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NEC raises red flag

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Nine months to the presidential and representatives elections in October, the National Elections Commission is warning against pre-campaigning by political parties and aspirants.

NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoyaalarmed over the weekend that ahead of official campaign, presidential and representative aspirants were seriously campaigning for votes across the country.

Speaking at the certification of newly formed Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) over the weekend at the NEC’s head office in Monrovia, he said ahead of the official calendar to be released, politicians who are considering to participate in the elections are already posting their pictures on private and public buildings, public places and alone roadside as though the Commission has already declared campaign officially opened.

Chairman Korkoyanoted that the pre-campaign activities engaged by those politicians are unfortunate and a clear violation of election laws here. The NEC boss, who failed to cite specific provisions of the electoral laws allegedly being violated, warned political parties and aspirants to immediately halt such activities or theyrisk the wrath of the National Election Commission.

According to him, the violation is deliberate on the part of political parties and aspirants on grounds that many of them are in the know about the wrongdoing and the electoral house will not take anything lightly ahead of the 2017 race.

“Our dream and aspiration is to make the electoral process free, fair, antransparent for everyone and the country at large. “The last time I went out of Monrovia, the only thing you can see along the road is aspirants’ pictures, friends of this and that postures. Why these pictures for? This is total pre-campaigning and the Commission will not take it lightly ahead of pronouncement from us as election managers. This is a warning and those that are engaged should immediately desist because the Commission will penalize continuous violators,” he said.

At the same time, Korkoya has frowned on political parties’ chairpersons, who renege on attending activities at the NEC, noting that their continued absence poses a dangerous risk for them and their respective political institutions.

“When a meeting or critical decision is to be made by the Commission and we call heads of political parties, they refused to show up for these discussion, putting us in difficult position to reach decision, because they are our partners and without them it becomes challenging for the Commission to work.”

He however, praised CDC’s Chairman Nathaniel McGill, Unity Party’s Wilmot Paye and Orashall Gould of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) for their active participation with the NEC.

The NEC boss highlighted that it is in total disbelief that heads of political parties would avoid functions of the Commission and when decisions are taken, they run to the media to create another picture that does not truly represents the electoral house.

Commenting on the certification of the CDC headed by Montserrado County Senator George Weah, Korkoya intimated that three political parties: National Patriotic Party, the Liberian People Democratic Party and the Congress for Democratic Change forming a coalition is first of its kind in the contemporary Liberian politics especially, under his administration. 

With the certification, the Coalition for Democratic Change, not Congress for Democratic Change, is now a coalition that will put forth a standard bearer and candidates for the House of Representatives for the October elections, meaning the individual NPP, LPDP and CDC will not feature separate candidates.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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