-To Avoid Future Political Tussles
By R. Joyclyn Wea
As the discussion surrounding law and electoral reforms continues in the Country, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is calling for the creation of the office of the Ombudsman as spoken of in the National Code of Conduct (COC) to avoid any future political tussles.
According to VP Taylor, it has been two years since the 53rd Legislature passed the COC into law, but the office of the ombudsman is yet to be setup as spelled out in the Act.
VP Taylor made the call over the weekend at event marking the celebration of the Liberia National Bar Association Law Day held at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.
The Liberian female Vice President Taylor, foresees a political tussle in the upcoming electoral processes if the office of the ombudsman is not established saying “At the end of the day who do we report these cases to. So, I believe the office of the ombudsman is a very critical office that could be established as per the law.”
VP Taylor further cautions the Liberia National Bar Association to begin to look at ways to amend the 2014 Code of Conduct (COC), which safeguards the movements and behaviors of officials of government and people vowing for public offices in Liberia.
She maintained “I look forward to amending some of the shortfalls within the Code of Conduct and the creation of the office of the Ombudsman where people can report cases of violation of the instrument as it arises.”
“It took us three years or more to get the Code of Conduct done. It is not a prefect document indeed, but a lot of things had changed since the code of conduct was tested. The Liberia National Bar Association after this day can begin to look at way of amending it because, at least after hundred and some more years the 53rd legislature did what the constitution had asked them to do,” Madam Howard-Taylor.
According to her, it is important for the LNBA to come up with different ways of looking at the laws that they (policy makers) create, even though the authority is upon the legislature to make laws.
“I think the LNBA in this critical time, cannot remain silence on the issues that seems to be destroying the country; their opinion must be made known,” Howard-Taylor.
The legislature is mandated in chapter IX, Article 90© of the constitution to provide a code of conduct for all public officials and employees stipulating the acts of conflict of interest or are against public policy, and the penalties therefore.
Notwithstanding, the foregoing mandate, it took the legislature twenty-eight years to enact the code of conduct. In 2014, the legislature passed the Code of Conduct and it was signed and approved by Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and subsequently published into handbills. This law lies dormant, remained non-operational.
In 2017, the constitutional year for Presidential and Legislative elections, the provisions of the 2014 Code of Conduct which affects political participation, gained life and vibrancy.
Its teeth and claws began to inflict pains and distress. The National Elections Commission gave strict summary implementation to relevant provisions of the code which required that government officials resign within a timeframe prior to the submission of an application to contest for an elective office.
Three presidential appointees covered by these provisions, challenged the constitutionality of section 5.1, 5.2, 5.9 and 15.1of the code of conduct and its enforcement and application by NEC. TNR