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NEC must abort premature campaigning

In adherence to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, a midterm for 15 Senators of the Liberian Senate under the auspices of the National Elections Commission or NEC is expected to place this October across Liberia. 13 of the 15 Senators, who are already in the 9th year on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, are desirous of contesting to succeed themselves, while other Liberians with deep interest in the job are also equally preparing themselves.

Despite the availability of the Election time-table to all, the politicians, including the incumbent senators have been here, there and yonder across Liberia making, what they call, their intentions known. But in the real sense of electoral politics,  these moves in the various counties continue to be characterized by vigorous electoral campaign activities, when NEC is yet to declare campaigning official.

Notably among the counties in which these electoral campaign activities are being executed, especially by some incumbent Senators are Bong, Lofa, Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Sinoe Counties. Not only that these individuals are vigorous campaigning ahead of NEC’s official timeframe, they are involved in war of words-sometimes using surrogate youth groups to get at each other.

While these aspirants may have their rights to make their intentions known to their constituents, they may also be undermining the work of the National Elections Commission, as well as violating the election laws of Liberia. Interestingly, such violations are taking place, while the Commission continues to remain conspicuously silent as if it is not even aware. While we agree that the Chairman and other Commissioners of NEC may not be in the counties, elections Magistrates are all over the counties to ensure coordination, and that the laws are not violated.

Even though the Commission has been very busy with the conduct of the Voter’s Roll Update or VRU nationwide, it must now move in stopping these violations, especially by incumbent Senators who have had more than eight years to campaign vigorously through their activities and relations with their people. Words by the Commission would only be inadequate to curtail the violations, but punitive and uncompromising actions would further halt these premature campaign activities in the counties at all levels- this must be the challenge of the National Elections Commission.

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