NEC Must Uphold Code of Conduct

NEC Must Uphold Code of Conduct

The Editor,

The National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) must be smart enough and must know better to uphold the Code of Conduct law and the Supreme Court of Liberia decision or else the NEC could face legal actions in court that will seek to invalidate the outcome of any elections outcome if the NEC puts on the ballot name or names of candidates who fall short of satisfying the Code of Conduct Law.

Thus, if Mills Jones, Alexander Cummings, Jeremiah Sulunteh, Harrison Karnwea and others who did not resign from their appointed jobs two or three years prior to the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections and are placed on the ballot, that will raise a plethora of lawsuits from other candidates challenging the validity of the results of the elections.

At 170 years, Liberia must decide whether we want a country that operates under the rule law and a constitution or a country of men/women who see themselves as above the law.

This talk by some in the campaigns of both Jones and Cummings of wanting to disregard the Supreme Court's ruling on the Code of Conduct law is a dangerous development that could derail our second democratic experiment put into place after a 14-year civil war.

The law is the law whether you like it or not. The code of Conduct Law took effect on the very day it was passed into law by the Liberian Legislature.

This talk of retroactive or not is hogwash. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

The law was intended to create a levelled-playing field for all seeking to contest.

The Liberia Code of Conduct Law was modelled after a similar law in the Unitec States: The 1939 Hatch Act.

Framers of the Liberian version in 2009 for submission by the Executive Branch to the Legislature included Dr. Amos Sawyer and former Auditor General of Liberia Mr. John Morlu, and we remain indebted to them.

Because of the US Hatch Act, Mrs. Hillary Clinton was forced to resign as Secretary of State, and equally so Mr. Augustine Nganfuan was also forced to resign as Foreign Minister of Liberia.

So why must there be exceptions for others who knew or should have known about the Code of Conduct Law but decided to ride on their lucrative jobs almost to the end before quitting? The constitution has no room for sympathies.

There are others throwing around silly arguments that to leave their jobs in order to comply with the Code of Conduct Law would mean to deny them from making a living/employment. What about those who do not have any jobs but are contesting the elections?

Mr. Mills Jones as Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia clearly demonstrated why the Code of Conduct Law is necessary. He abused his position by using money from the Bank as "economic stimulus money."

He then printed thousands of T-shirts with his photo on the front that he handed out to members in the vote-rich market communities across the country. Jones was out there personally giving away so-called "stimulus money" that his critics said amounted to illegal campaigning.

Therefore the enforcement of the Supreme Court of Liberia ruling on the Code of Conduct Law rests squarely with the already problems-plagued NEC. The NEC has its hands full with reposts of massive voter registration fraud process.

Then there is the case of Amos Siebo, a "Consultant" to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was busted and had turned his home into virtual elections materials "manufacturing factory" with everything needed to commit untold vote fraud.

Police found in Amos' home NEC materials from the NEC Headquarters including voter registration cards, forms, cameras, printers and much more.

He is believed to be working with NEC insiders who are now on the run and wanted by Police. God alone knows how many more "Amos Siebos" that is out there yet to be discovered.

This is why I suggest we need to ask our international partners--the United Nations, the European Union, ECOWAS, the African, and our chief financial underwriter, the United States-- to come in and take over from scratch to print new election materials and conduct the elections.

The current NEC materials need to be voided, be recalled and be destroyed/burned. And if necessary, reschedule the elections and replace all five NEC Commissioners.

If not, I smell trouble ahead. When it quacks, walks, talks, acts and looks like a duck, you bet this is what the NEC is. Buyers beware.

Jerry Wehtee Wion,
Washington, DC
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