GC Somersaults on Code of Conduct

Says it can’t subvert any law

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After stern resistance from the public, the Governance Commission (GC) has withdrawn recommendations to the Supreme Court and the National Elections Commission (NEC) regarding the suspension of some provisions of the Code of Conduct, stating that GC will not subvert any law in the country.

It may be recalled that the head of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos Sawyer, recommended that Part V Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct “be considered inapplicable” to the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

Cllr. Bornor Varmah, Program Manager of the Governance Commission (GC), said his appearance at the Information Ministry press briefing was to provide clarifications on Dr. Sawyer’s call on the Supreme Court and the NEC to declare certain provisions in the Code of Conduct inapplicable.

He said: “Prior to the court’s decision on the Code of Conduct, and because we were approaching the electoral process and given the mandate to lead the reform process by law, we had to recommend in the absence of the clear position of the law. We decided that these provisions be inapplicable because of the doubts and no defined position on this matter. With the court’s position on March 3, we now stand by the law on the Code of Conduct.

“We have been engaged with the NEC on some of the issues, including logistics, capacity of the magistrates and those who conduct our elections and how prepared they are to conduct elections.

“The GC remains respectful to the role of the Supreme Court, which is very much cardinal, because if there are constitutional matters arising in the process, it is only the Supreme Court that Liberians will run to for solution.”

Cllr. Varmah explained that the commission will not undermine any Liberian law. “We don’t want to see a situation that the court will be taking 10 months to come out with its ruling especially on electoral matters, which may be counterproductive to the stability of the country.”

The GC’s recommendation was part of several made to the Supreme Court of Liberia and the NEC in its 2016 Annual Report released recently on the pending October 2017 elections.

“Thus far, from seeing the elections as a sanitized process, the report considers the elections as building blocks upon which Liberia should advance to another level of inclusive, participatory, transparent and accountable governance, capable of delivering increased public goods and services in partnership with the Liberian people and international partners,” the GC report noted.

In addition to the suspension of Sections 5.1 and 5.2 for the election, the GC had also recommended the declaration of the 10-year residency clause of the Constitution for presidential hopefuls inapplicable.

Alvin Worzi is a Liberian journalist with over seven years of professional experience. For the past few years, he has been engaged in covering land issues, security, education, gender related issues, politics, and agriculture. Mr. Worzi is currently the Assistant Secretary General of the Executive Mansion Press Corps (conglomeration of reporters assigned at the Executive Mansion). Mr. Worzi is a member of the Press Union of Liberia.

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