12 candidates vie for Senate seats in Bong, Montserrado
Authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday announced July 2 as the date commencing campaigning for the pending Senatorial by-elections in Bong and Montserrado counties respectively.
Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya, NEC chairman, told journalists that the campaign timeline, including the period of campaign in the two counties, begins as of July 2, and will end at midnight, July 19.
Korkoya said campaign “candidates are advised to go about their campaigning in a peaceful manner in keeping with laws of Liberia, and more specifically, those controlling the electoral process.”
He said NEC, having received a Joint Resolution (LEG-003/2018) from both Houses of the Legislature to set up a new date for the conduct of the delayed Senatorial by-election, deemed it fit that July 31 be the day to execute the electoral mandate as provided for by law.
“In keeping with Section 1 of said Resolution, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved that the by-elections be conducted no later than July 31, 2018,” Korkoya said.
With regard to the arrival of prepacked electoral materials in keeping with the needs of the Commission, Korkoya said, 80 percent of the prepacked materials (ink, pads, records notebooks and presiding officers’ worksheets,) were brought into the country on Sunday, July 1, while the remaining 20 percent of those materials will arrive in the country before July 7.
M-Tosh, a Liberian media and printing company, which cried foul at a bidding process during last year’s presidential and legislative elections, including the December 26, 2017, presidential runoff election, was awarded the contract to bring in the prepacked materials. It was not revealed, however, whether the contract award was vetted by the Public Procurement Contracts Commission(PPCC) as required by law.
It can be recalled that in previous cases such as the printing contract awarded to the La Cape Printing Press, and the logistics contract awarded to the Efficient Logistics did not meet PPCC approval which, according to sources was in violation of the law although the NEC leadership was not sanctioned by then President Sirleaf for breach of PPCC regulations.
As for the upcoming by-elections, Korkoya expressed the Commission’s gratitude to the Liberian government and partners for ensuring that the targeted amount of money has been met.
“We are pleased to inform you that the government has made an allotment of US$690,526. This amount has now brought government’s contribution to US$2,200,464,” he said.
He added that NEC and government’s partners were instrumental in ensuring that US$577,465.45 was added to what government has offered the Commission for the conduct of the elections.
Meanwhile 12 candidates have been qualified in both counties to contest the senatorial race.
“In Bong County, we have vetted and qualified Josiah Marvin Cole, Fairnoh Theo Gbilah, Prince Togar Kollie, Henrinque Flomo Tokpa and Orando Koimene Zarwolo; while Bernard DJ Blue Benson, Jr., Josephine George Francis, Saah Hardy Joseph, Finley Y. Karngar, Mark Augustine Keshen, Yekeh Yarkpaworlue Kolubah and Michael Doe Tipayson, have been vetted and qualified for Montserrado County,” Korkoya said.
The upcoming Senatorial by-election is being delayed, because the Weah administration said earlier that spending US$3.9 million as requested for by the NEC was not necessary.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Samuel Tweah, said at a press gathering barely two months after President Weah ascended to power that spending US$3.9 million was a waste, because the mantra of the Weah-led government is pro-poor. The election should have been held in May as provided for by election law, which says the Legislature should inform NEC of any vacancy at either of the Houses and in 90 days NEC should conduct by-election for said vacancy created either by death, resignation or otherwise.