Amidst defiance, protest and cries, it has become clear that the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the National Code of Conduct as constitutional is being respected to the extent that the National Elections Commission has made certain provisions of the law an eligibility criteria for individuals seeking to occupy the nation’s highest political office – presidency and legislative seats.
The National elections Commission has informed political party’s leaders that it would implement elections related components of the National Code of Conduct for public officials and government employees, verified parties Sources have told the New Democrat.
On the basis of the law the NEC has made it a nomination requirement for parties to disclose: if a candidate has worked in government, position held and when they resigned or exited public service.
This month the legislature empowered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to determine the fate of individuals seeking elective positions with respect to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Government Employees and Officials via the Act establishing the Office of the Ombudsman.
Section (5.11) of the enrolled bill states that the NEC should adjudicate all elections related matter stipulated in the Code and that any remedy sought from such adjudication shall be referred to the Supreme Court as provided for under the laws and constitution of the Republic of Liberia.
Enacted 2014, the law has triggered controversy with some public officials including the Chair of the Governance Commission pushing for it to be ignored.
But if the NEC’s candidates nomination form is anything to go by then it is most certain that presidential hopeful Dr. John Mills Jones of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) and Mr. Harrison Karnwea – the running mate to Liberty Party Charles Brumskine and several other candidates including some cabinet ministers aspiring for the House of Representatives are out of the race.
Dr. Jones serves as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) from the inception of the Johnson Sirleaf administration until February 2016. Karnwea and Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh (Alternative National Congress deputy leader) resigned in 2017.
The Supreme Court of Liberia in its Friday, March 3,2017 ruling upheld the Code as constitutional, thus effectively killing the dreams and aspirations of some former and current administration officials seeking the presidency and legislative seats.
Part (V) of the Code reads, “5.1 All Officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not:
a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices;
b) use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities;
c) Serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.