As Liberia yearns for the peaceful conduct of the October 2017 elections, the visit of the ECOWAS Network of Elections Commission (ECONEC) to the Supreme Court of Liberia seemed a step forward in ensuring the continuous partnership and support of the regional body.
Amidst this high powered delegation’s visit, political parties continue to take the National Elections Commissions (NEC) to the Supreme Court over the nullifications of their aspirants’ bid to contest the October 10 Presidential and Representatives elections. The Code of Conduct mandates every political aspirant with the intention to vie for Presidential and Representative seats to resign political appointed positions two years prior to the elections. This caveat seems to limit the presidential ambitions of most of the aspirants, notably the Vice Standard Bearer of the Liberty Party, Harrison Karnwea. The Code of Conduct continues to be a bottleneck in restricting political parties’ aspirants that failed to resign key appointment two years prior to the elections period and continue to hold their positions Rejected political candidates are of the firm belief that their bids should not be rejected by NEC since there is a provision under ECOWAS law which states that no country should institute any elections law six months prior to elections. This has brought the Supreme Court on the spotlight as it braces itself everyday in handling cases filed by aggrieved political parties. However, all those that have been seeking clarification from the court seem to be pursuing a fruitless endeavor, as the Court keep telling them that they should have known better and followed laid down procedures. Recently, NEC approved political parties and candidates that have gone through the vetting system as suitable to contest the coming election, but however made a room for addition as Supreme Court is yet to give verdicts on pending complaints. With the arrival of the ECONEC team headed by Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, who also doubles as the Chair of the Nigeria Independent Election Commission, this pressing matter will be timely addressed before the official declaration of the campaign. With the collaboration between NEC and ECONEC which comprises 15 ECOWAS countries including Liberia, every effort must be done to ensure that the October elections are not only peaceful, but free, fair and credible.