The Pastor of the New Water in the Desert, Dr Kortu K. Brown, has described as troubling the component of the Liberia Code of Conduct dealing with restrictions on Presidential appointees interested in seeking elected office in the country.
Rev. Brown, in a news release, said the Code of Conduct does not appear to have been properly researched or thought through.
For example, Dr Brown wondered: “Why does the Code suggest that it is only appointed officials in the government who are capable of applying state resources to their political or campaign purposes?”
In the United States, Rev. Brown said there is a general prohibition against using official resources for campaign or political purposes by members of its House of Representatives.
That restriction states that: “Official resources of the House must, as a general rule, be used for the performance of official business of the House, and hence those resources may not be used for campaign or political purposes.”
The laws and rules referenced, according to Dr Brown, reflect the basic principle that government funds should not be spent to help incumbents gain re-election.
Rev. Brown further asserted that while the President of the United States can rely on “Air Force One and other military aircraft at his disposal for official business, federal election laws require his campaign to pay for these presidential perquisites whenever he or other administration officials are using federal government resources for political activity.”
The US federal election laws further expect officials to abide by all campaign laws in their reimbursements for political travel by the President, Vice President and other administration officials.
“Why did our law in Liberia only focus on appointed officials in government? What is the National Elections Commission (NEC) doing to address these perceived imbalances?” asked the General Overseer of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church.
Rev. Brown recalled that President Barack Obama reimbursed the coffers of America with the amount of US$25 Million for using “Air Force One,” the US Presidential jet, during his re-election campaign in 2012.
“Can Liberia also carefully and comprehensively craft our laws or Code of Conduct to cover all who serve and utilize state resources in the performance of their daily functions especially during election campaigns?”
Rev. Brown described the Code, promulgated by both the Executive and Legislative Branches of government, as an intriguing exercise, and that in an emerging democracy such as Liberia, “it is vital that such interventions like the Code intended to help guide against excesses in the exercise of democratic rights, is properly analysed and consumed.”
There have been two main schools of thought that seem to drive the debate, namely: The two-year requirement for presidential appointees in government to resign prior to an ensuing presidential and General Elections; and the constitutionality and probably the comprehensiveness of the Code restricting the constitutional rights of some citizens of the country, while others are molested.
The Constitution of Liberia requires that any law contrary to it is non-enforceable.