Liberia: Sen. Darius Dillon Threatens to Resign if 2020 Mid-Term Election is Delayed
MONROVIA – Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon has promised to resign his post as senator if the constitutional date for the 2020 senatorial mid-term election is postponed.
In an interview with the Voice Of America (VOA), he expressed fear that from the look of things there are possibilities that the Constitution would be violated because, according to him, preparations for the 2020 senatorial elections are yet to begin.
Dillon who is in the United States holding town-hall meetings with Liberians living in the US said, “our work with our people will determine whether you will win elections I want to work for my people and leave the decision with them”.
He added: “From the look of things we may be violating our Constitution again in 2020 by not conducting elections on time. I want to state on the records if we reach October of 2020 and the government attempts to violate the Constitution by not holding the election in the name of ‘No money’. I will resign as Senator because I don’t want to sit one day outside of the Constitution and if the Government sees it fit to hold elections subsequently, I will be on the ballot but I will not sit one day outside the Constitution.
“A visionary people will begin to prepare for next year’s elections. When you have by-elections from the cause of death those are unexpected but when the Constitution sets the time frame for elections like 2020, we must prepare for those elections beginning now. We need to start mobilizing the Elections Commission beginning now rather than wait until then.”
We will not use civil servants’ salary to fund elections
Recently, Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning expressed doubt about sourcing money to fund the mid-term senatorial election and has also promised that money generated as civil servant salary will not be used to fund the electoral process.
Appearing on state radio (ELBC) on Monday, November 4, 2019 the Finance Minister said, the Government of Liberia will not affect its already struggling payroll to fund elections as much as the election is important.
“From the look of things we may be violating our Constitution again in 2020 by not conducting elections on time. I want to state on the records if we reach October of 2020 and the government attempts to violate the Constitution by not holding election in the name of ‘No money’. I will resign as Senator because I don’t want to sit one day outside of the Constitution and if the Government sees it fit to hold elections subsequently, I will be on the ballot but I will not sit one day outside the Constitution.– Abraham Darius Dillon, Senator, Montserrado County
“We need to find resources, we have balanced the payroll and want to pay regularly. We are not going to affect the payroll because of elections. We will not take civil servant pay to fund elections if that will mean I am no more Minister Finance, so be it.
“We will have elections but that means we will have to find the money to do that. We are working on a lot of ways for money to come in. If some of that money comes in, it will be used to fund elections. Elections funding is a major process. We could rephrase some of the budget line items so the money that should be going to agriculture in the budget will be affected.
“This election is a major one but I am only flagging some of the major challenges the government is faced with.”
Fifteen senators are expected to go for re-election in 2020 in keeping with the constitutional provision. Finance minister Tweah was careful not to state the amount of money needed for the elections but confirm it will cost a lot of money.
While on the VOA, Dillon also said that there is no emergency that warrants President George Weah requesting the legislature to return. According to him, printing additional money is not an emergency and he does not support doing so because there has not been proper accountability for the previous monies printed and used to mop up the economy.
He also criticized the country Judiciary System by describing it as a “weak judicial system” and blamed it for the slowdown of investors’ interest to come to Liberia and invest in the country’s economy.