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Gov’t unprepared for chiefs’ elections

The Senate Committee Chair on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation, Nimba County Senator Sumo Grupee says government is not prepared at this time to underwrite the cost of conducting elections for Liberia’s Traditional Council of Chiefs while the country is also faced with conducting presidential and representative’s elections.

Sen. Grupee announced the postponement of the chiefs’ elections when he appeared on a local radio talk – show over the weekend, following a longstanding opposition that has encountered Chief Zanzan Karwah’s administration in demand for his replacement.

Sen. Grupee had said his committee received two petitions, one calling for the establishment of an interim administration that would lead the council to elections, while the other called for the postponement of the exercise to a later date.

After reviewing the two petitions, Sen. Grupee said it was not feasible to conduct elections for the Council considering the fact that the national elections were in full swing.

A key obstacle cited as justification for postponing the Council’s election was that government would be required to make budgetary allotment to facilitate the process.

While announcing that his comments personal and not for the Senate Committee that he chairs, the Nimba County Lawmaker said he believed that the Karwah led-administration should hold onto power until at such time when the government has concluded with the conduct of the national elections which he says are cost intensive.

He suggested that following the national elections, government would be in the position to galvanize the needy financial resources to fast track the chiefs’ electoral process.

Meanwhile, Sen. Grupee has raised concerns that there are no clear criteria as to who is an elder, noting that most of the local government officials were appointed by the President and not elected by the people.

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He cited alleged violation of elections laws here which called for the holding of “chiefdomship” elections for local government officials working under the Ministry of Internal Affairs or MIA, claiming that the National Elections Commission or NEC was not adhere to such laws.

Sen. Grupee concluded that the Council was not accountable to any board or the MIA due to the absence of a Board of Directors.

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