The Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoyah, has warned all political parties not to engage in pre-election campaign activities.
Cllr. Korkoyah’s warning came yesterday at the NEC headquarters in Monrovia during the accreditation of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
The Coalition of Democratic Change comprises the Congress for Democratic Change, (CDC), National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP). The coalition was organized in Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 2, 2016.
“We have noticed that some of you politicians as well as your political institutions have already begun campaigning before the official set (period) of August 8 to October 8, 2017. It is to our knowledge that you have your placards, billboards and other campaign materials already displayed at several corners and streets of our country.
“Therefore, as the Commission accredits this Coalition today let me not reserve the wish of the Commission to say clearly that you must stop now until authorized by the NEC as dated in our timeline to the general and presidential elections,” Cllr. Korkoyah warned.
The NEC boss said the Commission is the only constitutional authority that has the mandate to declare any activity leading to elections opened. Cllr. Korkoyah also warned all politicians, independent or from political parties, to be mindful of their utterances as NEC goes on with its work as provided for by law.
“Most politicians in this country are not even familiar with the workings of the NEC but are very good at criticizing it. If you don’t have any proof on an alleged irregularity carried out by this Commission, keep quiet,” he said warning that, “violators will be penalized by the Commission as called for by its policies and regulations.”
Handing over the certificate of accreditation to the Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Cllr. Korkoyah said as a body composed of three political parties, CDC should be responsible in everything it does and exercise the willpower to deter unruly conducts of its followers.
“As your coalition is the first major coalition up for the 2017 elections, I admonish you the leaders to do as much as it is worthy, most especially in the interest of peace, to curtail or if possible completely sanction disorderliness and any other act that threatens our peace as a nation,” Cllr. Korkoyah said.
He added that there is no need for anyone to fear that as head of NEC he will be pulled or moved by anything or force to tamper with the 2017 elections.
“Considering the fact that the 2017 elections are more crucial than we all can even imagine, let me assure all of you here and every citizen outside of this hall today that we will remain independent as provided for by law and make sure that the right things are done to safeguard our democracy,” he vowed.
Speaking after receiving the certificate of accreditation, the Chairman of the CDC, Mr. Nathaniel McGill, said the doubt held by the majority of the country’s eligible voters on the possibility of his party agreeing to form a strong coalition has been dismissed and they are ready to mutually work together.
“Reflecting on the fact that the last democratic transition we had in this country was in 1944 when President Edwin Barclay turned state power over to President William V. S. Tubman, we are prepared in our workings to ensure that this is realized,” Mr. McGill stated.
He said because the CDC, National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) as a coalition believes in the rule of law and desires to see democratically an end to the Unity Party rule in the country, they have agreed to work with the same political ideologies.
Mr. McGill meanwhile called on all donors wishing to support the NEC as it carries out its job to directly give all funds to NEC rather than passing the funds through any other institution, including the government.
“As we thank you Mr. Chairman and your hard working colleagues and staff for the proper conduct of this accreditation ceremony, let me be clear in saying that we are supporting you in all your operations.
“We are calling on you to engage UNMIL to lend its logistical and other support to the election process. Knowing that the United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of UNMIL, they are part of the process and should therefore not be left out,” he advised.
Mr. McGill thanked Senators George M. Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor as well as Rep. J. Alex Tyler for their leadership roles in making sure that the coalition is a success.
Hundreds of partisans of the three political parties were seen jubilating with slogans such as “the UP dynasty must come to an end, we will teach them lessons.”