Monrovia - The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has, with immediate effect, named a 13-man standing committee on press, information and public affairs It is chaired by attorney-at-law Kanio Bai Gbala, who is a civil society and political activist and transitional justice expert, co-chaired by Sam Mannah while Tugbeh Worjloh serves as secretary-general.
Members are Mamensie Kaba (Ms.), Boakai Cooper, Hesiphine Tarpeh (Ms.), Eric Kpayea, Gabriel Nyanti, Henry Clark, Sekou Kalasco Damaro, Edriss Bility, Sonotee Sherman (Ms.) and Patrick Nixon.
Under the direction of Menipakei Dumoe, who is CDC deputy secretary general for press and publicity, the committee will be responsible to articulate, propound and represent the prevailing views and consensus of the coalition as well as all its governing organs to include the governing council, except otherwise mandated.
According to a January 3 press release signed by Dumoe and approved by CDC national chairman Nathaniel F. McGill, the committee’s configuration was endorsed by the national executive committee (NEC).
Through this medium, the NEC invites the attention of all media stakeholders to take due cognizance.
The coalition is made-up of the Congress for Democratic (CDC), National Patriotic party (NPP) and Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP).
It was officially certificated by the National Election Commission (NEC) on December 29, 2016 in keeping with section 8.5 of the new elections law of 1986 as was amended in 2004.
According to NEC chairman Jerome Kokoyah, the coalition met the requirements required by the elections law which includes, having a bank account with a minimum balance of US$10,000; procuring an indemnity insurance policy of US$100,000 and acquired a headquarters.
Cllr. Korkoyah warned against pre-campaigning by political parties and individuals.
“We want you to desist. We want the CDC to help the NEC disseminates the necessary information the people need as it relates voter education.
As we certificate you today, I challenged you to adopt responsible attitude in your criticism of government and other authorities.
For the position you aspire for, you have followers. So what you say can be of help to the process.
“I want to remind you that, as a political party, there is a regulatory authority watching the statement you make because there are laws on the book and the statement you make could help or harm the system.
We encourage you to be responsible in your criticism to understand the facts and help consolidate the country democratic process,” he said.
Korkoyah also cautioned political leaders to be and remain involved with NEC by familiarizing themselves with the rules that will govern the elections instead of relying on rumors and speculations, which could undermine the process, warning that NEC will not tolerate such triviality.
Responding, McGill said they stand ready and committed to working with the NEC for the peaceful conduct of the October elections.
He commended NEC for the level of engagement with political parties, particularly through the inter-party committee.
McGill commended the United Nations for extending UNMIL’s mandate to March 2018 and urged NEC to urgently engage UNMIL for logistical support ahead of the elections.
“We want the government of Liberia to consider, as an imperative priority of the 2017 presidential and general elections, by providing urgently needed funds to the NEC to ensure the smooth conduct of these critical elections.
“We are concerned because the government has provided fraction of the US$2.9 million of the commission’s US$20 million budget of the fiscal year 2016/2017 when we have gone two quarters of the fiscal year.”
“The coalition also requests that all logistical support to the NEC should be provided through the UN mission in Liberia to maintain the independence of the electoral process.
We are calling on all agencies to give support directly to the NEC and want all government agencies that have direct or indirect interest to stay clear of this process,” McGill pleaded.