ECOM Talks Tough Against Presidential Aspirants

…Gives Them 48-hour Ultimatum

By: Patrick K. Wrokpoh

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted April 30, 2004

The Election Commission of Liberia has warned political parties and interested individuals against premature electioneering in the country, threatening to institute drastic action against violators

The Commission through its Chairman, Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris said, premature campaigning as was being carried out by some political parties and individuals without awaiting on the official time-table from the Election Commission is a violation of Section 14 of the Elections guidelines of the country.

Responding to a statement from the NTGL Chairman at the induction ceremony of the members of the Election Commission held in the parlors of the Executive Mansion yesterday, Commissioner Morris said, “we hereby order that all political parties engaged in this act should immediately desist and all of the parties that have placed banners, flyers, posters and the portrait of presidential candidates on public buildings or facilities proceed and remove these public relations materials within 24hrs or face the full weight of the elections laws.”

Cllr. Morris’ comments comes at a time when there are mounting public outcry that some of the country’s 18 registered political parties are campaigning ahead of the official time of the up-coming elections without the approval of the Elections Commission.

Commenting on other issues such as the growing number of political parties in the country, Cllr. Morris said with the suspension of relevant provisions of the Liberian constitution, the commission will take advantage of what she called “the window of opportunity” to lay a new foundation through which the country’s electoral process would be built.

She said although electoral mal-practices have haunt the nation for the last several years where in some cases the Election commissioners bowed to pressure from the ruling class, her commission is committed to conduct a free and fair elections, stressing that they would be courageous in taking steps that would be in the interest of the Liberian people and above individuals and groups’ interest.

She further said that the commission will in the first week of June, come out with scheduled activities in the process to hold the 2005 elections.

Earlier before he inducted into office the commissioners, NTGL Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant said, he has received a letter from the ICGL to expand the commission from seven members to 11. He said although he was inducting the commissioners into office, he will soon put forward to the NTLA an act to expand the Election Commission as is being proposed by the ICGL.

The NTGL Chairman also used the occasion to call on the African Union, ECOWAS, the United Nations among others to jointly conduct, supervise and monitor the up-coming elections in 2005.

Those commissioned as members of the Election Commission are Cllr. Frances Johnson-Morris Chairman, Madam Mary Brownell, Mr. James Chelley, Cllr. Elizabeth Boyenneh, Soko Sackor, Jonathan Weedor and Mr. James commissioners.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.