Stop Joking With Special Election

INFORMATION REACHING THIS paper says with just five months ahead of the country’s special election, Plenary of the Liberian Senate has passed an Act mandating the Executive Branch to borrow money for the conduct of the pending Special Election.

TO CONDUCT THE pending October 14, 2014 Special Senatorial Election, it is reported that NEC needs at least US$10.3 million to carry out the process in the 15 political sub-divisions of the country the Commission  has consistently complained about serious budgetary constraints faced by the Commission to conduct the Special Election. This according to political observers may hamper the conduct of the 2014 Special Senatorial Election scheduled for October 14.

NEC CHAIRMAN, CLLR. JEROME George Korkoya, last September said that the delay in the passage of the national budget has stalled preparatory work that could lead to the conduct of a successful Senatorial Election this year.

BUT DURING THE 22nd day sitting of the Senate yesterday, the Senate Ways, Means Committee leaders including Sen. Sumo G. Kupee of Lofa, Alphonso G. Gaye, Grand Gedeh, Isaac W. Nyenabo, Grand Gedeh, Edward Dagoseh of Cape Mount among others told their colleagues that taking into consideration the time frame to the October election, government cannot raise money now to support the electoral process but can go ahead to take a loan.

THE WAYS, MEANS Committee members acknowledged that the 2013/2014 fiscal budget did not provide proper funding for the Special Election, so it is prudent that the President of Liberia instructs the Ministry of Finance to proceed with borrowing money in order to carry out this important exercise. Senator Alphonso G. Gaye, a member of the committee told plenary that his committee reached the decision as a result of the US$47m shortfalls government is experiencing in two budgetary years.

THIS LATEST INFORMATION from the Liberian Senate is indeed a very serious issue that must be timely addressed by the Liberian Government because anything short of that will lead to a constitutional breach as the Liberian law clearly calls for the conduct of a Special Election after nine years.

WE ARE SENDING out a very strong caveat to the government of Liberia to stop joking with the Special Election because it is a known fact that election is time-bound and anything that has the potential of creating hurdles to the process would definitely be detrimental.

WE ARE CONCERNED because this Special Senatorial Election is the first of its kind since the formation of Liberia as a nation and anything done to stall the electoral process will be counterproductive to the democratic process of a country that has just emerged from nearly 14 years of devastating civil unrest.

LET THE GOVERNMENT ensure that everything is done for the conduct of the Special Senatorial Election by funding the process if it will mean to borrow money as suggested by the Liberian Senate. We are afraid that people would want to capitalize on the “no money’ syndrome and cancel the Special Election thus, leading to a political and serious constitutional conflict, something this country cannot afford.

ONCE AGAIN, LET the government stop joking with the pending election and do all within its power to fund the process. As anything contrary to this would be counterproductive and unhealthy for this country coming of years of conflict, which can also be attributed to elections’ problems in the past.

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