Barely Two Weeks into the candidate nomination process, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is said to have denied two representative aspirants from contesting in this year’s elections for their alleged failure to comply with the National Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees of the Government of Liberia.
A Source Closed to the nomination center told The NEWS that NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah is said to have also signed the rejection forms of the affected aspirants. According to the source, those aspirants, who were rejected, are current government officials aspiring for representative seats in Montserrado and Gbarpolu counties. The rejected officials include Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Abu Kamara and the Assistant Superintendent of Gbarpolu County. Mr. Kamara is aspiring for a district seat in Montserrado County.
According To Part V, section 5.1 of the National Code of Conduct for All Public Officials and Employees of the Government of Liberia under the title Political Participation, ‘All Officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; b) use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; c) serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.
Additionally, Section 5.2 Of the Code of Conduct says “Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply; a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections; b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections; c) However, in the case of impeachment, death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official listed above, desirous of canvassing or contesting to fill such position must resign said position within thirty days follo
wing the declaration by the National Elections Commission of the vacancy.”
This Action By the National Elections Commission to ensure that the Code of Conduct is implemented, is laudable and must be welcomed by all Liberians. The decision to enforce the Code of Conduct by beginning with two current public officials has sent shock wave across the political spectrum of Liberia.
Many Liberians Were cynical about the implementation of the Code of Conduct until Monday, July 3, 2017 when the NEC took the first step against violators of the law. We call on the NEC to stand firm and muster the courage in implementing not only the Code of Conduct, but also all election related laws.
However, We Urge the NEC not to selectively enforce the Code of Conduct but should reject any candidate regardless of influence, who does not meet the requirements of the laws controlling election matters. We support the scrupulous implementation of the Code of Conduct because it will send a positive signal that Liberia is ready for a free, fair and credible election.