Montserrado County Electoral District #17 Rep. Hanson Senu Kiazolu says Legislators will be calling the National Elections Commission (NEC) to give explanation as to why it is not conducting senatorial by – elections in Montserrado and Bong County today, Tuesday, 8 May.
But NEC spokesman said that the commission is now reviewing nomination papers, while issuing a disclaimer that it was not responding to anybody’s concern about the bi-election.
In response to concerns Monday, 7 May on a local radio in Monrovia that the NEC will not be conducting the by – elections on Tuesday, 8 May, Mr. Kiazolu said “There now we’re going to call,” adding “then their explanation comes.”
Rep. Kiazolu insists that “we must look for the money to have the election as it’s due based on the Constitution,” raising fears that if “you” start to alter the law to satisfy few individuals’ opinion, even the biggest part of Liberians’ expectation will be compromised.
He additionally says he has not seen a reported resolution before the Legislature for a joint resolution to authorize the NEC to proceed with the conduct of the senatorial by – election outside the Constitutional mandate.
“And I can tell you this, these are things that brought about the civil war when the law of the country is being [averted] to satisfy a few elites,” he says.
Mr. Kiazolu argues that such action accumulates issues, and when those issues are being propounded by conscious minded citizens, government will not be pleased and the nation can go into a police state.
Senatorial seats in Montserrado and Bong Counties were made vacant in December 2017 following the elections of President George Manneh Weah who represented Montserrado, and his Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor who also represented Bong.
Mr. Weah’s government assumed office on 22 January this year when he took oath of office.
Article 37 of the New Elections Law here says in the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof.
It says the Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by – election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.
But Rep. Kiazolu says he has not seen any projection from the Executive in the recast budget relating to the by – election, arguing that it is not legislators that are supposed to submit proposal for the by – election.
According to him, it should come from the Executive and submitted to lawmakers to make appropriations.
“So if they didn’t do it, it’s like it was not a priority for them. It could be the Minister of Finance and the National Elections Commission have an external inflow to conduct the election on time, so it’s not the National Legislature’s business to go out to investigate why you didn’t put this in the budget from the Executive. No, the Executive should know their priorities,” he says.
When contacted Monday, 7 May, NEC spokesman Mr. Henry Flomo said he was not responding to anybody, but he could give this paper an update on what the NEC has done so far.
“Well, I’m not going to respond to anybody. What I can tell you is that we concluded nomination on May 1, and the Board is reviewing those documents. From there we will come up with provisional listing. That’s what I can say,” Mr. Flomo says.
He adds that nomination started 11 April and ended 1 May, and the board is reviewing documents of those that turned out, but declined to comment on whether the NEC is operating within the time provided by the law.
By Winston W. Parley