Friday, November 11, 2005

Election Update

The Presidential Elections are now over and the counting is all but finished. With 95% of the polling places reporting, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf leads George Weah by over 18 percentage points. Ellen Sirleaf has about 59% of the vote, with George Weah at 40%. There is no mathematical chance of a Weah victory. The Weah camp is suddenly claiming bias by the National Election Commission, but I suspect this will not hold as there were hundreds of election observers and thousands of party observers at the 3,000 polling places. By all accounts, the election was a model of civility and order. Liberia, the hobbling land emerging from two decades of strife and self destruction, has elected first woman head of state in Africa. It’s a big deal. I hope she seizes the moment.

CRWRC Executive Director Andy Ryskamp, visiting us for a few days on his way to Sierra Leone, had a chance to act as an official election observer, thanks to Sam Reeves, pastor of the Providence Baptist Church—and Andy and our former co-pastor in Grand Rapids as well. Renita and Hannah also were unofficial observers of the elections, accompanying Edith Bawn, a reporter for USAID. While here, Andy was a blessing and a handy fellow around the house. In between election observing and offering insights on theology and spirituality, he fixed our generator which was having fuel pump problems. Good dog trainer too.

Election Eve: Andy Ryskamp, Executive Director of CRWRC joins me for and evening chat on the porch.

Election Day, part 2: The lines moved quickly.

The run-off ballot. Two candidates, two futures.

Liberians exercising the franchise. A priviledge to observe.

A ballot box.

UNMIL peacekeepers watching the process.

At the end of the day, after observing elections and a cancelled flight to his next stop, Andy relaxes by fixing the fuel pump on our generator.