House reviews Code of Conduct

The controversial Code of Conduct shockingly surfaced on the agenda of the House of Representatives for revision on Tuesday, 4 April; roughly a month after Liberia’s Supreme Court endorsed the instrument as being legal.

It is not yet clear who submitted the Code of Conduct and for what purpose, but lawmakers in the chambers appeared to be in the know of the reappearance of the Code of Conduct which was passed since 2013.

Though, the agenda of the lawmakers did not reveal anything as it relates to the appearance of the controversial Code of Conduct, House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay’s leadership reverted to executive session apparently to discuss the act which has created tension among politicians that are vying for elected posts.

Information gathered within the corridors of the House of Representatives Tuesday, 4 April suggests that some influential politicians and stakeholders are appealing to Liberian lawmakers to amend some portions of the Code of Conduct to avoid tension here ahead of the 2017 Representatives and Presidential elections.

In 2009, the Executive Branch of Government submitted a bill to the Legislature to have a National Code of Conduct passed into law. The instrument prescribes activities of public officials.

After languishing at the Capitol for nearly five years, the Code of Conduct was ratified by lawmakers, subsequently signed by the President and took effect since 2014. The Code received huge public commendations especially provisions regarding the conduct of public officials who many see here to be flouting the laws.

But there are criticism however that the Code of Conduct is allegedly being violated by some officials appointed by the President, over claims that they are now actively participating in politics while still serving in appointed officers.

At the ongoing national convention of the ruling Unity Party, several presidential appointees actively took part in political activities, with some being elected to party positions.
Part V of the Code of Conduct prohibits all officials appointed by the President from taking part in active politics. It says all officials appointed by the President shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices.

The intent of the instrument is to prevent the use of government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities by officials who may be seeking elected jobs.

They are not also allowed to serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate while still serving on appointed jobs.
Notwithstanding, appointed officials who seek to contest for elected offices are required to resign from the appointed offices two years ahead, while those holding tenured jobs are to resign three years ahead of such elections.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Winston W. Parley

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