Home Politics Barefaced Violations! …National Bar Raises Red Flag On 2023 Elections

Barefaced Violations! …National Bar Raises Red Flag On 2023 Elections

by News Manager

By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: The President of Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Sylvester Dorbor Rennie, has called for stringent measures against political parties, independent candidates and others who are violating provisions of the country’s Campaign Finance Law in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections.

On October 10, 2023, over 70% of 2,471, 617 Liberians went to the polls to elect President and Vice President, as well as 73 Representatives and 15 Senators.
On 14, November, 2023, Liberians would participate in a Presidential Runoff, according to the National Elections Commission (NEC), after which winner of the Liberian Presidency would be named.
The Runoff would be held between incumbent President George Manneh Weah and former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai.

The President, Vice President and members of the House of Representatives are to spend six years in state power while members of the Senate are to spend nine years, according to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.

However, speaking recently at a forum attended by stakeholders of the project, styled: “Strengthening Political Accountability Project” (SPAP), Cllr. Rennie blamed the National Elections Commission (NEC), for its alleged failure to vigorously enforce the Campaign Financing Regulations and other electoral laws of the country.
He highlighted that many provisions of the Campaign Finance Law and other electoral Regulations have been violated by some political parties and candidates in the 2023 Elections.
“NEC has not been doing justice to the Liberian people; in fact, the National Elections Commission finds it difficult to regulate other political parties’ Campaign Financing, especially when the government has overspent in the first round of the elections,” the LNBA President told the forum which was held at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.
According to Cllr. Rennie, Section 17 .1 of the Campaign Financing Regulations calls for the Commission to establish an Audit Committee, which within six (60) days of an election, may complete a certified audit of the book of account of any campaign committee.

He added that Section 17. 2 of the Campaign Financing Regulations also states that the Commission shall have the power to retain an independent auditing agency to conduct certified audits of the financial transaction of a campaign committee.

The LNBA President, at the forum underscored the need for anti-corruption institutions in the country to get more prosecutorial powers and for the National Elections Commission (NEC), to prosecute would-be violators of the laws by imprisoning individuals, and candidates, including heads of political parties.

He stressed that such measure would serve as a deterrence for others in the strengthening and consolidation of Liberia’s democracy and the rule of law.
Apart, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Campaign Manager, Lenn Eugene Nagbe has argued that his Party is not in the wrong because, according to him, elections financing audit are done after the polls.
“Under the issue of strengthening laws and regulations, there is need for anti-corruption institutions that will work in line with NEC or other private auditing agencies or firms to do periodic checks on the account of parties,” the LNBA president told the gathering.
He suggested that such checks should be carried out on a quarterly basis.

The LNBA President stressed that establishing independent anti-corruption institutions to have prosecutorial power would bring credibility, accountability and transparency to the electoral processes of the country.

Serving as one of the panelists at the forum, Cllr. Rennie also calls for reforms or changes to the country’s electoral systems.

He indicated that this would go a long way in reducing corruption during campaign period, wherein some political parties or candidates spend beyond the limit of the electoral laws.

He recommended that NEC should ensure during election periods political parties and independent candidates are in compliance with their Regulations and laws.

“If they not, there should be a timeline given to them that will enable them to be in confirmative with those laws,” he emphasized.

At the forum, Rennie said that political parties or candidates that don’t meet the necessary requirements for elections should not be given any attention; even if said institutions or candidates intend to register in different name.

“Other political parties currently do not have headquarters as we speak, as such, the National Elections Commission should do periodic regulations for political parties, and if the NEC found out that some of them don’t have headquartered, they should be de-certificated. I believe this will help to reduce the numerous political parties in the country.

In the 2023 polls, a handful of political parties have the necessary financial power to carry out effective campaign activities while so many others do not have little or no reliable means to do so.

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