Liberia: Postponing The By-Election Would Be An Insult To Our Constitution, Slap To Our Democracy
THE MONTSERRADO County by-elections would be one of the most keenly contested in the county. The ruling party now confronts a conglomerate opposition force, an almost unprecedented situation in the country. As the campaign continues, the emotional tempo of the political process is deepening, stakes are rising and conspiracy theories are thriving. It is in this context that the suggestion for postponing the by-elections is a cause for concern.
WE ARE AWARE that the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia provides that “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding.”
THE CONSTITUTION IS the sacred law that all Presidents of this Republic take oath to abide by, govern by and protect before beginning their presidency.
OVER THE LAST COUPLE of years, we have witnessed utmost disregard to the Constitution, especially on matters relating to the conduct of elections.
THE IMPORTANCE OF elections cannot be overemphasized in any given democracy. In fact, it is the bed rock upon which democracy is built. People should be allowed to vote their representatives at the time the Constitution says they should.
ON WEDNESDAY morning, multiple and impeccable sources confirmed to FPA that the National Elections Commission will shortly be announcing to the public its inability to hold the elections because ballot papers and other materials to conduct the elections have not yet arrived in the country.
THIS POSTPONEMENT is set to mark the second time in as many months that the elections have been put off.
ON JUNE 4, THE Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya warned that the elections initially planned for July 2 would not take place if all election materials are not procured and brought in the country by June 30.
A KEY REASON FOR the delay, FrontPageAfrica has learned is that NEC received funding for the materials a bit late from the Ministry of Finance. The order and processing of the materials, one source explained took longer than expected, prompting a second delay of the by elections.
ELECTIONS SHOULDN’T be toyed with, this by-elections for that matter. Candidates are out in the field campaigning.
POSTPONING THE elections would be a dangerous move for a number of reasons. First, it is a blatant violation of the Constitution. Secondly, some candidates, especially in the opposition are getting jittery about the possible outcome of the elections and would like to divert the country along the dangerous path and postponement might be the first step in that direction.
WE MUST RECOGNIZE that elections are delicate and must be handled with the highest degree of integrity and leave no room for doubts and suspense. Any election preceded by so much doubts and suspense has the propensity to plunge the entire process into anarchy.
POSTPONING THE by-election would be a slap in the face of our democracy and an insult Constitution which sets the basis for our sovereignty and democracy and defines us as a people.
THIS IS WHY we say by-elections must hold on schedule.