By R. Joyclyn Wea
The chairman of the Law Reform Commission (LRC), Cllr. Boakai Kanneh wants the National Code of Conduct (NCOC) repeal and a new Code of Conduct for public officials and employees of government enacted.
According to Cllr. Kanneh, the amendment of the 2014 Code of Conduct law will guarantee public appointees to stand for election through leave of absence as provided for in the “civil service standing order” instead of full resignation.
The LRC Executive spoke recently at a day-long stakeholders’ national conference on electoral reform organized by the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
He said the COC when repealed will be implemented to the fullest and will not target certain individuals.
Cllr. Kanneh further emphasized that, this would serve as a useful tool in guiding the nation towards a rigorous and effective electoral reform adding “this recommendation must be given consideration.”
He noted that there should be a guideline set thus recognizing the Legislature what’s the focus of all reforms in the Country, should ensure the National Elections Commission (NEC) implement such.
The code of conduct was passed into law few months to the conduct of the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia; the same being the last year in Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s reign as head of State of Liberia.
It was developed pursuant to both the constitutional requirement and tenets of “Good Governance” for the creation of diligent and disciplined corps of public officials and employees of Government
The purpose was to among other things, set out standards of behavior, and conduct required of public officials and employees of Government, it guides, regulates, and ensure compliance with the norms and behaviors required of all public officials and employees of government.
It was designed to be implemented, to ensure impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness in the performance of their duties and mandates.
This instrument was considered to many during the 2017 elections as a witch hunt to get at certain group of people or individuals within government who expressed their desire to partake in said process.
Some people were denied from contesting the Presidential and Legislative elections in 2017 because they allegedly went against some provisions within the COC while others in violation were allow to contest in the same election.
Several provisions within the COC were down-played by the National Elections Commission following series of lawsuits against her by some of those candidates who were denied by the commission on grounds that they did not act within the confine of the law (COC).
Cllr. Kanneh believes when repealed, the new law will resolve or ratify some of the missteps within the COC in a way it wouldn’t look like attacking individuals.