The National Elections Commission Chairperson, Jerome G. Korkoyah, is advising all political parties to disengage from pre-election campaign activities.
The NEC boss sounded the caveat during the accreditation of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), one of many political parties that are fully certified to participate in the upcoming 2017 general and presidential elections. The newly certified CDC is a said to comprise of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP), and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
According to Chairman Korkoyah, the NEC has noticed that some politicians and a number of political groups are already engaging in campaign-like activities; ahead of the official August through October 2017 campaign timetable. For instance, the NEC has been alerted of a number of political party swastikas, placards, billboards and so forth are in full public display everywhere in the country. So, let it be known that by granting accreditations and full recognition to political parties is not an automatic authorization to openly canvass outside of the official campaign timetable, Korkoyah cautions. He further cautioned political parties and their partisans to cease and desist from making campaign-like utterances that may undermine the integrity of our electoral laws.
Counselor Korkoyah also alleged that "most Liberian politicians are leading critics of the NEC, while they are unfamiliar with the workings of the commission. “If you don't have any proof on an alleged irregularity carried out by this Commission, keep quiet," Korkoyah said. According to him, violators will be penalized by the Commission in line with the electoral laws of Liberia. Regarding the newly formed CDC coalition, Korkoyah cautioned the group to do everything within its reach to supervise the utterances and actions of its joint partisans in line with NEC policies and regulations.
"As your coalition is the first major coalition up for the 2017 elections, I admonish you the leaders to do as much as it is worthy, most especially in the interest of peace, to curtail or if possible completely sanction disorderliness and any other act that threatens our peace as a nation," Cllr. Korkoyah said.
He added that there is no need for anyone to fear that as head of NEC he will be pulled or moved by anything or force to tamper with the 2017 elections.
"Considering the fact that the 2017 elections are more crucial than we all can even imagine, let me assure all of you here and every citizen outside of this hall today that we will remain independent as provided for by law and make sure that the right things are done to safeguard our democracy," he vowed.
Speaking after receiving the certificate of accreditation, the Chairman of the CDC, Mr. Nathaniel McGill, said the doubt held by the majority of the country's eligible voters on the possibility of his party agreeing to form a strong coalition has been dismissed and they are ready to mutually work together.
"Reflecting on the fact that the last democratic transition we had in this country was in 1944 when President Edwin Barclay turned state power over to President William V. S. Tubman, we are prepared in our workings to ensure that this is realized," Mr. McGill stated.
He said because the CDC, National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) as a coalition believes in the rule of law and desires to see democratically an end to the Unity Party rule in the country, they have agreed to work with the same political ideologies.
Mr. McGill meanwhile called on all donors wishing to support the NEC as it carries out its job to directly give all funds to NEC rather than passing the funds through any other institution, including the government.
"As we thank you Mr. Chairman and your hard working colleagues and staff for the proper conduct of this accreditation ceremony, let me be clear in saying that we are supporting you in all your operations.
"We are calling on you to engage UNMIL to lend its logistical and other support to the election process. Knowing that the United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of UNMIL, they are part of the process and should therefore not be left out," he advised.
Mr. McGill thanked Senators George M. Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor as well as Rep. J. Alex Tyler for their leadership roles in making sure that the coalition is a success.
Hundreds of partisans of the three political parties were seen jubilating with slogans such as "the UP dynasty must come to an end, we will teach them lessons."