The political landscape of Liberia leading to the 2017 Presidential and Legislative polls is getting tense by the day to the extent that political actors as well as ordinary citizens are reading the lips of everyone keenly. There is already an alleged culprit, Defense Minister Brownie Samkai, of the public snare for publicly declaring his support for Vice President Joseph N. Boakai’s Presidential bid come 2017 in contravention of the Code of Conduct.
Consequently, the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is calling for the dismissal of the Liberian Minister in accordance with Part 5 section 5.1 a, b, c; section 5.2 and section 5.10 in the Act of the Public Officials’ Code of Conduct PART V of the law states “political participation- all Officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not: a) Engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices; b) use Government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities; c) serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate. 5.2 Wherein, any person in the category stated in section 5.1 herein above, desires to canvass or contest for an elective public position, the following shall apply; a) Any Minister, Deputy Minister, Director-General, Managing Director and Superintendent appointed by the President pursuant to article 56 (a) of the Constitution and a Managing Director appointed by a Board of Directors, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two (2) years prior to the date of such public elections.” Addressing a news conference at the party’s headquarters, the Secretary General of the CDC Janga Kowo said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf needs to take serious administrative action including dismissing Minister Samukai for allegedly breaching the law set forth by the government of Liberia. The CDC Chief Scribe said the Defense Minister’s statement of support to VP Boakai also undermines the neutrality of the Armed Forces Liberia (AFL) which he supervises as administrative head. He said the act of public office abuse by the defense minister undermined the confidences of political actors in the upcoming election in 2017. Liberia Defense Minister Samukai last week publicly declared his support to his kinsman Joseph Boakai, when he was interviewed on the VOA noting it was his right to do so. Earlier, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor called for the resignation of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai for reportedly declaring his support for Vice President Joseph N. Boakai’s presidential bid. Senator Taylor said the Defense Minister’s statement on a local talk-show circumvents the Code of Conduct which prohibits political appointees from making political declaration for a political candidate or hopeful. The Bong County strongwoman said the Defense Minister, as an individual under the code of conduct, has a political right to cast his vote for his political choice, but not to publically take the Vice President on a political fanfare and declare support for a political candidate. Senator Taylor observed that the Armed Forces of Liberia is an ultimate guarantor of peace and security, and based on the Defense Minister statement, he has factionalized the army; therefore the neutrality of the military has become questionable.