Senatorial By-elections Campaigns Begin Today

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Cllr Korkoyah: “In keeping with Section 1 of said Resolution, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved that the by-election be conducted no later than July 31, 2018.”

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.

Authors

5 COMMENTS

  1. How about the census that was supposed to be held this year as a constitutional mandate, that’s not “relevant,” too? We elected senators and representatives to ensure that our rights and civil liberties, as far as how we are treated by any government are respected and in accordance with the rule of law, with the constitution as guide. No one individual, or group of people, or political party or government should therefore be allowed to cherry pick which part of our constitution ought to be respected, and which part should not and arbitrarily. This government has arbitrarily deferred the holding of this year’s census, an outright violation of the constitution and our senators and representatives are mute about it? Today it is the census, what will it be tomorrow, the cancellation of national elections and on the same grounds we don’t have money? Truth be told, these are some of the misrule that add up to the revulsive reaction of citizens when their silence on these things is continuously taken advantage of by others or government. It may have taken over a century for that revulsion the first time around, who knows how long it may take for the “fire” next time? So, better we check these arbitrariness as they crop up, than sit idly by while they add up.

  2. Mr. Gboyo: Thanks a million for your excellent comments about the violations of constitutional stipulations, and especially the very arbitrary way of “cherry picking” that it is done. As a demographer/sociologist, I obviously have a keen interest in a timely conduct of the census. Much of my professional writings rely on the use of census data — both the U.S. and Liberians census data. But, more important than my professional interest for conducing censuses in a timely manner, there may be a constitutional mandate for conducting the census in a timely manner. Since much of the Liberian constitution is based on the U.S. constitution, the primary purpose for conducting the census is for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives. In the U.S., the primary reason for conducting the census every ten years, beginning in 1790, is for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives. Each state in the U.S. is entitled to send two senators to the U.S. Senate, regardless of its population size. However, seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned on the basis of population size, with more populations like California having more representatives than those with smaller populations like my state of Maryland. Similarly, I would assume that in Liberia, each county is entitled to two senators, regardless of its population size. However, like the U.S., the number of representatives from each county depends on the size of its population, with more populous counties like my dear Bong County having more representatives than a less populous county like Grand Kru. Do you see the connection between the census and democratic election for representatives in both Liberia and the U.S.?? If I am incorrect about the situation in Liberia, please feel free to correct me. The number of representatives for political subdivisions will therefore increase or decrease depending on whether their populations have increased or decreased since the last census. Without a timely census, how will the average Kolleh know whether his political subdivision requires an additional representative or two, because of an in crease in its population after a decade? The populations of various subdivisions do not remain static from decade to decade; they change!! Even with a timely census in the U.S., various political subdivisions do sue the federal government, if they feel that the census count for their political subdivision is in error. Constituents from some Liberian political subdivisions should feel free to challenge the government through the courts, if they feel that they have been short changed due to delays in the conduct of the census or errors in the census!! Ah, well, just my two cent view.

    • One of the biggest problems we have in Liberia is poor governance. Bureaucrats take the cue from the Chief Executive who has a propensity for abrogating the laws with impunity. So everyone follows his lead I guess.

    • Brother Konia, good points you raised there, regarding the census and its purpose, relative to the number of representatives from each county and based in the population of those districts or counties. To add to that census menu, the importance of the census is most importantly to determine how many people are living in each county and ultimately the entire country. This is one of the ways investors calculate the potential for profit in any future investment, based in the potential users of their goods or services. But also, our government should want to know whether our country has grown or shrunk over a given ten-year period. Based on that information the government can then determine which areas of our country need additional schools be it elementary, Jr./Sr. high, or community colleges. How many teachers, how many clinics, doctors, nurses, what roads are needed and where, how many police officers are needed in which areas, etc., etc. Also from the census data we get to know the number of educated citizens in each county and the levels, that is from elementary to college or even PhD. The census also collects the number and types of businesses existing in each county, etc. These are and other types of relevant indices are what a government needs and relies on to make or implement the kind of public policies that will impact the lives and welfare of its citizens. Without this vital statistics, our government will just be playing guess work, with no way of knowing whether it is making the necessary impact or not. That’s called eccentricity!

  3. Thanks for a comprehensive analysis about such a deliberate violation by those we expect to make a positive difference in our struggling nation.
    I hope that this draw the Keene attention of the public to keep them in check so that they won’t continue on such a wrong path to add more suffering to the people of Liberia.

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