MOVEE Questions Sources of Campaign Financing

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Mills Jones.jpg
MOVEE political leader, Dr. J. Mills Jones

Demands NEC’s prompt response to election irregularities, harmful effect of CoC, high incidence of invalid votes, other problems impacting election process

The Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) has raised serious concerns on what it calls questionable sources of campaign financing and the misuse of public resources, which it said created an uneven playing field in the first round of the presidential and legislative elections.

In a statement yesterday, the party said this situation raises the question of the fairness of the electoral process and called on the NEC to provide a definitive report on financing and spending by political parties.

MOVEE said the introduction of the Code of Conduct (CoC) by the Unity Party-led Government was not in the spirit of inclusiveness and fairness.

“The entire process was disruptive, targeted and tantamount to abuse of power and done to the extent of skirting around the spirit and intent of the Constitution of the Republic,” the party said.

MOVEE noted that the CoC harmed the electoral process and, in particular, created an uneven playing field for MOVEE, whose standard-bearer was its reported principal target.

“Not only was it offensive to the doctrine of democratic participation, the Code ultimately beclouded the minds of our supporters and well-wishers with uncertainties, adversely impacting the performance of our party.

“The electoral process, therefore, cannot be considered as fair because of the adverse effects on supporters and well-wishers of MOVEE and its standard bearer from the very start of the electoral process,” the party said. “MOVEE has a strong auxiliary support base that at least registered 300,000 members in its database. Our registered partisans processed ID cards, and exceeded 200,000 so that means we had about half a million members and well-wishers in our database.”

The reported 12, 800 votes in favor of Dr. Jones, the release said, is less than 3 percent of the number in the party’s database.

“This is a record of the unidirectional change of mind of potential voters over a relatively short period of time. While this may be possible, the question is, how probable is it? The concern of MOVEE is heightened by the high incidents of irregularities reported by a number of other parties and stakeholders.

“These allegations of irregularities included poor management and inefficiencies that hang over the integrity and credibility of the electoral process,” the release said.

It added: “MOVEE is particularly disturbed by the report of the emotional stress of voters in locating polling places, problems causing some voters to walk away without voting and challenges faced by the elderly, physically challenged and pregnant women.

“Also there are reports of stolen ballot boxes, mix-matched tally sheets, and poor lightning. There were also an unprecedented number of more than 88,000 invalid votes.”

These issues should be addressed immediately by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and all other arms of the government of Liberia with jurisdiction over electoral related complaints, the party said.

MOVEE also said that it is regrettable that more than half of a million registered voters did not participate in the elections.

The party, meanwhile, congratulated its partisans for the overwhelming turnout, which demonstrated the commitment to build a culture of democracy based on transparency, fairness, inclusiveness, and accountability, all of which bring credibility to the electoral process.

“We thank the international community including, but not limited to, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU), the People’s Republic of China, etc., for the support of the electoral process,” the statement concluded.

5 COMMENTS

  1. MOVEE’s alarm regarding especially sources of the unusual financial chests of some political parties in this election should not be taken lightly. It needs to be thoroughly investigated and those who have violated the campaign finance regulation ought to be penalized accordingly. Where did these parties get these huge sums of monies from all of a sudden? The electoral laws of Liberia spell out specifically how much a party or candidate can spend in canvassing for any office from representative to president. The primary reason for this is to ensure a leveled playing field for all, but most especially as one way of safeguarding against candidates stealing from the public coffers to finance some of these campaigns. In that same vein, the election laws frown on, or prohibits the injection of funds from especially foreign sources. At the promulgation of those laws the fact is that not many Liberians were residing abroad as we have today, which makes that specific portion of the laws dubious. But by the same token it does not negate the need to safeguard against the infusion of foreign monies to parties or candidates in order to influence the election in their favor and for the obvious quid pro quo at the end of the day. So the NEC needs to investigate the sources of these huge financial outlays by certain parties as evidenced by the fleet of vehicles purchased, motorbikes, etc. These are some of the very factors that usually make it difficult for parties in election disputes to cooperate or reconcile easily. When the ability to make a simple decision no longer rests with them solely, but with those external interests they are now beholden or indebted to. So we join MOVEE in the call to investigate these campaign finances AMD let the violators of the law pay whatever the consequence.

  2. Money from the Central Bank was used, through Dee Maxwell and the Liberian Business Association, to run MOVEE’s political operation. Most Liberians are of the misconception that Mills Jones is a poverty doctor, but all the money was given to Dee Maxwell when he was president of the Liberian Business Association to form MOVEE, become party chairman and oversee its operations. How could an IMF, World Bank, Central Bank official associate himself with a small time crook- Dee Maxwell? Now he is crying foul?

  3. Once the irregularities are taking root, it is not a guarantee that the run-off will be fair, free,
    democratic and transparent. Therefore, let Liberia do an honour thing this time for the world
    to see that the people, the Liberians are not fool. Cancel the entire elections, remove the
    Chairman of the elections and some senior staff who were involved in turning away legally
    registered voters but only allow voters for George Weah simply because President Ellen
    Johnson-Sirleaf told them at a private meeting at her private home to go that route.

  4. The next government should overhaul the NEC and put in a credible team of officials.
    This election is over.
    Where was the Constitution when Movee was using public office and public funding to campaign for the presidency when campaign season was not announced?

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