Presidential Appointees Violate Code of Conduct: Active in Political Activities
Monrovia – Africa’s oldest black independent Republic continues to be classified as one of the poorest in the world and its capital City of Monrovia is recorded by the United Nations Habitat Report for 2015 as the most underdeveloped in the world.
Some believe that Liberia is one of the countries in the world where the law is not respected, although there are good laws on the books but many of these laws—a replica of laws from other countries—are perennially kept on the shelves.
Making new laws seem common in Liberia as the National Legislature is known for passing dozens of laws yearly but implementation of these laws remains a major challenge.
Officials who make the laws are the ones found in violations of it while they seek to have the ordinary people respect it.
When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who served as head of the then Good Governance Commission of Liberia was elected President for the first term in 2005, she promised that her regime will ensure respect for the rule of law and good governance will be the hallmark of her administration.
During her regime, several good laws were passed by the Legislature which she signed into law but her regime is yet to ensure full implementation of these laws.
In 2009 the Executive Branch of Government submitted a bill-the Code of Conduct to the National Legislature for passage into law prescribing the activities of public officials.
The Code of Conduct, after languishing at the Capitol for nearly five years, was ratified by the lawmakers and signed by the President taking effect since 2014 and referred to as the Code of Conduct 2014.
The Code received huge public commendations especially provisions regarding the conduct of public officials who many see flouting the laws.
Under her regime, the Code of Conduct is being violated as officials appointed by the President are now actively participating in politics in violation of the Code of Conduct.
At the ongoing national convention of the ruling Unity Party, several presidential appointees are actively partaking in politics.
Part V: Political participation of the Code of Conduct prohibits all officials appointed by the President from taking part in active politics
Part V; Political participation of the Code of conduct section 5.1 states “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”.
In disregard for the above provisions of the Code of Conduct, several presidential appointees including Information Minister Eugene Nagbe, Labor Minister Neto Z. Lighe, Sr. are contesting for positions in the Unity Party, thus actively taking part in political activities.
Minister Lighe is contesting as Senior National Vice Chairman while his cabinet colleague Nagbe is running for the position of Secretary General of the ruling party.
President presides over violation
President Sirleaf, the political leader of the ruling party who signed the Code of Conduct into law is attending the Unity Party convention and presiding over the violation by officials she appointed to several positions in government.
Besides the two officials, many officials of government appointed by the President are said to be partaking in the ongoing Unity Party Convention, ignoring the law.
Experts believe that unless Liberians can uphold and protect laws, the country will continue to be at bottom of development as those elected to protect the laws take unto themselves by breaking the same laws.
The Unity Party, which is also pushing for third successive term in power, violating the law is a sign that another term will be no different from what Liberians have experienced over the last ten years.
Recently, youth officials of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change alarmed that the ruling party is already violating the Code of Conduct and the electoral law where ruling party officials are using state assets including vehicles to engage in political activities.
Jefferson Koijee, Youth League Chairman of the CDC told FrontPageAfrica recently that officials of government from the ruling party including Vice President Joseph Boakai are using state assets for political activities.
“Elections are rigged on elections day, it is wrong, right now Brumskine is in Ganta, he is not using Government vehicles, Mill Jones is in Bomi, he is not suing government property, so Boakai must do the same, let him not use government property on his Unity Party campaign activities”, said Koijee.
During the 2011 general and presidential elections, the Unity party was accused of excessive spending on political campaigns against the electoral law.