Elections Coordinating Committee Want Ombudsman Reconstituted

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Monrovia – The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) has called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to withdraw or recall the appointment made to the office of the Ombudsman.


Report by Al-Varney Rogers [email protected]


“It is the view of the ECC that the closeness of these two individuals to the ruling establishment and to an opposition party undermines the spirit and intent of the independence of the office of the Ombudsman and therefore they are not the most suitable Liberians to occupy these positions,” Ocsar Bloh, Election Coordinating Committee

“It is the view of the ECC that the closeness of these two individuals to the ruling establishment and to an opposition party undermines the “spirit and intent of the independence of the office of the Ombudsman and therefore they are not the most suitable Liberians to occupy these positions,” Oscar Bloh of the ECC said.

The Executive Mansion named former Police Director Chris Massaquoi and Edward Dillon, Massa Jallaba to occupy the office of the Ombudsman but Jallaba nomination was recalled because she did not meet the age requirement.

“The office of the Ombudsman is an independent autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct.”

“Cllr. Chris Massaquoi, who was appointed as a member to the office of the Ombudsman has held several high top security positions in the current government and is considered to be a confidante of the President. Atty. Edward Dillion, another appointee, has close ties with the Liberty Party.

He is a brother to the Vice Chairperson of the Liberty Party (LP) and previously worked in the law offices of Brumskine & Associates/Pierre, Tweh & Associates Law Firm.

The LP is on record for saying that it has in no way violated Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct by the selection of Harrison Karnweh as its Vice Standard Bearer. Atty. Dillion’s presence on this body poses a risk of conflict of interest,” Bloh read from an ECC statement.   

The Elections Coordinating Committee believes that a wider consultative process with diverse stakeholders would lead to the appointment of competent individuals for the Ombudsman.

Bloh said given the sensitive nature of the implementation of Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct and its implications for peace and security of the country during this electoral process, there is a strong reason for the reconstitution of the Ombudsman.

“In the event where this call is not considered, we urge the Senate not to confirm them for the same reason provided above,” Bloh asserted.

He said the Code of Conduct falls short of stating the qualifications, competencies, experience and tenure of individuals to run the office of the Ombudsman and how they can be removed.

The head of the Election Coordinating body said President Sirleaf used Executive Power to address this gap by issuing Executive Order Number 83. 

According to him, the Executive Order issued by the President gives power to the office of the Ombudsman that is not prescribed in the Code of Conduct in keeping with the Constitution.

“The ECC respects the opinion of the Supreme Court regarding the legality of the Code of Conduct. At the same time, given this country’s history of political and socio-economic exclusion and in the spirit of consolidating our democracy and increasing citizens’ participation as well as strengthening the constitutional provision of all persons being equal before the law (Article 11 c) and equal opportunity to for work (Article 18), we call on the National Legislature to amend Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct. While this process would take some time, the ECC is calling for a national conference to look at the modality in the implementation of the Code of Conduct particularly around Section 5.2. 3 Compliance of political parties with the elections laws and regulations,” Bloh continued.  

Bloh noted that official campaigning has not been declared by the NEC, some political parties were already involved in campaigning with rallies intended to announce vice running mates.

“The ECC is of the view that the mass mobilization of some political parties in the name of presenting their running mates to their supporters is a form of campaigning and the NEC is under obligation to hold parties accountable in keeping with the law if and when they engage in pre-campaigning activities,” he said.

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