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Telia Urey’s Conceding Election Defeat Exemplifies the Political Maturity Liberia Needs

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INCIDENTS LEADING TO THE RE-RUN of the disputed 20 polling places in Montserrado County’s District #15 by-election created little room for political observers to make any prediction that the results would have been accepted without grievances. But against those perceptible odds, political maturity has been exhibited by a female politician, who was once labeled as a “little girl” by President George Manneh Weah.

TELIA UREY’S ACTION was very prompt and attracted applause when she took on Liberia’s most popular social media to throw in the towel. Conceding defeat to a candidate that she had been at odds with for the last couple of months preceding Wednesday epitomizes a certain political maturity and like many, we also think that it has set a new standard for other politicians to emulate.

UREY POSTED on Facebook on Wednesday evening: “Against so many odds and evil, we fought fiercely! Not for personal gains, but for a better district and a better Liberia. We may have lost this election, but we have won the confidence and trust of our people. Our fight will continue for the rest of our lives!

“TO OUR SUPPORTERS, we can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve put into this process. Our struggle for your lives to get better has just begun! You can always count on me to be there! I pray that the end of this election brings peace to the District! D-15, I love you!”

WE THINK POLITICAL MATURITY, as the term connotes, is an attribute that encompasses love for country. Hence, when a contestant, in the case of Urey, graciously accepts defeat said person must be hailed because we believe democracy is about divergence of views that are gear toward achieving the common good of the state and its people. 

MS. UREY’S ACTION has emphasized the urge for every Liberian politician who contests public office to seek legal remedy when the person feels aggrieved but at the same time, he/she must accept defeat to signify the valor of a true patriot.

FORMER LIBERIAN PRESIDENT ELLEN Johnson joined the many Liberians who had praised Telia Urey for accepting defeat on election’s night when she took onto social media.

WROTE MADAM SIRLEAF on her Twitter page on Thursday: “Bravo to Telia Urey for strong and effective competition in the recent Monserrado Representative by-election and for an early magnanimous concession in keeping with the democratic spirit.”

RAINING PRAISES ON Urey is an objective we do not seek herein. What we pursue is postulating the impact her action has on the body politics of elections in Liberia, which has often been marred by allegations of fraud and fear of violence. So, we are confident that when an opposition politician, who feels cheated earlier in the election process, averts any possible rigmarole by accepting the result on the night of an election singles a new standard set for future elections. 

UREY IS NOT THE ONLY ONE that has set this standard. We’ve seen Dr. Kimmie Weeks congratulating his opponent, now Senator Abraham Dillon, in this year’s Montserrado County by-election. Dr. Weeks’ congratulatory message on Facebook came even before the National Elections commission announced the official results. We and many other pro-democracy groups as well as pundits have lauded him for that move.

ALSO IN 2017, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT Joseph Boakai – then presidential candidate of the Unity Party was quick to send a congratulatory message to his rival, now President George Weah, following the fiercely contested presidential run-off poll. Ambassador Boakai, a veteran statesman, received massive praises for “accepting the result” something political pundits have said eased the tension after more than a month of intense litigation.

WITH AN ALREADY COMPLICATED PAST and a now very fluid political sphere, we think exhibiting statesmanship like the aforementioned would offset some of the political rhetoric that has often triggered volatility. We have witnessed leaders of political parties making comments on mainstream and social media that have the propensity of flaring up tension.

IN AS MUCH AS WE expect candidates in future elections to express their discontent about electoral process and then resort to the courts for redress, we think it will also be expedient for our fragile democracy if losing candidates accept the losing results graciously like Ambassador Boakai, Dr. Weeks and Ms. Urey as well as several others candidates that have failed to claim the highest number of votes in past races.

Despite Liberia’s rough edges, this country has gained some commendations in recent years from international organizations and multilateral organizations for handling its election in a pretty decent manner. And we are confident that the growth of our democracy has a gained some traction and staying such course would yield more dividends and the onus is on every Liberian especially politicians to keep exhibiting attributes of true statesmen.  

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