ECC Wants Code Of Conduct Section 5.2 Amended

By Mafanta Kromah

The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) is calling on the National Legislature to amend Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct and also called for a national conference to look at the modality in the implementation of the Code of Conduct particularly around Section 5.2.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday March 5, 2017 at the ECC office on 16th Street Sinkor in Monrovia, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the ECC, Oscar Bloh, noted that ECC respects the opinion of the Supreme Court regarding the legality of the Code of Conduct.
However, Bloh said the ECC is making the call “given the country’s history of political and socio-economic exclusion and in the spirit of consolidating the democracy and increasing citizens participation as well as strengthening the constitutional provision of all persons being equal before the law (Article 11c) and equal opportunity for work (Article 18).”
He stressed that the Government should conduct a national conference with all stakeholders from all sectors including the three branches of government, various embassies, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and all political parties to discuss the implementation of Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct.
In the same development, Bloh expressed the Committee’s concerns over the appointment of certain individuals by the President to enforce the implementation of the Code of Conduct.
He maintained that the Code of Conduct falls short of stating the qualifications, competencies, experience and tenure of individuals to run the office of the Ombudsman and how they can be removed.
Recently, the President issued Executive Order Number 83; she also appointed Christian Massaquoi, who has headed several security positions in the current government and is considered to be one of the president confidantes, as member of the office of the Ombudsman.
Atty. Edward Dillon, another appointee is said to be in close relationship with the Liberty Party and also said to have word in the office of the Brumskine & Associates/Pierre, Tweh & Associate Law Firm when the Ombudsman is an independent autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct.
Chairman Bloh affirmed that Section 4 of the Executive Order gives additional power to the office of the Ombudsman that is not prescribed in the Code of Conduct (Section 12.2) formulated in keeping with Article 90 (c) of the Liberian Constitution, noting the additional power includes the ability to investigate on its own initiative violation of the Code of Conduct.
Based on the said information on the two individuals, Bloh said the ruling establishment and to an opposition party undermine the “spirit and intent of the independence of the office of the Ombudsman, therefore they are not the most suitable Liberians to occupy these positions.”
“Given the sensitive nature of the implementation of Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the code of Conduct and their implications for the peace and security of the country during electoral process, we call on the president to withdraw or recall the appointed names mentioned above and undertake a wider consultative process with diverse stakeholders in nominating names to fill the office of the Ombudsman. If our call is not considered, we urge the Senate not to confirm them for same reasons provided above,” Oscar Bloh, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, indicated.
The Election Coordinating Committee is a non-partisan professional network of civil society organizations that mentors documents and report on election issues to promote transparency and accountability in the democratic process. The election work of the ECC is conducted in Partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).