-As NEC Postpones By-Elections To Time Indefinite
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced the postponement of the impending by-elections in Montserrado and Bong Counties to time indefinite, thereby leaving the entire process in limbo, something political pundits termed as ‘dangerous’ start for President George Weah’s administration.
Previously, the Finance Minister who has now termed into spokesman of the government once announced that the government was broke and the two by-elections were not significant to waste state’s resources.
At that press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Minister Samuel Tweah announced that the US$3.9million United States Dollars budget from the National Elections Commission (NEC) would be significantly reduced to US$2.7million.
It can be recalled the Liberian Senate, in keeping with the Constitution and its regulations informed the National Elections Commission (NEC) of vacancies within that body which was occasioned by the elections of current President and Vice President, Ambassador George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor respectively.
Making the disclosure Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at the NEC’s headquarters in Sinkor, NEC chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah said the NEC would not be able to conduct the upcoming by-election in both Montserrado and Bong Counties due to the lack of funding for the process.
“It will not be possible to do the by-elections within both Montserrado and Bong Counties within the constitutional time frame of ninety (90) days and this is as a result of financial reason,” chairman Korkoyah revealed.
Chairman Korkoyah stated that the three point nine million United Stated dollars (US$3.9m) budget submitted to central government by the NEC for the conduct of the by-elections, it was reduced to two point seven million United States dollars (US$2.7M) by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
Cllr. Korkoyah indicated that out of the reduced two point seven million United States dollars (US$2.7M) the government of Liberia has noted that it would only be able to provide one point eight million United Stated dollars (US$1.8M).
The NEC boss revealed that up to present, the government has only been able to make available the total of five hundred thousand United Stated dollars (US$500.000), an amount the NEC chairman terms as grossly in adequate to conduct the by-elections.
“As you will recall the commission earlier submitted the total of three point nine million United Stated dollars (US$3.9m) for the conduct of by-elections in the two counties. The government through the Ministry of Finance claimed that the amount was high. We contacted the legislature through the elections committees in both Houses and at the closed of those meeting, we agreed to cut down some of the activities and so the final figure agreed upon by the commission and the government through the Ministry of finance was two point seven million United States dollars (US$2.7M) and the government indicated that they will provide one point eight million United Stated dollars (US$1.8M),” chairman Korkoyah disclosed.
At the same time, chairman Korkoyah asserted that the commission made some representations to its partners in order to buttress its strength, adding that their partners were only able to make available the sum of five hundred thousand United Stated dollars (US$500.000).
Meanwhile, Chairman korkoyah indicated to journalists that in elections coast is raising by the total number of voters, thus, the two counties account for fifty percent (50%) of the total number of registered voters in the country.