Monday, October 10, 2011

Still Breaking: Still a Nobel Prize Winner, Still Seeking Re-election

Journalists, pundits and bloggers have continued to bang away at their keyboards through the weekend, debating the timing and suitability of President Sirleaf's Nobel Peace Prize, and whether it will impact the election. Its a full spectrum of opinion from, it will hurt her, to it won't effect her, to its perfect timing.

Interestingly, all the press coverage gave the opposition candidates a huge spotlight. Suddenly, real estate for their remarks about the President opened up in the world's major newspapers and their websites, space that they otherwise might not have had. Unfortunately, this was almost entirely used to attack the President, rather than present an alternative platform. How could we not have a campaign season without the incumbent being compared to Hitler?

There is one way in which Ellen's prize gives her a (slight) advantage on the ground here: although the campaign season officially ended on Sunday evening, and the rules reportedly state that all campaign advertisements must be removed from the streets before the election, someone was motivated to print this massive banner of congratulations which was seen at Monrovia City Hall by late Sunday. Its not specifically a campaign poster, so it barely is in keeping with campaign rules, although Liberia's other new laureate, Leymah Gbowee, is not mentioned at all.

Bending the campaign rules doesn't bother me-- there are still some Brumskine signs on the Boulevard. What annoys me is that I wish that I could order and receive printing and other goods and services in town as fast as this banner was commissioned, designed, printed, delivered, and hung.

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