights abuses--and vote them out of power.
That we in America are largely educated and cannot be intimidated because you can't fire us from our jobs, nor can we even be threatened by the Liberian Army, Police and the notorious National Security Agency, institutions that have and continue to terrorize Liberians during political campaigns or not.
All major democracies around the world allow their citizens to vote in presidential elections except Liberia. Even in Africa, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa and many others that literally got their independence " yesterday" do allow their citizens to vote regardless where on earth they live.
But not Liberia. Yet these enemies of democracy we nurture in Liberia are fond of coming to America to tell us Liberians and Americans about the so-called democracy in Liberia that is booming.
Our leaders see nothing wrong with a constitution that grants them 6 years for a President, 9 years for a senator and 6 years for a representative but find it unconstitutional for some of its citizens to vote to choose their leaders.
And the sad part is that most of the citizens living outside of Liberia did not leave the Liberia willingly, but were forced to flee for their lives during brutal civil wars started by the very leaders now in power or during their brutal regime repressions of Liberians.
And now we are not eligible to vote for our leaders because we fled the country to survive? And not one single candidate has put the right for all Liberians to vote on their political menu or platform in this campaign.
And you wonder why Liberia is referred to as Africa's first failed experiment at genuine democracy since 1847?
But most of our political leaders went to school in America and are the fist to praise American democracy as the model for Liberian democracy including our present Harvard University trained "economist" and Nobel Peace Prize winner President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first woman President. Talk is cheap.
Jerry Wehtee Wion,
Journalist and Political Commentator
Washington, DC, USA