According to MOVEE chairman Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, the fear by some politicians to face Dr. J. Mills Jones, the standard bearer of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), in the ensuing presidential and legislative elections has compelled his detractors to spread false and misleading campaigns that his presidential bid may have been extinguished by the March 3 ruling of the Supreme Court on the controversial Code of Conduct.
The MOVEE chairman said when the Supreme Court of Liberia came down with its first ruling in the Code of Conduct case filed by the Citizens Solidarity Council (CSC), some politicians and their surrogates came out with deliberate misinformation that Dr. J. Mills Jones’ presidential bid was over.
He said at that time, MOVEE informed its members that such misleading information was far from the truth, reassuring them that Dr. Jones would definitely contest for the presidency in October 2017.
In a position statement yesterday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, he said the Supreme Court’s March 3 ruling upholding Part V Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct’s exclusion rule against the candidacy of high government officials who did not resign from their positions within a given period of time before making their desire for public office, does not affect Dr. J. Mills Jones.
Kemayah noted that at no time did Dr. Jones challenge the Code of Conduct at the Supreme Court or any other court in Liberia, “because Dr. Jones has no reason to do so.”
He explained that since the passage into law of the Code of Conduct, some politicians and their surrogates have been trying very hard to associate it with Dr. Jones because he served as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), and is now standard bearer of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE).
“The detractors are insinuating that the political leader and standard bearer of MOVEE will be stopped from contesting the presidency of Liberia in the ensuing presidential elections in October 2017 as a result of the March 3, 2017 Supreme Court ruling on the Code of Conduct,” he said.
Part V sections 5.1 of the Code of Conduct states that “(a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections and any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three (3) years prior to the date of such public elections.”
Kemayah said the key phrase is “anyone who desires to contest for public elective office” and noted that it means any of those mentioned that would make known their “‘desire,’ meaning their yearning, longing, aspiring to contest for public elective office, which in this case Dr. Jones never expressed any ‘desire’ at any point in time when he served as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia to contest for public elective office.”
“It is very important to stress that whether or not the Code of Conduct is constitutional is immaterial to Dr. Jones. The fact is that after his invaluable and exemplary service at the Central Bank of Liberia as its Executive Governor, Dr. Jones got in the race today in response to the petition from the Liberian people,” he said.
Kemayah said Dr. Jones decided to honor the request of the Liberian people who petitioned him “of which he granted the desire of his petitioners, and indeed fulfilling their desire for him to serve as the standard bearer of MOVEE for the October 2017 general and presidential elections.”
“Nowhere in the Code of Conduct does it say that any Liberian or group of Liberians cannot request or petition a former public official to contest for a public elective office or that a former public official cannot accept the petition of Liberians to contest after leaving public office,” Kemayah added.
He said the Code of Conduct is not just about public officials resigning to run for elective office, but about a number of other ethical related issues, “nepotism for instance.”
On nepotism, Section 9.7: Nepotism states: “A Public Official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in a civilian or military position in the agency or branch of Government in which he or she is serving or have jurisdiction or control, any individual who is a Relative, as defined in Section 1.3.21 of this Code. An individual who is a Relative of a Public Official may not be appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in or to a military or civilian position in an agency or branch of Government if such appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement has been influenced or advocated by the Public Official.”
Kemayah said: “Unlike Dr. Jones, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her Administration in broad day light, without the least remorse, continues to blatantly violate the Code of Conduct in many aspects. For instance, President Sirleaf has unrestrainedly flooded this Government with her children, cronies and family members in high and strategic positions. Isn’t this a glaring violation of the Code of Conduct that warrants the impeachment of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as enshrined in Section 9.7 of the Code of Conduct?”
He warned Liberians to “be mindful of the unintended consequences from the misinformation being spread about Dr. Jones on the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Code of Conduct.”
Kemayah made it clear that Dr. J. Mills Jones will be on the ballot paper as a presidential candidate to contest the October 2017 elections “because he has not violated, and will not violate any part of the Constitution.”