Despite the threats of “street protest” and resistance by the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, through its National Chairman George Solo, Cllr. Jerome Kokoyah’s nomination as Chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC was on Tuesday accepted by the Liberian Senate. Cllr. Kokoyah may have been confirmed as Chairman of the NEC against the backdrop of the justifications he provided that august body against claims about his political independence.
“I resigned from the Unity Party since January 18, 2012; so I have no political affiliation. I am a lawyer by profession. I held membership with the Unity party for one year and I resigned January 18, 2012,” Kokoyah told the Liberian Senate, as well as national and international media outlets. As a manifestation of the explicit confidence in him, fifteen out of Liberia’s eighteen opposition political parties discounted the CDC’s claims as unjustifiable and out of order, admonishing the Liberian Senate to speedily confirm as Chairman, Cllr. Kokoyah.
The opposition parties, in their petition to the Senate through President Pro Tempore Milton Findley of Grand Bassa, emphasized that the nomination of Cllr. Kokoya was in consonance with the election laws of 2003-2004, as well as in Liberia’s best interest for the confirmation to be done before the expiration of the tenure of the outgoing membership of the NEC, noting that the Chairman- designate held no current political affiliation and that his nomination represented geographical balance.
While many may want to appreciate the construct efforts of Liberian opposition political parties to sustain peace through their rapid response to the CDC’s empty claims and threats, it is difficult to comprehend the “HOW and WHY” of the recent issue raised by such a major and formidable opposition party, through its National Chairman, Mr. George Solo.
Even if Chairman Solo had read the Election Laws of Liberia “upside down”, there would have still been some degree of understanding as to its interpretation. But apparently, he (and may be a few other party officials) refused to read such important laws before going public with their so-called rejection of the nomination and confirmation of the new National Elections Commission Chairman- and this is absolutely wrong.
Chapter 2, Section 2.5 of the Election Laws emphasizes that “No commissioner, Election Officer or any employee of the commission shall not be a member or an affiliate of any political party or an association or organization; nor shall any commissioner, election officer or any employee of the commission canvass for any elective public office directly or indirectly”. It further states that “before assuming office, each commissioner, election officer and every employee of the commission shall solemnly subscribe to an oath, renouncing allegiance to and severing all connections, affiliation and relationship with his or her own, or any political party during his or her tenure with the commission.”
Unfortunately, last Thursday’s utterances of Chairman George Solo and the CDC sounded not to have conformed to the foregoing provision of the Elections Laws of Liberia, but the usual political mischief and violence characterizing the activities of the “Mighty Congress for Democratic Change” as it is always referred to by Solo and a few others.
Again, Solo and his likes must also understand that every election is characterized by new political variables, including decisions for support on the basis of how party executives/leadership conduct themselves, and how he, his likes and the party as an institution conduct themselves, in terms of posture and approaches to issues of national concern will either diminish or increase their support among Liberian voters.
In as much as it is believed and known in certain quarters across the country that the CDC (Leadership) is hunted by the lack of political education and maturity, there may still be room for recovery and increase in grassroots support. But again, Chairman George Solo and his likes must exert all efforts to graduate from their violent posture in addressing national issues.
Whether or not he and his likes still anticipate violence as the only way forward to putting forth their grievances now that Cllr. Jerome Kokoyah has been confirmed as Chairman of the National Elections Commission, the ball is in their coat. But one thing they must understand is that ordinary CDCians are no longer prepared to be misguided without any legal justification why their leaders stay at the back to “drink WINE and WHISKY, as well as EAT SMOKED CHILDREN”.
The Liberian senate must be hailed for its unsentimental decision to confirm Cllr, Jerome Kokoyah as Chairman of the NEC. The new Chairman must also be congratulated for his preferment by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, with the hope that he will earnestly discharge the legal duties and functions assigned him to justify the confidence reposed in him by the President, sixteen Liberian opposition political parties and all those believe in the rule of law in Liberia.
It is indeed a challenge and confidence to justify.