The House of Representatives Tuesday, August 12, overwhelmingly voted to summon authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to explain “why NEC failed to alert the Legislature about recommendations to postpone the Special Senatorial Election.”
In the wake of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus in Liberia, NEC recently recommended the postponement of the October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election.
According to NEC Chairman, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, NEC may be unable to deploy staff in the field to conduct civic/voter education as well as recruit and deploy 25,000 polling staff at polling centers in Liberia, and as such, postponing the poll was the best option available.
Chairman Korkoya said the Commission’s recommendation is also based on the fact that the Ebola outbreak would hinder the smooth conduct of campaign activities by candidates, who are desirous of contesting the election.
He said the health emergency in Liberia may affect the conduct of free, fair, transparent, and credible election come October.
Accordingly, NEC communicated said postponement to the appointing power, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to inform the high court about the inability of the Commission to run the election but failed to officially inform the Legislature.
In the wisdom of plenary, as the first branch of government, “NEC should have communicated with the Legislature any decision relative to changes in the pending election before the Executive or the Judiciary.”
President Sirleaf Tuesday informed the House of the postponement, requesting an audience or support in a decision to postpone the election.
Plenary took offense to that assertion, adding; “The President should not be the one informing us about this recommendation instead, that should be the work of the NEC.”
In keeping with their oversight responsibility, Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi made a motion to invite NEC Chairman Cllr. Korkoya to appear before the House on Thursday, August 14, in order to provide reasons “why up to present, NEC has not informed the Legislature of their (NEC) action.”
This will be Cllr. Korkoya’s second appearance before the House relative to the ensuing Special Election.
Cllr. Korkoya first appeared before the House early this year to justify why US$1.9 million was expended by the Commission for vehicles rental purposes.