Monrovia – The standard bearer of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Weah, has called on his colleagues wishing to contest in the upcoming elections to respect the law, despite being rejected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for alleged breach of the Code of Conduct.
The football legend turned Senator, spoke to FrontPageAfrica Friday when he presented his party’s nominations to the NEC.
“Every competition I have participated in my life, I have encouraged participation, not elimination. But be as it may, the law is the law and let the legal people do their work,” he said.
Sen. Weah and his running mate, Jewel Howard Taylor, stand clean in the face of the contentious sections of the National Code of Conduct.
Harrison Karnwea who was nominated as vice standard bearer of the Liberty Party two weeks after his resignation as Managing Director of the Forestry Development Agency (FDA) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United States and the Americas, Jeremiah Sulunteh, were rejected by NEC Friday morning.
They were the second batch of nominees to be rejected by the electoral body.
Former Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and leader of the Movement for Economic Empower (MOVEE) is yet to present to the electoral body his party’s nominations.
However, it is likely that his nomination as standard bearer of MOVEE would be rejected.
Dr. Jones served his full two terms at CBL before leaving office last year.
He had always promised to resist the Code of Conduct, despite it being upheld by the Supreme Court.
Jones in March this year told his supporters, “We will resist that law, we don’t care whether it was approved by the Court of Pontius Pilate”
“I will contest and nothing can stop me from being a candidate in the elections come 2017,”he said.
Jones and Karnwea have both argued that they never expressed interest to contest in any election while they were actively serving their appointed positions.
Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct that provides 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 parties or political activities.
The CoC also states that such persons cannot (c) Serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaigns of any independent candidate.
Section 5.2 says “Wherein any person in the category stated in section 5.1 desires to canvass or contests 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 Director, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two years prior to the date of such public election.
“(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 years prior to the date of such public election.
“(c) However, in the case of impeachment, death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official listed above desirous of canvassing or contesting to fill such position must resign said post within thirty days, following the declaration of the National Election Commission (NEC) of the vacancy.
Meanwhile, the NEC is to file its response to a Writ of Prohibition on the electoral process to the Supreme Court on Monday.
Abu B. Kamara who is aspiring to contest Montserrado County 15 District seat but was rejected by NEC for breaching the CoC petitioned the country’s highest court to put a stay order on the process and have the NEC reverse its decision, which he believes was not done in accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court in March this year ruled the Code of Conduct as a legal after it was challenged by Bong County Superintendent, Selena Mappy-Polson, who thought it trampled upon her constitutional rights.
In a related development, the opposition Liberty Party in a statement late Friday condemned what it described as dangerous trend developing ahead of the upcoming elections.
The party accused the elections commission of being in tandem with the ruling Unity Party to sabotage the upcoming elections.
“The apparent joint decision from the National Elections Commission and the Unity Party has made headlines on the news outlets across the country, most notably, the National Broadcaster – ELBC and yet, the UP-NEC decision is yet to be communicated to the Liberty Party.”
The party added: “The dangerous trend of party-controlled Elections Commission, raises fundamental concerns about what lies ahead in this crucial electioneering period.
We regrettably request the Public and the international community to take note at this time that the integrity and credibility of the elections commission has been brought into question which could have far-reaching consequences if it is not brought to a check immediately. Liberty Party condemns in the strongest term this latest development- the misfeasance and impartiality of the NEC.
The Liberty Party awaits a formal communication from the National Elections Commission which will give rise to an additional response by the party.