Liberty Party Campaign Executive Slams NEC, Legislature Over Karnwea’s Rejection
Monrovia – The Chief Executive Officer of the Liberty, Musa H. Bility, has slammed the National Legislature and the National Elections Commission (NEC) for disqualifying the party’s nominated vice standard bearer from contesting in the October 10 elections.
Report by Willie N. Tokpah – [email protected]
Harrison Karnwea was disqualified by NEC last Friday on grounds that he was barred by the Code of Conduct from contesting in the elections.
Also disqualified on the same grounds is the former Ambassador to America, Jeremiah Sulunteh, who was going as running mate to Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC).
So far, three persons have been barred on the same ground – Abu Kamara, a representative aspirant for Montserrado County District 15 being the first. He serves as Assistant for Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications.
Karnwea in contravention of Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the National Code of Conduct (CoC) was named as Vice Standard Bearer of the Liberty Party barely two months after his resignation as Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
Speaking on Truth FM on Monday, Bility said it was naive and out of order for Karnwea to be disqualified from contesting the pending elections.
“The lawmakers are confused over their responsibility and the law passed by the Legislature is a total naivety and out of order. It invalidates their work and they must be removed,” Bility said in a very strong tone.
The Code of Conduct has been passed into law by the Legislature and qualified by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
An amendment was again signed by the President, giving power to the election commissions to adjudicate elections matters in the Code of Conduct, instead of the office of Ombudsman.
But Bility believes said amendment by members of the Legislature has invalidated the office of the Ombudsman.
Instead of the NEC shouldering the responsibility of the amended sections, 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct, the Liberty Party steward argued that said provision should have remained untouched.
According to him, the Ombudsman must be used to implement the Code of Conduct.
The Liberty Party Campaign Chief Executive Officer pointed out that such law contravenes ECOWAS Protocol which speaks against any country making law six months to elections.
Bility told said his party’s vice presidential aspirant was not in violation of the Code of Conduct because he did not desire for the position of a running mate.
The Code of Conduct calls for public officials desiring to contest for public offices to resign two years prior to the declaration of their intent.
Bility disagrees with said portion of the CoC affecting vice presidential aspirants.
“The law says, for Karnwea to be held responsible, the moment he desires, he should resign. And he should desire and the desire must be proven.”
The Liberty Party Campaign Chair registered that the vice presidential slot is not an elected post and as such, Karnwea should be qualified to serve as running mate to Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine.
He expressed confidence of Karnwea’s qualification to serve as vice presidential candidate to Brumskine after the Supreme Court ruling.
At the same time, Bility has expressed skepticism over the National Elections Commission competence to conduct the upcoming elections credibly.
He further registered the Liberty Party’s move of complaining to the international community its distrust in the NEC, calling for a change of the hierarchies at the commission.
“We are going to write the international community that we have no confidence in the commission to control the election,” Bility asserted.
He noted that latest move by the NEC shows clear unfairness and favor to the ruling Unity Party.
According to him, it was because of the Unity Party, the National Elections Commission extended the candidate nomination exercise by additional 10 days.
Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission through its Communication Director Henry Flomo said the extension of the nomination period is not against the NEC guidelines.
According to Flomo, the NEC timetable is subject to changes and the entity’s Board accordingly saw the need for the extension.
He said the extension was to create room for more female participation in the elections.
“No one has influence over the NEC; the nomination process is being done by individuals and not political party. Why would he try to link the Unity Party to having influence over the NEC,” Flomo intoned.
Flomo maintained that Karnwea and others were disqualified by the NEC because they did not meet the requisite requirement to contest the elections.
The Communications Director noted that the NEC is strictly adhering to its guidelines.