Gearing up for more by-elections

Just as vote-fatigue Liberians are deciphering the final results of the 31 July senatorial by-elections conducted in Montserrado County and Bong County respectively, the country is now bracing itself for another two fresh by-elections: one in Montserrado and the other in Sinoe County in the southeast, amid current serious financial crisis faced by the nation.

The financially-challenged Coalition government of President George M. Weah spent over US$2 Million besides partners’ support on the recent senatorial by-elections held outside of official time set by the Constitution of Liberia. The by-elections should have been held two months earlier somewhere in May, but due to lack of money to fund the US$3 million budget submitted by the National Elections Commission, the polls were held two months later.

Even at that, there was war of words between Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and the Chairman of the National Elections Commission Jerome Korkoya over funding for the by-elections. Thank God for partners’ support that made it possible.

But with the election of Rep. Saah Joseph (District#13) as Senator for Montserrado County, and Wednesday’s (8 August) nomination by President George Weah of Sinoe County Senator Cllr. Jospeh Nagbe to the Supreme Court bench, it is obvious we are heading for another round of by-elections that may bring to four or probably more, by-elections in less than a year.

Already, the government is out there seriously searching for sources of funding for roads construction and other infrastructural projects across the country. We think it is not financially and economically prudent for us as nation, to be crying for money and at the same time engaging in unwise spending.

We have explicit confidence in the professional capability of Cllr. Joseph Nagbe to serve on the Supreme Court bench and therefore, interpose no objection to his preferment by President Weah, but it is the wave of by-elections in the face of serious financial squeeze that we are concern about.

President George Manneh Weah singlehandedly picked the hand of Rep. Saah Joseph to replace him in the Liberian Senate. Barely eight days later, has the President picked another sitting lawmaker, this time around, Senator Joseph Nagbe to sit on the High Court bench, pending senate confirmation to fill the space created by the retirement of Associate Justice Philips A.Z. Banks on Monday.

Is the governing Coalition government saying it is bankrupt of pool of professional lawyers from which it could have nominated one to the Supreme Court bench other than a sitting Senator whose preferment by the President is leading to another by-election, particularly so when this decision would cost us money that could be spend on health or education?

Just December, 2017 we held two rounds of Presidential elections to elect a President to replace Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first peacefully democratic transition in more than 70 years, which came at huge financial cost.

Any wise government would have had a second thought in reaching such decision especially, in the face of current financial realities, and judging by fatigue among Liberian electorate to cast ballots for politicians who continue to fail them miserably.

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