Following former Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan’s recent resignation, a pro-democracy group, the Movement for Democratic Initiative (MDI), says that the reason Ngafuan cited for his resignation — adherence to the Naitonal Code of Conduct — was received with dismay and a cause for concern.
In a statement issued yesterday, the MDI said it feels “very sorry for Liberia – at this stage of the country’s underdevelopment — that our lawmakers with the support of the Executive will deliberately pass a law that is divisive and discriminatory; and expect rational thinkers and people who want to see this country prosper in every sphere of its national life to remain silent and allow chaos to prevail.”
Mr. Ngafuan stated that his decision for resigning at this time is in obedience to the law (Code of Conduct) passed by members of the National Legislature mandating all officials appointed by the President to resign their posts at least two years prior to elections if they desire to contest for public office.
The MDI said while in Mr. Ngafuan mentioned not fully concurring with some of the provisions in the Act of the legislature prescribing a national Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees, especially Part five on political participation, he went ahead and resigned his post.
The MDI sees this as a clear contradiction on the part of Mr. Ngafuan; his words and action do not match; and his resignation leaves the MDI to believe that Mr. Ngafuan can no longer be trusted with any position of trust in the country.
From a rational point of view, MDI statement said “no one who has the desire to participate in a process would want to deprive himself or herself from serving the very people he or she wants to lead as two years prior to the process. We at the MDI are of the strongest conviction that there are so many persons presently serving the Liberian people through different positions; and have vested interest in contesting for positions; and participating actively in the 2017 General and Presidential Elections, but have not resigned; and will not resign as resigning will breathe life or give undue credence to the Code of
Conduct, which is not only divisive and discriminatory in nature, but unconstitutional and unenforceable.”
“The question is; will these people be disqualified under such unconstitutional and discriminatory law? Or will they be allowed to participate in the electoral process which is their constitutional right?
“The obvious answer to such question is that every Liberian, regardless of class or status has equal right under the Liberian Constitution to participate in political activities at every level. Though deliberate; it is very much unfortunate that the Constitutional provision of equal right for every Liberian to participate in political activities at every level was ignored on purpose by the very crafters of the “so called” Code of Conduct; an action which in itself is unconstitutional,” MDI said.
“To have a law that deprives a certain Liberian from serving his or her country two years prior to elections because of a desire to contest political office is tantamount to violation of their rights as enshrined in the Liberian Constitution; therefore Liberians must stand up against such law and hold our lawmakers and the Executive Branch of Government accountable if anything goes wrong in this country.”
“Let’s look at the meaning of desire as stated in the Code of Conduct: a desire is not determined by anyone in relation to another person unless such desire is expressed by the one who has the desire. How then can you place a timeline on a particular person or group of people serving in specific capacities to express a desire with a time frame attached? Isn’t this in itself so discriminatory; and having a person like former Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan to succumb and acknowledge such law speaks to his unserious nature and anxiety to ascend to political office at the expense of the Liberian Constitution.
“We must learn lessons from our brutal past history and initiate measures that would pave the way to a brighter future for this country rather than support a law that will set a bad precedence; and violate the constitutional right of any one individual or group of people. This is counter-productive to our hard earned fragile peace and stability.
“It is disheartening and unfortunate that the Executive and Legislative Branches of government could plan and design such a divisive law only geared toward their own selfish and individual political interest to the extent of disregarding the organic laws of the land.
“It is however left to the Judiciary Branch to determine the unconstitutionality of such law; and prevent it from taking roots; especially so as there is a pending case challenging this law before the Supreme Court to determine it authentication,” MDI statement said.