Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in Review: Liberia's 2011 Election

Missionary Helen Roberts-Evans shares the story of the
2011 elections in Liberia
(photo by GBGM Communications) 
On October 11, 2011, Liberians went to the polls to vote for their representatives, senators, and president.  There were 16 presidential candidates. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party received the majority of the votes at 43.7 percent. The Congress for Democratic Change received 32.9 percent of the votes. In order to win the election, a candidate must have 50 percent plus 1 vote.  Since this did not happen, Liberians returned to the polls for a presidential run-off election on November 8, 2011.

On November 15th, after ballot boxes were collected from all over the Republic, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was announced the winner with over 90 percent of the votes. From my trips to visit rural schools, I can appreciate the challenge of reaching villages by canoe, on foot, and on dirt roads to deliver and collect ballots.

Less than half of the population is literate, so the candidates’ photographs are on the ballots. Voters marked the candidates of their choice. The Liberia Annual Conference supports the Liberian Government’s efforts to reach Liberian children, youth, and adults with education in order to create a literate society.

During the June 2011 dedication of the community school building in Boegeezay, Rivercess County, I thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her commitment to education in Liberia.

I also reminded her of her quote, “You know, if we get the resources, the technology, the manpower, we can fix the streets in six months. But we have the problem of a value system that has been destroyed- where violence, the dishonesty, the dependency is what has characterized our nation over the past twenty years.  That is the more difficult problem. We’re going to have to start at the elementary school level teaching the children ethics, morality, values.” ("After the Warlords," by Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, March 27, 2006)

President, in blue, beside Rev. Erlene Thompson, First UMC
(photo courtesy of Helen Roberts-Evans)
The school in Boegeezay is one of the schools built by our Community Development Program funded by the Central United Methodist Church of Oslo, Norway. In the photo, the President is seated next to her pastor, Rev. Erlene Thompson, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Monrovia. We are truly part of a connectional and caring church.

Thank for your prayers and support.
Helen Roberts-Evans

Read more about the missionary work on the bio page of Helen Roberts-Evans

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