Thursday, November 10, 2005

Speaking of electoral maps ...

Check out this one:

Looks like a Harvard grad is going to the Executive Mansion (multi-story pile on the beach in Monrovia, now full of bullet holes but looks like a resort hotel).

Isn’t it a trip to see an election in tropical Africa happening on line? Of course, they still don’t have electricity except here and there (not to mention running water, hospitals, schools...) so they can’t see it.

Also: check out the news “source” (below). Another mind-bender.

DATE: 9 November 2005
SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency (c) Copyright 2005

Harvard-trained Iron Lady Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf took the lead
in Liberia's presidential runoff with more than 59 percent of
the polling stations counted on Wednesday but her rival,
football great George Weah claimed fraud immediately.

Johnson-Sirleaf has 293,363 votes at 56.4 percent while Weah
has 227,244 votes at 43.6 percent with votes from 1,813 of the
3,070 polling places counted, Frances Johnson-Morris,
chairwoman of the National Elections Commission, told a news

But it has to be quick to point out that the results are "still
partial" and can not determine who will win eventually. Final
official results will be announced by November 23. If Johnson-
Sirleaf wins, she will be the first female head of the state in

Thirty-nine-year-old Weah early in the day alleged that more
than 35 pre-marked ballot papers were intercepted, intended to
be stuffed in ballot boxes in favor of his challenger Johnson-

The former FIFA player of the year, who rose from the slums by
dropping out of high school to take up a football career and
became a millionaire, urged the United Nations, the African
Union and the international community to look at his fraud

The electoral commission chief said the evaluation of the
runoff should be left to observers but not Weah.

Paul Risley, spokesman for the United Nations Mission in
Liberia, told Xinhua the mission has not received complaint
from Weah or the CDC.

However, "the UN mission is awaiting report by international
and domestic observers who are deployed throughout the country
monitoring the election," Risley said.

"We are not aware of incident or violation of the kind Weah is
said to be alleging," he said.

On Tuesday, UN special envoy Alan Doss described the election,
the first since the end of 14-year civil war in the west
African country in 2003, as "peaceful and transparent" and
urged the two presidential aspirants to "accept the results

Meanwhile, he assured that the 15,000-strong UN peacekeepers
will "remain on full alert throughout the country to ensure a
secured environment."

International observers such as the National Democratic
Institute and the Carter Center are expected to hold press
conferences on Thursday to release their delegation's
preliminary statement on the runoff.

During the past several days, Weah repeatedly claimed he had
earned 800,000 votes, or 62 percent in the October 11 first
round instead of the 28.3 percent certified by the commission,
which was described by Johnson-Morris as "reckless and

"We can revoke the CDC (Weah's party) registration
certification for seeking to undermine the security of the
Liberian state. His remark is totally foolish ... He is trying
to hijack the electoral process," she said in the morning of
the runoff day.

N.B. – Mrs. Johnson-Morris’s picture is on the home page of the elections site (link, above).

Here’s a page with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s picture:

And George Weah:


Blogger Jim H said...

Hmmmm. Compared to the first round, Weah picks up 27,000 votes, Johnson-Sirleaf picks up 246,000, and 254,000 fewer people vote.

Makes me raise an eyebrow.

November 10, 2005 10:43 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

Yes, veddy intah resting, as someone used to say.

One has to ask, if there is a kind of election in which the international monitors might be inclined to look the other way, wouldn't it be this one?

Harvard-educated economist vs. an illiterate soccer star?

In post-election analyses, the theory seems to be that she had the women's vote and that turnout dropped vs. the first-round vote, with women being the more dutiful in turning out for the second vote.

But we'll probably never know, will we?

November 12, 2005 12:45 PM  
Blogger Jim H said...

Is there a source for the claim that Weah is illiterate?

I have not followed these matters closely, and my knowledge of Weah comes from what I remember about a very positive article in Sports Illustrated a few years back.

The SI article said nothing about his being illiterate. I spent ten minutes with various Google searches and, while I found questions raised about the legitimacy of a university degree he claimed, I couldn't find any source stating that he was unable to read or write. I did read that he dropped out of high school, but that doesn't necessarily prove he is illiterate.

Rick, I know you have a personal interest in things Liberian, and far deeper knowledge, so perhaps you can point me to something that confirms Weah's illiteracy.

Further, calling Johnson-Sirleaf a "Harvard educated economist" appears to be stretching things considerably. Although she obtained an MPA in 1971, she has no degree in economics from Harvard--at least not according to the alumni directory. One site said she "read economics at Harvard." That makes someone a "Harvard-trained economist?" I could not find reference to any degree other than the MPA. One site said that she obtained a degree from Colorado, but did not say in what field. Ellen Johnson's Connections With Nairobi

At Harvard, she was apparently in the Kennedy School of Government's Mason Fellows program, which "is an intensive one-year master’s degree program designed to prepare demonstrated leaders from developing, newly industrialized, and transitional economy countries to address the world’s most compelling development challenges." Mason Fellows Program.

My eyebrow is still raised. Of course, that's my job.

November 14, 2005 10:07 AM  
Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

I hereby retract:

1. Harvard educated economist

2. Illiterate soccer star

At Liberian Christian College (was hoping to offer higher education programs but hadn't got past high school enrollments while I was there), the typical graduate would not be called literate. Since my time, the educational system has gone backwards, not forwards.

November 14, 2005 2:18 PM  

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