Monrovia – The just ended Unity Party convention that brought Information Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe as Secretary General, Labour Minister Neto Lighe as Deputy National Vice Chairman and GSA Deputy Director for Administration Cole Bangole Vice Chairman for inter party and NEC Affairs opened up a debate on the Code of Conduct.
Report by Al-Varney Rogers alvarney.rogersfrontpageonline.com
Since the end of the convention, debate on its effect on code of conduct has been the talk of the town including on radio talk shows, and in street corners as well as to the door steps of civil society groupings.
The Elections Coordinating Committee, (ECC) Chairman Oscar Bloh, who was at the convention, said Unity Party’s action was observed to have breached the Code of Conduct .
“The Elections Coordinating Committee, (ECC) has observed with grave concern a breach in certain provisions of the National Code of conduct intended for all public officials and employees of the government of Liberia during the just ended Unity Party’s National Convention held in Gbarnga, from July 7-9 2016,” Bloh added.
Bloh Continues: “Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct that focuses on political participation states: “All officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: “Engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities;”
Bloh added, the election of several appointed government officials to key leadership positions within U.P. was a form of engaging in political activities.
“That the participation and election of several appointed government officials to key leadership positions within the Unity Party is a direct form of engaging in political activities in breach of section 5.1(a) as stated above,” ECC Chairman said.
Those elected at the convention have meanwhile, called on those who feel injured by their decision to take the matter to the Supreme Court.
Bloh argues that Unity Party shouldn’t have used Gbarnga administrative building for their convention.
“That the holding of the convention at the administrative building which is a government facility was a violation,” Bloh added.
ECC Chairman added that violation wasn’t limited to the use of public building adding that government vehicles were also misused.
“The use of government vehicles which encompasses equipment and resources also contravenes section 5.1B of the Code of Conduct cited above,” Bloh added.
Bloh continues: “Several government vehicles with the identification inscriptions such as GSA-MFDP-04-16 LB 1665 and GSA- MFDP-05-5 were observed parked for hours within the vicinity where the Convention was taking place.”
He also said those elected in key leadership were predominantly male adding the election wasn’t gender sensitive.
“Apart from these contraventions of the Code of Conduct, the ECC also observed that those elected to serve in key leadership positions within the party are overwhelmingly men which was not gender sensitive in keeping with the amended Elections law of 1986 section 4.5 1(b),”
“which states that “ A political party of coalition in its submission to the Commission of its list of candidates for an election shall endeavor to ensure that the governing body and its list of candidates has no less than 30% of its members from each gender,” Bloh added.
According to Bloh the ECC commend the Unity Party for a peaceful conduct of its convention.
The ECC Chairman calls on President Sirleaf to establish the office of the ombudsman.
“At the same time, in keeping with section 12.1 of the code of Conduct, the ECC is calling on the President to establish the office of the Ombudsman responsible for the enforcement, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the adherence to the Code of Conduct.”
The ECC calls on all political parties to adhere to the provisions contained in the Code of Code regulating the conduct of political parties.