Ahead of the already highly publicized Special Senatorial Election expected to take place on December 8 this year, Emmanuel Nuquay, head of Liberia Aviation Authority (LAA), has tendered in his resignation to President George Weah, his employer.
Nuquay, who ran as a vice standard-bearer on the ticket of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) in the 2017 representative and Presidential elections, got an immediate appointment in early 2018 from President George Weah to serve as head of LAA.
He is an executive member of the opposition People’s Unification Party (PUP) and served two terms as Representative for Margibi electoral District #5.
Margibi District #5 now has Clarence Gahr as its Representative following Nuquay’s participation in the 2017 elections as a vice standard-bearer to former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the former ruling Unity Party.
Nuquay became Speaker of the 53rd Legislature when former Speaker J. Alex Tyler was ousted through a political conspiracy tied to a Global Witness report alleging that he, Tyler, and Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County as well as several other top officials of the former ruling Unity Party government, took a bribe to circumvent the country’s mineral concession agreement law in order to award Wologisi Mountain, a rich range in Lofa County, to a foreign company.
When contacted, Presidential Press Secretary Solo Kelgbe, through a text message to the Daily Observer, said that President Weah respects the fundamental rights of every citizen and, as such, Nuquay has the right to do what is right in line with the law.
“The President respects the fundamental rights of every citizen, including Mr. Emmanuel Nuquay. As such, he wishes each and every one of those serving in his government success in their future endeavors. That’s the tenet and beauty of democracy,” Kelgbe said in his text.
Nuquay is the second in line following Foreign Affairs Minister Gbezohngar Milton Finley’s resignation recently to contest for the Senate seat in Grand Bassa County.
Nuquay has Margibi District #2 Representative Ivar Kokulo Jones, incumbent Senator Oscar Cooper and a few other names to contend with in the race come December 8.
The resignation of President Weah’s cabinet Ministers and directors to contest the pending Special Senatorial election is due to a code of conduct which calls for them to resign a time ahead if they are to be allowed to participate in the electoral processes of the country.
In part four of the Code of Conduct, political participation for all public officials occupying offices under the auspices of the Executive branch of government is discussed and, among several things, it says that all officials appointed by the President shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected posts.
“No one serving at the will and pleasure of the President in a cabinet or director position shall serve on a campaign team of any party or any independent candidate,” session “C” of 5.1 of the Code of Conduct says.
In session 5.2 (a), the Code of Code says, “Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to Article 56 of the Revised 1986 Constitution who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two years prior to the date of said public election.”
In the case of death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official appointed by the President and is desirous of contesting the vacant seat created by any of the conditions mentioned, shall resign within thirty days prior to the declaration by the National Elections Commission (NEC) of the vacancy.
Sadly, though, the Code of Conduct has not been respected in most cases, as with the 2017 Representative and Presidential elections, which set ugly precedence.
In 2017, former Forestry Development Authority Managing-Director Harrison Karnway was picked for the vice standard bearer position by the late Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party (LP) at a time not in the confines of the law, but the LP executives proceeded to the Supreme Court and came out with flying colors over the public’s expected results.
Same was done when the Alternative National Congress (ANC) standard-bearer, Alexander B. Cummings chose former Ambassador to the United States of America, Canada and Mexico, Jeremiah Sulunteh to contest as a vice standard-bearer in the same elections, although against the stipulated time spelled out within the Code of Conduct.