In this article, we critiqued the activities of the 2017 Runoff elections and advised major actors to deconstruct their propaganda especially the misdirected and disgusting ones. To win, you must speak in a tone that's appealing to the public.
In electioneering politics, the fundamental objective is to win. Of course, it involves critical thinking and analysis of the political and social environments. So as commercial marketing details ‘Market Segmentation’ same is the application of politics to win. You must get acquainted with your audience and comprehend what they need by going the extra mile contacting them in a tone that is speaking to minds. Despite the fact that we welcome level headed discussions of platforms and plans however, the current nature of the environment demands engaging efforts and appealing campaigns.
In our today's African politics, it's extremely difficult to present a winnable ticket particularly when greater portion of the masses keeps running with the thought that government officials or politicians are insidious individuals despite the fact that realities have demonstrated that there are some fair ones however, the general view in the public remains odd. For example, a private vehicle is easily free from a purposeful engine mishap than a government vehicle even when morally justified. I'd lived to witness in Liberia many fascinating cases where the general population rendered liable verdict on numerous government/political related accidents without uncovering the reality of the situation. Believe me there's a hole of trust between the general population and government/political institutions. Where this trust shortfall starts, is a point for every one of us to fundamentally break down and discover an answer.
In our today's Africa especially my Liberia, when you want to find out about the things you don't think about yourself, just enter politics or government. This negative perception of operatives of government has even orbited independent thinkers and advocates coming in defense of government policies. An advocate is hailed ‘The Messiah’ when ever he campaigns against government but condemns to nothing when he rightfully supports the government agenda even if the policy is to benefit society. Once more, where this hole of trust radiates from, is a credit of solutions to all and sundry especially the intellectuals of our days.
In honest and realistic fulfillment of duties, Madam Sirleaf told the world and nation that she's flopped on corruption and reconciliation which are integral parts of national developments and prosperities. This was clearly shown from the statistics of votes in provincial areas especially the central and Southeastern parts of Liberia. Yes, the country is constrained with huge divisions hence; needs a results-oriented leader among the two to deal with these life-threatening nightmares.
Contrary to these two honest admittances from the Commander-in-chief, both teams have neglected to distinctively disclose to us how they going to deal with these two obvious social indecencies yet, they drag into scornful publicity of no criticalness. Now, have you ever wondered who dissect these pointless propaganda to a village of high illiteracy and poor road-network we abandoned in ruins for decades? Are the interpreters of our propaganda truly working in our interest or the other way around? Ahy…… what an irony of politics!!!!!!
Like I early specified that there's a constraint in presenting a winnable ticket within our body politics cataloging the stigma of politicians/government in the public. Even as difficult it's, there's a prescribed approach to point a win yet this requires a genuine methodologies of commitment and honesty. Let take a gander at the two elections that brought the Ellen-led government to power. In the 2005 elections, Madam Sirleaf and team were up to tasks and more robust on campaigning strategically to enter the Runoff since it's extremely difficult to win on first ballot in an election enlisting a prominent son of the soil who has built solid fame as a recognized footballer. In the Runoff, the Madam was very strategic to bring to the public that she's the most experienced and qualified among the two; judging from the fact her opponent has just left the playing pitch and entering politics requires time to adjust and understand the functions of government. This was very appealing to us and won the minds of the voters that conveyed her to power.
Again, in the later elections, she brought in a new strategies this time more appealing to the public who she's early told that they(she and her vice president) were only serving just one term. Regardless the proliferation of political parties at the time, Madam would had won on a first ballot had she not said that one-term trick. Lol! Yes, it's possible for Sirleaf and team to show a first-poll triumph in 2011 especially her initial commitment on key deliverables: energy, health, economic and social decentralization. One strategic thing she did was to build on government of inclusion targeting key oppositions within her system who later became ‘The John the Baptist’ of her second term. This time in her second campaign for continuity, she smartly dropped the debate of competence and experience since her major opponent was similar to path and injected in what I refer to as “Campaign of Appeal/Mind Speaking)”. She appealed to the voters that it's necessary to complete major developments instituted by her government especially reformation of programs and systems. To admit, this was appealing to the public and overwhelmingly, she got the mandate of the citizens to continue the gains although there were mixed reactions on platforms versus deliverables.
