Liberia: Debate Skipping Does Presidential Candidates No Good

Supporters of presidential candidate Alex B Cummings gather outside Paynesville Town Hall for the first in a series of presidential debates organized by the Deepening Democracy Coalition.

FOR THE SECOND TIME, the Standard bearer of the Coalition of Democratic Change, Senator George, Manneh Weah, has skipped the Presidential debate organized by the Deepening Democracy Coalition due to frivolous reasons.

AND UNLIKE WHAT EDUCATION Minister George Werner intimated in his Facebook post last month, a Presidential debate is very much important as it gives those wanting to lead us a chance to articulate why they want to do so and how do they intend to turn water to wine.

DEBATES PROVIDE A NEUTRAL forum where candidates for elected office meet face-to-face to make statements and answer questions about their policies and platforms. They are an important part of elections in every corner of the world and at every level of government, from city council to provincial legislature to parliament and President.

WHILE DEBATES PROVIDE VOTERS WITH critical information that aids in their decision-making, they also help candidates by giving them an opportunity to get their message out, inform voters of their views on important issues, and sharpen their campaign skills.

DEBATES GIVE CANDIDATES AN opportunity to explain why they are running, draw contrasts between themselves and their opponents, and convince voters that they are the best candidate or party to represent them.

DEBATES ARE A WAY FOR CANDIDATES and parties to show the public that their campaigns are a constructive contest of ideas. Debates encourage candidates to develop better policy positions during the campaign and can demonstrate to voters that political adversaries can compete in a peaceful manner.

DEBATES ALSO HELP CANDIDATES and parties by providing an opportunity to speak directly to the voters without filtering by the media and free access to valuable media time that may otherwise be inaccessible or unaffordable.

AMID ALL OF THESE REASONS, it is difficult to fathom why Benoni Urey, Vice President Joseph Boakai, Cllr. Charles Brumskine AND MOST ESPECIALLY Senator George M. Weah would skip the second debate.

SENATOR WEAH'S SPOKESMAN, Sam Mannah, told FrontPageAfrica Monday that Mr. Weah due to an invitation from the European Union, Mr. Weah will attend the debate.

"I DON'T THINK HE WILL BE AT the debate due to his meetings with the European Union in Brussels and also with the head of the African Union in Paris both meetings to take place September 25th and 26th.

HOWEVER, THE EUROPEAN UNION Embassy in Monrovia informed FrontPageAfrica Monday upon inquiry that Senator Weah was not invited by them as stated by Mr. Mannah and that Mr. Weah was perhaps going on a private visit.

THIS WOULD BE THE SECOND TIME Senator Weah is failing to attend the Presidential debate, though he had promised to attend yesterday's debate.

DUE TO HIS SOCCER POPULARITY, Senator Weah often pulling tens of thousands onto the under the touted guises of "million man march." These marches often bring Monrovia and other areas at a standstill.

AS THEY OWE IT TO HIM TO TURN out en masse and cry "Lord, Lord" he also owes it to them to show up on the podium and explain as to why he intends to be President of the Republic of Liberia and how does he intend to solve the litany of problems the Unity Party-led government of 12 years could not find the panacea.

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