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Front Page Africa “Danger Of Double Voting”

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A Déjà Vu Symptom Or A Storm In The Teacup?
By Kabah Morris Trawally

Let me start by freshening up your memory by going back in summary on the November 17th article of Front Page Africa Newspaper, 2010 that triggered this commentary from me.
Two pages and one editorial were concentrated on the reaction of the Mandingoes in Liberia to the results of the elections in Guinea with many supporting statements that insinuated nothing but hate and incitation to political disenfranchisement.
“Mandingoes took to the streets in unexpected number to celebrate Alpha Conde’ Election victory in Guinea. The National Election Commission(NEC), BIN and the general public must beware because these same Mandingos are the one who call themselves Liberians and it will be a dangerous and serious problem to stop them because they look and speak like Liberians and allowing them to vote will bring ethnic tension” Summary. Front Page Africa 17/11/2010
I am a descendent of a Mandingo immigrant and a goddamned patriotic citizen of this country, not by naturalization but a son of the soil brought into this world in the borough of Baworlo quarters, the Heart of Gbarnga City just before the opening of Phoebe hospital in Suakoko Bong County. This reality of my birth cannot becloud the fact that I (like all Liberians) have roots and my immediate root happen to be Guinea, (the Country we love to hate). It is where my grandfather - dubbed “Maa Kehiaye”   meaning dance-walking in Kpelleh - came from. We now know that this part of Guinea, called Musadou was indeed a Liberian territory that was so cheaply ceded to French- Guinea simply because its inhabitants were foolhardy, stubborn, semi literate tribe that would not relinquish their beliefs and tradition for anybody.
Similarly, Mandingoes in this country have roots just like any other tribe in Liberia. The principal difference is, we are and remained proud of our common heritage, tradition and culture, all of which remained purified, enshrined and preserved for onward transmission to coming generations.
Subsequently, and unlike many other indigenous people in this country, having been content with our beliefs and traditions systems, elected to maintain them airtight and refused to adopt the settlers’ religion, customs, names and other ways of life, this was a crime that automatically domed us to alienation and the new concept of Liberian citizenship and the stereotypes which we are subjected to today were born.
Nonetheless, the article, obviously a shroud, veiled and calculated preemptive strike by you targeted towards disenfranchising certain group of people in the coming general elections whom you have no superior right over as citizens.
No offense on your part in this campaign, you were born in it, and we live in it, so it’s pretty much a part of our lives, a cream that we must rub on our body everyday to make it look even more important and subject of envy. Remember the media satiric headlines about our plight in the hands of NPFL rebels at the on set of the civil war? This is business as usual.
The paper (FPA) called on the NEC to take note of an eminent danger of Mandingoes double voting; its clues are: Mandingoes in Monrovia voted massively in Guinea election and subsequently celebrated in large number the victory of Alpha Conde, a Mandingo man. Voting in Guinea election is certainly not every one of us right as you desperately tried to conjure, needless to mention the voter apathy we suffer from as tribe. Alpha Code came a distant second place, with 1033 votes (presumably all Mandingoes) and 6800 votes for Cellou Diallo, a Fullah man in the result of absentee ballot of the Guinean election in Liberia, as a journalist, this should have made a nice subject of analysis for you if you genuinely had any objective interest in it in addition to the economics return, because your so called “appalling number of Guineans” in Liberia (6800+1033) to say the least would have all bought a copy of FPA on that day and maybe subsequently subscribed to your paper.
The fact you don’t know is, had it not been the massive support for Alpha Conde from the votes of the Mano, Lorma, Kissi, Kono, Soso and Kpelleh counties Guinea in addition to 4/5 administrative seats of Conakry to overturn the lead of Mr. Diallo, Mandingoes alone would certainly not have elected Alpha.
By right, Cellou Diallo should have also cried foul louder than he did about the “appalling number of Liberians” (Kissis, Manos, Lormas, Kpelleh etc.) crossing in from Liberia to offset his lead according to your inborn concept of citizenship. (Liberian citizen = everybody – Mandingo).
In addition, We are part and parcel of the ethnic compositions of most countries in our sub region: Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Fasso, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone ect.. Maybe your perceived danger will turn to nightmare when you see all these countries around you one day being ruled by Mandingo men.
