Liberia: Presidential Directive, Code of Conduct Being Ignored by Officials Eyeing Midterm Senatorial Election

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FrontPageAfrica has reliable learned that Civil Aviation Boss Mr. Emmanuel Nuquay and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbezhongar Milton Findley are among public officials seeking to contest the senatorial election in Margibi and Grand Bassa Counties, respectively

Monrovia – Officials of government wanting to contest the October midterm senatorial election would not only be violating the National Code of Conduct, they will also be violating a directive from the President’s office urging all public officials interested in the upcoming election to resign no later than February 22. 

In the memo, President Weah warned that in keeping with Government’s policy of strict adherence to the law, and for the purpose of coordination and maximum productivity, all officials appointed by the President, pursuant to Article 56 of the Liberian Constitution and all civil servant covered by the Code of Conduct (COC) are directed to adhere to the stipulation of the COC regarding requirement for public officials ahead of the 2020 mid-term elections.

“As you are aware, chapter 5.2 of the Code of Conduct, which intent was addressed by the Honorable Supreme Court prior to 2017 elections prescribe that anyone intending to contest for political office shall not continue to hold on to said office.

“Therefore, all officials and civil servants covered by this category are hereby required to resign their position within 30 days of the insurance of the Presidential Memo,” the memo stated.

Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct states that all officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not:  

a) Engage in political activities, canvass or   the head of 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.

Also, in 5.2 of the COC states that, 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;  

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.

“As you are aware, chapter 5.2 of the Code of Conduct, which intent was addressed by the Honorable Supreme Court prior to 2017 elections prescribe that anyone intending to contest for political office shall not continue to hold on to said office.”

– Directive of the President

A well-placed source in government informed FrontPageAfrica that some ministers including Foreign Minister M. Gbezhongar Findley, Mr. Emmanuel Nuquay, head of the Liberian Aviation Authority (LAA), and Madam Mary Broh, head of the General Service Agency (GSA), are all lining up their letters of resignation.

It can be recalled that the National Elections Commission (NEC) during the October 2017 general elections denied Abu Kamara (now Representative) from contesting that election due to his ministerial position in government.

The NEC argued that allowing him to contest would have been in violation of the National Code of Conduct.

“The decision to reject the petitioner candidacy was consistent with the new election law, the code of conduct and the candidate nomination regulation Article 3.3 subsection (a) May 6, 2016, Article 3.3 subsection (a) mandates that all aspirants must meet the candidate eligibility criteria established in the Constitution and the election laws” said NEC legal counsel.

NEC asked the Supreme Court to take judicial notice of the petitioner admission that he is Assistant Minister of Post for Administration because all admissions made by a party himself or his agent acting within the scope of his authority are admissible as contained in the Civil Procedure Law 1L.CL Rev, tit 1section 25.8 (1973).

In its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the NEC’s decision and blasted Kamara’s lawyer, Cllr. Arthur Johnson for blatantly ignoring the law and failing to adequately advise his client.

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