By Mark Neywon Mengonfiafirstname.lastname@example.org
The National Elections Commission (NEC) has written members of the House of Representatives requesting for a meeting with that body for the intention of discussion for three additional by-elections. Earlier, the National Elections Commission wrote that body on February 4, 2021 as an official notification of a vacancy created by the election of Rep. Prince K. Moye of District number two, Bong County in compliance with Article 37 of the Constitution.
In their February 4, 2021 communication, the NEC informed the House of Representatives that the amount of US$455,000.00 was needed to run the elections for the emptiness left by former Deputy Speaker, Prince K. Moye. In a communication to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Cllr. Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, Chairperson of NEC’s Board of Commissioners, said the budget submission follows a communication received from the House of Representatives in keeping with Article 37.
Article 37 states “In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. I. Keeping with the Constitution and the new Elections law, Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”
Since the just ended December 8, 2020 senatorial elections, the total of three By-elections have been announced by the National Elections Commission. The first one that was announced was the one in Bong County and the amount attached to said election is US$455,000.00. Since the first announcement of the first By-election, many Liberians have considered as expensive. The National Elections Commission decided to meet the body in camera maybe to save their face for public criticism. After the communication was read on the floor of the Plenary of the House of Representatives, a motion was raised by Moimah B. Mensah of Bong County seeing the NEC and them [House of Representatives members] meet in secret session [executive] next week Tuesday.
With the current amount announced by NEC that they needed US$455k for a district, it means that the NEC will need the total of US$1,365,000.00 and if Representative Jeremiah Koung of Nimba wins the case that is in court, it means that the total amount for the four by-elections will be US$1,820,000. Tuesday’s meeting with members of the House of Representatives in executive will determine the total money needed for the first three By-elections.