-Ahead of Senatorial By-election
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The National Code of Conduct has again resurfaced in the country ahead of the impending senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties respectively.
members of the current Supreme Court Bench
The National Code of Conduct became one of the controversial issues in the 2017 legislative and presidential elections in the country which created serious debates across the country.
Part 5.1(V) of the National Code of Conduct (political Parties) forbids all officials appointed by the president from engaging in political activities, canvassing for elected offices, use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities and serve on a campaign team of any political party or the campaign of any independent candidate.
The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land caused confusion in the country when it cleared then Vice presidential candidates and presidential candidate, Harrison Karnwea of the Liberty Party, Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) and Dr. J. Mills Jones of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) of not being in violation of the National Code of Conduct.
By then, Harrison Karnwea has just resigned his post as Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh has just returned from the United States of America (USA) as Liberia’s Ambassador respectively.
This was also experienced with then Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones who later contested on the ticket of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) as its presidential candidate after resigning his post in less than two years.
At the same time, government officials were seemed all over the country using government vehicles, properties campaigning for their candidates in clear violation of the National Code of Conduct without remorse.
The National Legislature/Capitol Building
In an effort to prevent this ahead of the impending senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties, Margibi County electoral district#3 Representative Ellen Attoh has written the plenary of the House of Representatives seeking that body attention to its oversight responsibility to subsequently invite the National Elections Commission (NEC) to provide clarity on the code of conduct which she said brewed legal controversy during the presidential and legislative elections in 2017.
Representative Attoh reminded her colleagues that as the nation gears for the upcoming senatorial by-elections, the National Elections Commission (NEC) clothed with the authority of conducting elections must properly articulate its position on the matter to avoid conflicts or legal wrangling.
As a testament of legality of the code of conduct, all public officials and employees of the three branches of the Liberian Government and its bodies has been established that part X: Declaration and Registration of Personal Interests, Assets and Performance/Financial bonds, section 10.1 declaration of assets or performance bonds, must be adhered to.
“Honorable Speaker, as we witness adherence to the declaration of assets by public officials, we must also be witnesses to the rule of law by adherence to Part V: political parties 5.1,” she said.
Following the reading of the communication and deliberations, it was agreed by majority members in session during the 20th day sitting of the House of Representatives to work to ensure the actualization of the rule of law.