President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf says all “political candidates” will participate in the October 2017 presidential and legislative elections, adding that the process will be successfully [conducted], though she did not make any further clarity whether or not those battling against a Code of Conduct here are inclusive.
“… And that all Liberians will participate and will exercise their choice. And I believe that our leaders, our political candidates will all be a part of it and will ensure that the process is successfully [conducted], allowing Liberians for the first time in 48 years to make a transition from one elected president to another elected president”, Mrs. Sirleaf said Friday, 26 May at a Press Stakeout with visiting Ghanaian President Nana Akufo – Addo in Monrovia.
This is Mrs. Sirleaf’s first public comment on the controversial Code of Conducts which appears to hook several government officials, most of them past and present including former Central Bank of Liberian Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones.
The Supreme Court upheld the Code of Conduct as legal and binding sometimes in March this year, a ruling that has given rise to public skepticisms about the qualifications of some aspirants-particularly presidential aspirants.
Parts V section(1) a, b, and c, of the Code of Conducts bars executive appointees-meaning government officials appointed by the President from seeking elected offices. It states that those desiring such move should resign two or three years ahead.
The president’s comment came as part of her response to a question with respect to how Liberia can learn from Ghana’s democratic process and was not specifically concerning the Code of Conduct.
During her early response to the particular question, Mrs. Sirleaf said she believes that every Liberian wants to see a peaceful transition coming out of the October elections, on grounds that “no Liberian wants to go back to those dark days when we all suffered”.
“With that, I believe the processes we have on, the consultative processes that involve political leaders coming together, being able to commit themselves to being a part of a free and fair election which must be indeed free and fair”, she said.
Mrs. Sirleaf had earlier thanked her Ghanaian counterpart Akofu-Addo for coming and particularly for the contributory role Ghana has played in ECOWAS and what the two countries have been able to achieve in promoting regional cooperation and integration.
Mrs. Sirleaf says “we” look forward to strengthening those ties under the leadership of Mr. Addo, expressing hope that his visit here will be able to move the relationship on to a greater level.
In sharing the Ghanaian experience on elections, Mr. Addo cited the commitment of the people to the process, suggesting that if the people are [committed] to their democratic values and the principles of democratic accountability, whatever problem can be overcome.
The Ghanaian president thanked Mrs. Sirleaf and the people of Liberia, saying he came here to renew the ties between Ghana and Liberia, to promote the ties, expand them and at the same time to “give us some opportunity” to talk about issues confronting the regional body ECOWAS and share experiences on how the community can be strengthened. A State Dinner was held for Mr. Addo on Friday night before departing Liberia on Saturday evening.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah