Liberia: Several Officials of Government Withdrawn From CDC Campaign Team As Party Cites Adherence to Code of Conduct

Monrovia — For the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, officials of government named to serve key positions on the campaign team for the December 8 Special Senatorial Elections would in no way be violating the Code of Conduct which is clear on the non-participation of government officials in politics. But, amid public outcry, the chairman of the party, Mulbah K. Morlu, on Thursday announced the recall of such officials, noting that the decision was taken in respect for the rule of law.

Minister McGill had argued that the violations being referred to now were carried out by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's regime with impunity, despite a legal challenge at the Supreme Court by the Coalition for Democratic Change at the time.

He further insinuated that many government officials would be dismissed by the President should he enforce the Code of Conduct to the letter.

While stating that there is no Ombudsman to look into violations of the Code of Conduct, he challenged those who feel disenchanted by the appointments to the campaign team to take up the issue at the Supreme Court.

"When the COC was crafted, we challenge people on the basis of our thinking that the violating the code was being violated as some people who were contesting in the 2017 elections had not resigned two years prior to the elections as indicated by the COC. But the Supreme Court told us that we were wrong," Minister McGill said.

According to him, former Information Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, who now serves as the Commissioner of Maritime, was among officials of the previous government that violated the COC.

"My friend, Eugene Nagbe was Minister of Information and at the same time served as Secretary-General of the Unity Party at that time. Did he resign? But that our time now you want to say we are violating because you can talk," he said, aiming jabs at the opposition.

Some public officials appointed by the CDC Chairman Morlu to serve on the campaign team includes, Environmental Protection Agency Executive Director Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh as National Chairman, Gender Minister Piso Saydee-Tarr as Media and Communication chair, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee as Head of Operations, Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs and Samora P. Z. Wolokolie on Policy and Strategy.

Others officials include the Comptroller General of Liberia, Janga A. Kowo, Head of Campaign Secretariat, Assistant Minister of Mines Emmanuel T. Swen and Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission Head Rev. Festus Logan, among several others.

Part V.1 of the National Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees appointed by the President of Liberia shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities and serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.

The party chairman, on Thursday rescinded the nominations of all those covered by the relevant provisions of the code of conduct, but were recently appointed to the campaign committees of the party.

The decision which, according to him, was taken with the full acquiescence of the Party's Governing Council, is intended to sustain the rule-of-law culture in the country as Liberia moves closer to another watershed electoral period.

Morlu said, he recognizes that in order to consolidate the democratic gains the country has made over the years, there must be strict adherence to Liberia's body of laws. He admonished other parties too, including those in the opposition, to continue to abide by the election's guidelines.

While assuring the general public of the party's commitment to do all in its powers to ensure a peaceful electoral process - bearing in mind that everyone has co-responsibility to maintain the peace the country enjoys - the chairman said his decision doesn't bar any Liberian from freely associating with the party's political activities as guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic.

At the same time, the Chairman disclosed that a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Coalition for Democratic Change, which was held recently in Monrovia, has concluded a list of party faithful who will be appointed shortly to complete the formation of the campaign committee.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change has announced the holding of a major press conference today, 29th October 2020 at 4pm at the party's National Headquarters in Congo Town.

The party had come under series of criticisms over the appointment in regards to the Code of Conduct.

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) viewed the appointment by the CDC of government officials on its campaign team as a gross violation of the Code of that regulates the conduct of government officials related to electoral processes. The ECC maintained that respect for the rule of law at every stage of the electoral process is the foundation for conducting credible and peaceful elections.

The ECC noted that the appointment of presidential appointees to the CDC campaign team was in breach of the provisions cited above and greatly undermines the integrity of the country's democracy.

According to the ECC, while the conduct of election does not guarantee democracy, the foundation of democracy is grounded in respect for the rule of law. When this happens, democracy grows; it is deepened, and consolidated.

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