The Government of Liberia yesterday, October 1, released US$1.2 million to authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct the pending Representative and Senatorial by-elections in Montserrado Electoral District #13 and Sinoe County.
NEC chairman, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, who informed journalists yesterday in Monrovia, expressed the Commission’s gratitude to the government for the “timely disbursement” of the funds and assured the country of NEC’s preparedness to deliver on its mandate.
“I am pleased to announce that the Government has paid to the NEC the sum of US$1.2 million. This amount represents the total cost for the two pending by-elections,” Korkoya said.
A vacancy at the House of Representatives in Montserrado Electoral District #13 became necessary when then Representative Saah Joseph contested and won the Montserrado County Senatorial by-elections on July 31, thereby replacing then Senator George Weah (now President of Liberia) at the Senate. Joseph received the majority vote against seven other contestants, including popular DJ Bernard Blue Benson, who came second.
Sinoe County’s Senatorial vacancy came when President Weah appointed then Senator Joseph Nagbe to replace retired Associate Justice Philip A. Z. Banks on the Supreme Court Bench.
Another vacancy created by the election of then Senator of Bong County, Jewel Howard Taylor to the office of Vice President brought to the Senate former Internal Affairs Minister, Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa after winning the by-election that also included four other contenders.
About events leading to the two by-elections, Korkoya said the nomination of candidates began on Monday, September 24, and will end on the October 6.
“Currently, seven independent aspirants have picked up nomination packages for Montserrado County District #13 Representative by-election,” Korkoya said.
He added that a total number of nine political parties (not named) have also picked up nomination packages for both by-elections.
He said that on October 8, the Commission will publish a provisional list of candidates for the two pending by-elections.
“The replacement of lost voter registration (VR) cards started yesterday, October 1, in Sinoe and Montserrado counties and will end on Friday, October 5,” Korkoya said.
He said that all those wishing to replace their VR cards should go to the NEC Brewerville (for Montserrdo) and Greenville, Sinoe County Magisterial offices.
He frowned on all those who are reportedly campaigning in total disregard for the calendar of events leading to the two by-elections as arranged by the Commission.
“In line with Section 5.2 Sub-Section 2 b, c and d of the Election Regulations and Guidelines, political campaigns for the By-Elections will start on Wednesday, October 17, and will end on November 18,” Korkoya said.