Celebrating a Mandingo man’s victory anywhere in this sub-region is our insuppressible choice and it is in no way less than the entire black race’s tumultuous out brake of joy all over the world (needless to say Liberia) for Barack Obama’s election victory in the USA two years ago. I wonder those who you claimed to have been appalled by the huge percentage of Guineans {obviously Mandingoes} in Liberia, why were they not appalled by the vast number of people and the euphoria that we saw in Liberia of Obama’s election victory celebration ?. Were they not born by then or are they just being caught up in this complex web of age-old alienation plot.
 If you did find a ‘’cue“ for NEC to take note from, here is another one for free: all these Liberian celebrants of Obama’s victory are a band of New Americans ( perfect recipe for Capital Drain) that need to be weeded out for the fear of double voting come 2011. And for the sake of efficiency, I warn the BIN not to limit their task to tightening up the Guinea border patrol for double voters but also the urban patrol and possibly the executive mansion and the cabinet patrols as well, because our constitution does not allow you to be American and Liberian at the same time just as being Mandingo and Liberian at the same time, the later being according to your innovation.
As for the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), there need to be no secret as to what your strategies are, your task is simple and easy. The old BIN formula is there. [ Mandingo = Foreigner] you can not teach an old dog a new trick, this one is simple, just seek and flush them out in line with this formula before the voting day and ensure that the election is Mandingo- free so that God himself will come down from Heaven to serve you with the Holly Communion. This will probably leave the Obama victory celebrants off the hook (at least for this time) and don’t ask me about poor Barack who will almost certainly have no one to show up at his party come the second term for the fear of being targeted by the BIN and LNP to be flushed out as foreigners.
What triggered me to laughter is, the officials of NEC as confused as they are, lacking all clues to conduct proper free and fair voter registration exercise, they are hoping to rely on elders and prominent persons in the communities to confirm Mandingo man citizenship. Don’t you know that even the unborn child has been taught the mighty formula of the BIN our tormentors? [Mandingo = Foreigner].
The issue of the possible of ethnic tension in the coming election is a mother of all corruptive journalism, a monumental fallacy that holds no bases. if there is a ground for such fear in the coming election, I think that must be drawn from facts of the two previous elections, but how can someone cite a factor in the civil wars that preceded the two peaceful elections as bases for fear not in the first election, not in the second elections but in the third ? the purpose of this scare tactic is glaring but I don’t expect the NEC to buy this corrupt argument, you just go ahead with the fair registration exercises free from prejudice and discrimination, I can guarantee you a most peaceful and violence- free election come 2011.
Political disfranchising is obviously the last ammunition in the fight to carry out the old age mission of alienation and negative tribal stereotyping. As if all other strategies have perished and the battle front tactic became a faux pas. Likewise the waiving away of Liberian territory to French Guinea turned into a lost labor, and the NPFL violent ethnic cleansing backfired. Now it is a clever and calculated attempt to re-customize the perception of people especially the officials of NEC and BIN to sooth your personal gratification by politically disenfranchising people whom you have no superior rights over as citizens of this country.
The essence of good journalism is objectivity embedded uncompromisingly into the execution of duties free of sentiment, emotions, prejudice and bias. Preying on a news item simply because you have found in it an opportunity to disseminate your hidden hate agenda is an abuse of the journalism profession and a dent in your credibility and subsequently that of the institution you represent.
Please let me remind you that the danger you are warning of might not be the one you alleged to have discovered. If you think a concocted fear of double voting is more dangerous than denying people their national suffrage then go ahead, the UNMIL and the International Community will be our witness.

By Kabah Morris Trawally
 National Vice Chairman, Concerned Mandingo Society of Liberia (COMASL)
Architect of the Movement for Progress & Peaceful Co-existence (MPPC)

Disclaimer
The views and comments of the above article are solely that of the author’s. It does not in any way reflect the views of the Public Agenda newspaper.