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Political parties must play by the rules

Disclosure by the Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya that out of Liberia’s 26 registered political parties only nine has filed their audited accounts and declared their respective assets to the Commission as of 1 September 2017 is not only disappointing, but reveal the lapses of political institutions clamoring for state power in the country.

Submission of audited accounts and declaration of assets by registered political parties on the stipulated date is in accordance with Article 83(d) of the Constitution of Liberia, but as the NEC boss reported here on Wednesday, 6 September only nine parties have so far complied with the remaining 17 still dragging their feet.

So sad and disheartening that, political institutions and their leaders, currently campaigning across the country for votes in a bid to ascend to power would not want to play by the rule. Yet still, they want to take over the state and provide leadership not in accordance with the law, but on their own terms and dictates at the detriment of the vast majority.

We wonder what kind of leadership they intend to provide tomorrow if elected, for the people they claim to love if not tyranny and authoritarism. A popular Liberian proverb says: If a Christmas would be good; you’ll get to know on its eve.

Those political parties concerned should not tell the Liberian people that they would practice transparency and accountability if given state power when they are already flagrantly violating the electoral rules. This is quite difficult to believe.

As Chairman Korkoya emphasizes, transparency is not only expected from the National Elections Commission. It is also required and expected from political parties and that submission of audited accounts and asset declaration is one major legal provision to guarantee same.

Political parties and their leaderships demand free, fair and transparent elections, but they seem, in this case, majority of them, not to be living by these same standards in a competition that requires such benchmarks.

Absolutely there is no justification for one group of players playing by the rule, while other players in the same competition would do otherwise. Those deviant political parties must be brought to book without fear or favor.

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We are not emphasizing this to get at any specific political party or candidate, but to ensure that these elections are conducted with the highest standards necessary that would leave no room for contention or protest. And this is only achievable if all sides played by rules set by the Constitution of Liberia and the electoral body.

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