Liberia: Bill Twehway Violates Code Of Conduct; Openly Campaigns for Alex Tyler For Senatorial Seat in Bomi

NPA Managing Director Bill Twehway (center with face cap), former House Speaker and senatorial candidate Alex Tyler (first from left) and Bomi Superintendent Adama Robertson (with blue beret)

Monrovia – The Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Mr. Bill Twehway, over the week end openly engaged into campaign activities for the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mr. Alex Tyler flagrantly violating the National Code of Conduct Law for public officials.

Mr. Tyler is the former Speaker of the 53rd National Legislature, who is contesting the ensuing Senatorial election on the ticket of the ruling CDC.

His political party, the Liberian People Democratic Party is part of political parties that make up the CDC. Other parties that form part of the CDC include: the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP).

In May 2014, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf signed into law the Code of Conduct Act following the House of Representatives concurrence with the Liberian Senate in March 2014.

Members of the 53rd National Legislature at the time passed the document, which was submitted by the Executive in 2009, in keeping with Article 90 (c) of the 1986 Liberian Constitution.

 Article 90 (c) of the Constitution provides that “The Legislature shall prescribe a Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees stipulating the acts which constitute conflict of interest or are against public policy, and the penalties for violation thereof.”

The National Code of Conduct Act, which suffers series of setbacks prior to its passage, sets out standards of behavior, and conduct required of Public Officials and Employees of Government.

It also guides, regulates and ensures compliance with the norms and behaviors required of all Public Officials and Employees of Government for the sake of impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity, efficiency and effectiveness in the performance of their duties and mandates.

But speaking when he appeared as guest on Trust FM 88.7 in Gbah Jarkeh Town in Bomi County on Sunday, November 1, Mr. Tweahway claimed that President George Manneh Weah, who is the political leader of the CDC has already endorsed the senatorial bid of Mr. Tyler, and as such, he will not support Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe.

The radio station is owned by senatorial candidate, Mr. Alex Tyler.

Mr. Tweahway and Representative Snowe-who are close friends-served electoral districts # 3 and 6 in Montserrado County respectively in the 53rd National Legislature.

His comments were in direct response to a question posted by the Host, over his support to a senatorial candidate in Bomi County.

He noted that though Representative Snowe remains his friend, he will not allow friendship to supersede the interest of the CDC in the ensuing senatorial elections, particularly in Bomi.

“The CDC has a candidate here who is prepared and willing to work so that he can win. So, I will not leave the CDC candidate who is prepared and willing to work for victory that the President has interest in and wants him to win as well- and I support someone who is not from our party”.

“If Hon. Snowe comes to the party today and gets on the ticket of the party, we will all rally around Hon. Snowe to make sure that he wins”.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Tweahway, and few other officials of the governing CDC attended an endorsement ceremony for former Speaker Tyler along with Montserrado County Representative Solomon Claudius George, the Deputy Director of the General Service Agency (GSA), William Varney Darkel, among others.

Mr. Tyler was endorsed by some members of the `16 tribes residing in the county.

The endorsement ceremony took place at the Moses Vincent Compound in Tubmanburg-capital City of Bomi.

Bomi County Superintendent Adama Robertson was also spotted, along with Mr. Tweahway and former Speaker Tyler following his appearance on Trust FM.

Mr. Tweahway’s action contravenes Section 5.1 of the National Code of Conduct Law.

Among other things Section 5.1 of the National Code of Conduct Law states that: “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.

Mr. Tweahway’s action also runs contrary to his latest decision taken to withdraw from the campaign committee of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) for the senatorial elections across Liberia, days after he and barrage of appointed government officials were named.

He attributed his decision taken to withdraw from the committee to abide by the National Code of Conduct Law.

But there are reports that many of these appointed government officials, especially those heading revenue generating entities in government, have agreed to serve the campaign committee of the ruling party “covertly”, as evidenced by the withdrawing of their names from the committee by the party’s chairman Mulbah Morlu.

The ruling party was constrained to with the names of appointed government officials from intense pressure and criticisms from religious groups, including the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), civil society organizations and actors, among others.

The LCC, through its President, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, pointed out that the ruling party’s action undermines the tenets of good governance, including the upholding of the rule of law in Liberia.

He maintained that it does not augur well for Liberia and its people to see the CDC which consistently spoke in favor of the upholding of the Code of Conduct during its opposition days, to change gear at a time that the party now has the authority to do so.

He termed as “unacceptable” the open and fearless violation of the document by the CDC by naming public officials in top positions at revenue generating entities on its campaign committee.

“The LCC believes that CDC is wrong to appoint government officials on the campaign committee of the ruling party. It is a violation of section 5 of the National Code of Conduct. They are in error with that kind of action which undermines the rule of law and the tenets of good governance. We supposed to be upholding and celebrating the rule of law at this time”.

“I know when the CDC was in opposition-one of their concerns was the upholding of the Code of Conduct; now that they are in the driver’s seat they are able to help strengthen and uphold the rule of law. But the CDC is openly violating the Code of Conduct without any remorse”.

Bishop Brown pointed out that the appointment of these top officials on the campaign team of the CDC makes it difficult for them to carry out their assigned tasks and responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner.