MONROVIA: The Liberian People’s Party (LPP) Political Leader, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe has described as unacceptable statement by the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) that the Commission is yet to receive an initial amount of US$4 Million from the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to begin the 2023 electoral process.
Cllr. Gongloe said any attempt by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government not to provide much-needed funding to the NEC for conduct of the crucial Presidential and Legislative elections in October 2023 has the potential to cause instability in the country.
He stressed that Liberians are not prepared for such situation.
Cllr. Gongloe also said not providing funding to the NEC in line with its approved timetable would also amount to gross violation of the Constitution of Liberia.
Addressing a news conference held at his office in Monrovia, on Friday, March 10, 2023, Cllr. Gongloe said his concern came against the backdrop of the disclosure by Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, Chairperson of NEC at the Liberian Senate that the Commission is yet to receive an initial amount of US$4 Million from the Ministry of Finance to begin the 2023 elections process.
On Thursday, 9, March 2023, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, appearing before the Senate Plenary, explained that the Ministry of Finance had promised to provide US$4 Million from the allotted US$10 Million for phase one of the processes leading to the conduct of the elections.
She added that the Commission earlier submitted a budget of US$91 Million, but it was reduced drastically following discussions between the Commission and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
The NEC Boss, said phase one and two were allotted US$10 Million each, and US$13 Million was allotted for phase three which is the final phase of the process.
Madam Lansanah said the date to release US$10 Million for phase one is 15 March 2023, while phase two is 16 April 2023. She added that payment for phase three is on 15 May 2023.
The NEC Boss further revealed that these decisions were arrived at by the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah, and the Board of Commissioners of the NEC and noted that the Commission has not received the US$4 Million to jump-start phase one, contrary to the Ministry of Finance’s promise.
However, the LPP Political Leader warned that President George M.Weah and his government will not be in the Executive Mansion one minute after their Constitutional term of office; therefore, they should do all within their power to make the money available.
He, however, observed that President Weah and his government are designing this strategy not to provide money to the National Elections Commission to conduct the October 10 2023, Legislative and Presidential Elections because they want to continually perpetuate themselves in state power at the detriment of the suffering Liberian people and also in complete violation of the Constitution of Liberia.
Cllr. Gongloe told journalists that the Liberia’s civil war that internally and externally displaced several Liberians and led to the killing of over 250,000 persons was a result of the 1985 presidential and general elections which the then Special Elections Commission said, was won by the late President Samuel K. Doe against the popular will of the Liberian people.
“Let the government find the money needed by the National Elections Commissions to conduct Legislative and Presidential Elections in Liberia because we Liberians want peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections,” he said.
Cllr. Gongloe who is also the immediate past President of the Liberia National Bar Association indicated that, Liberia is steadily marching towards lasting peace, stability and development.
He also stressed that the CDC led government should use their local and international contacts to mobilize resources for the conduct of the pending elections as stipulated by the Liberian constitution.
“Government should not create the impression that they do not have money to conduct the elections.
They printed here four billion, they carried out US$ 25m Mop-up exercise here in Liberia; therefore they should have money,” he noted.
According to him, NEC has started violating the Constitution because by now, the voter registration, education, and public awareness should being on, or completed by now throughout the country, most especially when they are introducing new form of voter registration Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) that is very new to Liberia;
Writes; T.R Dixon.