Liberia: Ruling Party’s By-Elections Senatorial Candidate Quits in Wake of Code of Conduct Breach
Monrovia – Ms. Paulita Cece Wie, the recently-tipped Senatorial candidate for the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change has tendered in her resignation as Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the run-up to the upcoming Montserrado County Senatorial By-Elections set for July 2nd, 2019.
In a letter dated May 16, 2019 sent to the President and obtained by FrontPageAfrica, Madam Wie explained that her decision to step down from her position follows her party’s primary victory which secured her nomination to represent the CDC in the upcoming Senatorial race to fill the void left following the death of the late Junior Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.
In her letter, Madam Wie wrote:
“I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to you for affording me the opportunity to serve in the Executive Branch of your government as the Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Republic of Liberia and to applaud you for your commitment to empowering young people to leadership. Your dedication to promoting women’s participation into the governance process of the state including the numerous development initiatives and progress you have made since your ascendancy to the nation’s highest office.
Your excellency, after numerous calls and petitions from the citizens of Montserrado County, our political party and the people of Liberia petitioning me to contest the pending Senatorial By Election, I wish to officially submit you your honorable office my resignation, effecting as of today, Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 5pmYour Excellency, in closing I would like to acknowledge the Almighty God for making you our President, our standard bearer, our mentor, the unifier, Africa’s proud. The He-for-She Champion, a true democratic leader under whose leadership we continue to enjoy peace and reconciliation. In pursuance of your desire to ensure that women participation in politics is sustain in your government, I wish to request that you kindly grant me the necessary support that I may stand in need of in working with the people of Liberia and our beloved party.
Madam Wie’s nomination at the weekend triggered a wave of criticisms on social media amid concerns that she was in violation of Part V, 5.2 (c) of the National Code of Conduct for Public Officials which requires government officials to resign from the positions at least two years prior to contesting public office or in the case of a by-elections, at least thirty days prior to contesting.
Part V of the Code of Conduct sets restrictions for government officials appointed by the President who desire to contest an election.
Section 5.1 says “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.”
5.2 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;
In pursuance of your desire to ensure that women participation in politics is sustain in your government, I wish to request that you kindly grant me the necessary support that I may stand in need of in working with the people of Liberia and our beloved party.
Ms. Paulita Cece Wie, Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs
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 following the declaration by the National Elections Commission of the vacancy.
Mr. Abu Kamara, who along with Wie was tipped at the party’s primary Saturday to contest in the District 15 elections left void after the death of late Rep. Adolph Lawrence, endured similar fate on the eve of the 2017 legislative elections. Kamara, was rejected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) when he applied to contest in the 2017 elections. He was then a Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Transport.
Though he contested the NEC’s decision before the Supreme Court, his lawyer, Cllr. Arthur Johnson was slammed by the Bench for disregarding a previous ruling on the Code of Conduct involving former Bong County Superintendent, Selena Polson, who contended that the Code of Conduct was in contradiction to some Articles of the 1986 Constitution. Ms. Polson was also rejected from contesting in the 2017 election due to her position as Superintendent.
Legal and election observers say the clause of the Code of Conduct calling on officials of government contesting a by-election to resign 30 days prior. The NEC has up to a week after submission to clear aspirants who have filed their nomination forms.
Wie previously sought the party’s candidate for the District No. 9 Representative seat in the 2017 legislative race but lost to the incumbent Munah Pelham Youngblood.