-On Issues Surrounding The Senatorial By-Elections
By T. Saye Goinleh
The Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) on Tuesday met with the National Election Commission (NEC) at her headquarters in Sinkor to enquire from them why they continue to remain silent on an apparent fragrant violation of the Liberian Constitution by Government not to conduct the impending bi-elections in Bong and Montserrado counties.
Participants at the LCC-NEC Meeting
Explaining the reason why the forum was called, the president of the LCC, Bishop Kortu K. Brown said his group has expected the parties to have commented on this matter since indeed the prescribed timetable to carry on the process has elapsed. According to Bishop Brown, it was predicated upon their long silence that the LCC has invited them to hear from them and the way forward.
The first person who provided a brief status of the bi-elections in the two counties was the chairman of the National Election Commission, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya who informed the gathering that the entire process has been halted because of lack funding from central government. He said despite the reduction in the budget put forth to government, what she promised has not even being provided in full.
Chairman Korkoya indicated that with all of these, and the Commission inability to carry out the various processes in conducting elections, the constitution has already been abrogated because of the ‘no-money syndrome’.
Speaking separately on behalf of their respective opposition parties, those officials who attended all alluded to the fact that the constitution of Liberia has grossly been infringed upon by the CDC administration for conspicuously defaulting on holding these by-elections in Montserrado and Bong counties.
- Q. Harris who was also at the meeting said as the result of the delay to carry out the elections, the constitution of the country has already been violated. He said he suspects what he referred to as ‘’credibility problem to the process’’ and thinks the delay is deliberately being calculated because somebody is comfortably seated somewhere and doesn’t cares, but not all about no money.
For his part, veteran Liberian politician and former Grand Kru County senator, Blamo Nelson said and suggested that he thinks the only way out of this crisis is for the President (Weah), as a Head of State to convene a special forum and be commissioned with a precise mandate to exercise the sovereign authority of the people as found in Article 1 of the Liberian constitution.
According to former Senator Nelson, this commissioned body will assume the power to set a new date for by-elections in the two counties because in his views, constitutionally these elections can’t be delayed until 2020 because it will be time that Liberians will go to vote for fifteen senators and not seventeen.
But reacting to this suggestion from Nelson, a stalwart of Liberty Party, Darius Dillon objected to the plan pointing out that it is under President Weah the organic law of the land has in his words, deliberately been violated and he should not be the one to constitute whatever forum to come up with a new date.
He said to prove clearly that there were plans to violate the constitution of Liberia, the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweh earlier remarked that the ‘’elections were unnecessary’’.
Other representatives of political parties who spoke said the constitution of Liberia has clearly been abrogated and no one can come up with a new time because thereafter a result is announced, it would be challenged in the court of law.
They pointed out that the only way out of the situation is for opposition political parties to issue a writ against the government and when judgment rendered the court can now set a new date which will be constitutional.
They accused the NEC of pleasing the government in requesting for funding for the elections. They explained that the National Elections Commission is not an NGO that will put forth a budget and just be reduced at will and even the amount assured cannot be made available.
Those opposition parties that attended the meeting were the Liberty Party (LP), the All Liberian Party (ALP), Congress for Democratic Action (CDA), The United People’s Party (UPP), Unity Party (UP), among others.
Religious leaders at the forum included Bishop Rudolph Marsh, Sr., President of the National Christian Council of Liberia (NCCL); Bishop Kortu K. Brown, President, Liberia Council of Churches (LCC); Bishop D. Jensen Seyenkolu, 1st Vice President, LCC and Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia; Rev. E. Aphanso Dean of the Christian Mission Assembly; Rev. Dr. Tolbert Jallah of Faith and Justice Network and other clergymen.