Between 2006-2014, Mr. Weah took the best of his two presidential defeats to continue his education and enter the first branch of government as a senior senator to learn, serve and secure a winnable presidency in the next election. Though there's a debate of his performances in the legislature yet, he's managed to be a silent-floor pusher and maintaining the face of his party as a lead opposition. He's taken to his advantage his fame and made perfect entry in an appealing tone to the public that the politicians have failed hence; he's waited, learnt, ready and got the solutions to the long-term gaps.
Of recent, I took keen interest in closely following all candidates especially the two Ambassadors and their activities in the public. These two political leaders share similar backgrounds of humility, hard work, trust and confidence of service delivery. Tell you the truth, both candidates are prepared and ready to take on the mantle from Mrs. Sirleaf and team. They're saying exactly what the voters want to hear but sadly, the propaganda from both ends are killing the objectives of both candidates. We early warned both teams that this debate is beyond competence, experience and class since both candidates including their running mates are products of the system(separate branches of government) yet, the team runs with ‘Competent debate’ in a society of high illiteracy, unemployment, diseases and poverty.
Now, let face this harsh reality of the day; what is competence to a rural mother who lost her first pregnancy while travelling on an inaccessible road to get common Antenatal care? Again, we ask what is grammar to a first time voter who has lost his only surviving parents to an Ebola virus his government would had stopped if necessary policies put into place? There're too many negative perceptions of government in the public space so to present a win especially on a third-term bid, you must reduce the propaganda and appeal to the consciences of the voters via community engagements and small town hall meetings. VP Boakai presented a perfect case in the first presidential debate especially dispelling the notions that government is all about the UP. He went on to name key oppositions serving strategic positions in government and this for me, was a real case to use to his advantage but sadly, his team ignored this and dive into non issues of no relevance to the public.
Similar to the CDC of 2011, it's an open secret that there's a serious division within the UP particularly from the top. Like Abraham Lincoln of America “A house divided against itself cannot stand” hence; Mr. Weah and team have capitalized on the UP’s disadvantage to appeal to the hugely illiterate dominant population that they're the best and organized alternatives to lead the needed change. Also, the misdirected propaganda at influential members and acrid/negative branding of supporters on the opposite side are another factors hampering the campaigns. This time around, we openly advise you to deconstruct the propaganda Mechanics and take the issues to the town, streets, homes, house, dining room table and in the bed.
We do understand the work of propaganda in our body politics but truth be told, both teams stand competitive chances of winning with the employment of rightful strategies of reducing the unnecessary faults and aiming the high. Yes, the inclusion of Madam Taylor, former UP executives and particularly Senator Johnson on the CDC'S team was a timely and decisive move by Mr. Weah and in my mind, is the beginning of true reconciliation of the long haul astringent tribal clashes between the great people of Nimba and Grand Gedeh though a strong and well organized debate of implementation deficits can easily survive around the composition of individual team members just by judging from past history in government.
On the other hand, VP Boakai brings to the table a cross section of young and brilliant professionals who are eagerly available and willing to work for the good of the Motherland but the challenge is how to rise above the ongoing division and throw out a winnable stone of continuity of the gains made?
Amidst the hurdles and bubbles, we remain more optimistic in the future of our country and trust we're on path to national prosperities and transformation. God bless the Motherland and save our Sweet Africa.
To be continued.........
Samuel Saah Karimu is a youthful globally prepared Liberian writer, researcher and certified public discussant with background in Business Economics, Financial and Project Managements and Quantitative reasoning blended with quality business communications and problem solving skills. Hold training in development studies, Management Information System and Forensic Investigation. Worked with the private sector on a private-public partnership mainly design for strengthening rural-health system in Liberia.