• Op-Ed

For Whom Are Liberian National Laws Meant?

Seemingly, there exists a uniform code of injustice that perpetuates itself in Liberia, since its foundation as a state. The prime example of a lawful nation, is one in which the law favors no one, regardless. John Adams, second president of the United States famously wrote in the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts in 1780, “it may be a government of laws and not of men.” On the contrary, in Liberia ours is a government of men, not laws.

Adams further eloquently wrote “that because there is a danger from all men, the only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” Liberia is a place in which appointed and elected officials break the law with impunity.

Legislators and their likes take the opposite lanes or ruined sidewalks to beat daily stalled traffic on narrow two-way opposite lane busy streets. A number of these same officials infrequently meet to divvy county development funds and other national wealth among themselves. Some tamper with our underage female children with impunity. Laws are meant to regulate our conducts.

However, in a society where national laws regulate the conducts of all, but a few royals and untouchables, that society is deemed to be an unjust culture. We will continue to languish as a nation for as long as we seek to selectively enforce our national laws.

The recently enacted Code of Conduct is no exception. In the preamble of Part V of the law, all officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia are clearly excluded from:

  1. Engaging in political activities, canvass or contesting for elected offices;

  2. Use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities;

  3. Serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.

It can be said, that on numerous occasions, a number of presidential appointees, such as the Minister of Internal Affairs, Defense are seen flanking Vice President Joseph Boakai on campaign efforts, using government facilities.

As a matter of fact, Minister Len Eugene Nagbe does not only violate these provisions on a regular basis, he continues to serve as Minister of Information and Secretary of Unity Party simultaneously. Not once has anyone from the opposition made molehill out of that.

This is the lawful nation we advocate.

Meanwhile, Radiowish International continues to point out some of these imbalances within our electoral atmosphere.

More so, we hope that the Commission handling the electoral process does not bend the rules to the extent, where it may be seen as partisan to the ruling party.

For example, recently, Commissioner Korkoyah was quoted as saying that, “Liberian voters who are in possession of voter’s registration cards will be allowed to vote, even if their names do not exist in a voting precinct.”

It can be said also, that during the registration process, a number of people were caught with blank voter identification cards. We also believe that failure to verify the names of individual voters in their voting precincts may lead to irregularities.

Finally, barely twenty-four hours after the submission of presidential candidates and their running mates of the Liberty and ANC parties, both Ambassador Solunteh and Harrison Karnweah were disqualified for allegedly violating Part 5.2 of the Code of Conduct, which among others charged all appointees of the president who are desirous of running for elected offices to resign two years prior.

Accordingly, a key guideline that steers the conduct of the National Elections Commission is to thoroughly investigate matters of suspected electoral violations.

Had NEC thoroughly investigated the alleged violation surrounding Karnweah and Solunteh, it would have determined that the circumstances that prevented both men from resigning their respective positions were largely exculpatory in nature. Both men did not harbor the intent to run for public office.

Therefore, they could not have known that they would be asked by two presidential candidates to serve as running mates.

We therefore ask the NEC to forthwith reinstate both men in line with the hopes and aspirations of Liberians who are counting on Liberty Party and the ANC to represent their political interests.

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