Senatorial Elections: Welcoming Joint Legislative Endorsement

Another Joint Resolution finally endorsing the readjusted timetable for the 2014 Special Senatorial elections was on Tuesday, November 17, 2014 passed by the Liberian Legislature on Capitol Hill, Monrovia. Unless otherwise, the decision gives approval to the conduct of the elections on Tuesday, December 16 throughout the country by the National Elections Commission or NEC after it had submitted the new timetable to the Legislature for endorsement.

Even though the timetable was earlier endorsed by the House of Representatives, the Liberian Senate, under the influence of some of its members who are also seeking re-election, rejected the document on grounds that the “safety of the Liberian people was more important than elections; and that it could not mortgage their lives” by concurring with such Joint Resolution to endorse the holding of the elections on December 16- an action considered not only as a deceit, but contradiction of their October 10, 2014 decision to signed and pass a Joint Resolution alongside the House of Representatives mandating the NEC to “conduct the Special Senatorial Elections not later than December 20, 2014; the Legislative Mandate also empowered the NEC to do extensive consultations with stakeholders, including political parties, independent candidates, civil society groups, as well as national and international health authorities” across the country on a date for the elections..

Unfortunately, not being cognizant of their foregoing commitment, the Senators, on Thursday, November 13, 2014, intentionally chose to thwart the process in accordance with their whims and caprices. But on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, the Senators finally succumbed to the voice of reasoning by endorsing the readjusted electoral timetable in the new Joint Resolution. Members of the Legislature also endorsed an alternative plan to conduct by-elections in the event wherein there is a reoccurrence of the deadly Ebola virus disease in a particular county during the time of the elections. We think this latest decision (for a u-turn) by the Senators, in all fairness, demands commendation. For other Senators who may have been very instrumental in this development, gratitude must be expressed to them.

Now that the National Elections Commission has publicly expressed its commitment and preparedness, as evidenced by the arrival of ballot papers and other electoral materials, as well as the deployment of civic and voter’s educators, we are all assured that come what may, the 2014  Special Senatorial elections will go ahead as rescheduled. Be that as it may, as we enter into the campaign period, we join the National Elections Commission in appealing to all of the candidates and their supporters to ensure total peace and security in the execution of their campaign activities across the country.

As emphasized by the Commission, the period of campaigning must be used to market ideologies and plans for the socio-economic development in the counties in particular and Liberia in general. Such ideologies and plans must also be characterized by the candidates’ past achievements (and human relations with their constituents) so as to generate the trust for the people’s confidence.

With anticipated threats of violence as evidenced by the various forms of ongoing provocations by certain candidates and their supporters in Montserrado, Bong, as well as Grand Bassa, among a few others, the National Elections Commission must be very firm in upholding and executing the Elections Laws of Liberia without fear or favor. This is the only way candidates would refrain from using their “cash” on ‘belleh-driven’ young people against the primary objectives of the Special Senatorial Election.

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