-If Elections Law is not amended
Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe has added his voice to many other voices suggesting that there might be a crisis in 2023 if certain provisions in the Elections Law of Liberia are not reformed or amended.
Speaking on a local radio program last week the Bomi lawmaker said the numerous post-election dispute cases in the country hinder the country’s Legislative functions, more so when there is no quorum at either of the two Houses to discuss serious national issues.
“I think it is a good idea to emulate from Ghana, Sierra Leone and other countries. Those who emerge as winners should immediately be granted the permission to take up seats at their respective elective offices. Whoever has a concern against any winner should go to court.
“And, if he or she wins the person said to have won earlier, he or she (the true winner) should be allowed to take office while the loser steps aside,” Snowe said.
He added: “The recent election in Ghana, I mean December 7, 2020 Presidential election in Ghana, former President John Mahama went to the Supreme Court of Ghana and complained but that did not stop the inauguration of President Nana Akufo Addo. The same thing happened in Sierra Leone and as time went by, those cases were heard by their respective courts and decisions reached.”
Snowe said the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia is usually overwhelmed with lots of post elections’ cases simply because losers take advantage of the law and intentionally waste the Commission’s time, the Supreme Court’s time as well as their opponents who emerge winners’ time.
“NEC has a very limited time to take care of all of the cases that come after elections are held. And, the reform we are seeking, if accepted, will pass on the torch of investigation of elections cases from the Commission to an agreed-upon court,” he explained.
He noted that a joint resolution is expected to be passed by both Houses of the Legislature in order to extend the time beyond the constitutional time for all by-elections after elections are held and certain officials are elected to new offices, resigned or died.
“By law, it should be ninety days for a by-election to be held through a notification from either of the two Houses, depending on where the vacancy is found, but for this time, it is not possible because of the huge delay the litigations that followed after the Special Senatorial election and the Representative by-elections in Montserrado and Sinoe,” Snowe said.
He further disclosed that the Legislature will work with the Law Reform Commission (LRC), the NEC and all other stakeholders in making the reforms to the country’s Elections Law.
The Bomi County Senator said most of the cases filed against winners of elections in the country are not worth the time given them, more so when the winners are being denied the chance to get to work immediately upon the announcement of results by the NEC.
Senator Snowe told his interviewers that he is doing all he can to take Bomi to a new level in its development drive.
“My focus is to work for the people of Bomi. Elections are over and my focus is to work with anyone who is open to invest in Bomi and help improve the lives of the people of that county,” he said.
According to Snowe, Bomi is today among the least developed counties simply because people from there who had better chances to have helped did not do anything.
“Alex Tyler was Speaker for ten years; former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hails from Bomi and a number of other high ranking government officials I can go on naming but they did not work together for the common good of Bomi.
“They fought against each other all the years and can only point to projects financed by the County development funds, nothing more,” he alleged.
Snowe, one of Liberia’s longest serving public officials said he owes no political party loyalty because they campaigned against his election for both the House of Representatives and the Senate, even though they failed at each of the two attempts.
He said the people of Bomi voted him into office, beginning with the House of Representatives in protest of former President Sirleaf, former Speaker Tyler and all others who have had the opportunities to develop Bomi but refused to do.
“This is why I said that Bomi will make President Weah happy in 2023 if he makes Bomi happy now. And, for sure, if he builds better market halls for my people, conditions the roads and help support the hospital, I will do all I can to support his second Presidential bid,” Snowe averred.
He added that an assessment is already ongoing for the construction of new housing units and First Lady, Clar Marie Weah has committed herself to developing Blue Lake in order to attract tourism to Bomi.
“My friendship with Weah and Musa Bility is beyond politics. This is why I don’t care about the noise out there. We came a long way and that remains as it is, even though I am not part of his political party,” Snowe concluded.