Monrovia – Liberia’s National Elections Commission(NEC) has confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that two vice presidential candidates in the upcoming presidential elections have been rejected barely 24 hours after they presented their respective listing of candidates to contest the race in October.
Mr. Henry Flomo, spokesperson for NEC confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Friday that Harrison Karnwea, former managing director of the Forestry Development Authority(FDA), running mate to Liberty Party’s Charles Walker Brumskine and Jeremiah Sulunteh, a former Ambassador to the United States of America, running mate to Mr. Alexander Cummings, standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress(ANC) have both been denied participation in the upcoming presidential election.
Officials from both the LP and ANC have confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that they have been notified.
Karnweah stepped down in March this year and announced his exit from the ruling Unity Party few days later as he signed on to the opposition Liberty Party.
In crossing over to the ruling party in March, Mr. Karnwea promised “to work overtime” to ensure that the party wins in October. “By this acceptance here, now and today, my intent and desire for the vice standard bearer position of the LP are hereby created and expressed,” he said.
He trumpeted his membership in the LP as the most unified ticket in the upcoming presidential race.
“Sincerely speaking, I see no ticket so unifying Liberians than our ticket that sends out a clear message that ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ I see no ticket deserving victory than our ticket. I see no ticket that can be easily entrusted with the future of this country other than our ticket,” Karnwea said to rounds of applause from the floor.
“I see no ticket that sends out a clear and loud message of peace, reconciliation and unity than the LP’s ticket that features Brumskine and I.”
Mr. Sulunteh for his part, walked out of the ruling party in February, and crossed over to the ANC a month later.
He had previously served as Minister of Post and Telecommunications and Minister of Transport. He is also a former senior national vice chairman of UP.
In crossing over to the ANC Mr. Sulunteh said in March, that his decision to quit the UP is primarily to maintain Bong County’s oneness, noting, “Because some politicians have created an artificial rift between Internal Affairs Minister Henrique Tokpa and I for a possible vice presidential pick for the UP.”
He said his decision to join the ANC was based on the leadership ability of Alexander B. Cummings, the party’s political leader. He promised to support Mr. Cummings throughout the length and breadth of the country until victory is certain at the pending October polls.
“The leadership and dedication of Cummings to Liberians over the years has inspired me to join the ANC,” Sulunteh said, adding that structural cohesion at the ANC has impressed him as well.
“I have come to say, ‘send me,’ and have come also for us to sail Liberia to the destination where our children and children’s children can be proud of,” Sulunteh declared to the beat of drums and traditional songs.
Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the Code of Conduct that provides that "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 parties or political activities.
The CoC also states that such persons cannot (c) Serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaigns of any independent candidate.
Section 5.2 says "Wherein any person in the category stated in section 5.1 desires to canvass or contests 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 Director, who desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post at least two years prior to the date of such public election.
"(b) Any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office shall resign said post three years prior to the date of such public election.
"(c) However, in the case of impeachment, death, resignation or disability of an elected official, any official listed above desirous of canvassing or contesting to fill such position must resign said post within thirty days, following the declaration of the National Election Commission (NEC) of the vacancy.
Meanwhile, FrontPageAfrica has also learned that NEC has extended the deadline for presidential candidates to choose their running mates by ten days.
A spokesperson for the Liberty Party has meanwhile taken offense to the extension, suggesting that the extension is an attempt to favor the Vice President Joseph Boakai who is yet to name his running mate.“Liberty Party has condemned the extension as an attempt to give comfort to Vice President Joseph Boakai who has failed to make a selection of vice president in time.
The election rigging has begun,” A senior LP official speaking on condition of anonymity said Friday. The party is expected to hold a news conference later today.
Others also likely to face rejection are former Central Bank of Liberia(CBL) governor J. Mills Jones whose party, the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) are yet to finalized its listing for the upcoming presidential elections.
Jones stepped down from his position in April 2016. His party have argued that he did not harbor an intent to run until after his resignation.
Mr. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr, the National Chairman of the MOVEE said in March this year: “A desire can only be made known by an individual yearning, longing, aspiring.
This is why we are saying with emphasis that Dr. Jones has never at any point in time when he served as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and even after his tenure of service at the Central Bank of Liberia expressed his desire to contest for any public elective office.
It is very important to stress that whether or not the Code of Conduct is constitutional, is immaterial to Dr. Jones.
The fact is that after his invaluable and exemplary service at the Central Bank of Liberia as its Executive Governor, Dr. Jones got in the race today in response to the petition from the Liberian people.Dr.Jones decided to honor the request of the Liberian people who petitioned him.
Maxwell asserted that the Code of Conduct is not just about public officials resigning to run for elective offices, but about a number of other ethical related issues, nepotism for instance.
This is what the Code of Conduct says about nepotism. “Section9.7 : Nepotism: A Public Official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in a civilian or military position in the agency or branch of Government in which he or she is serving or have jurisdiction or control, any individual who is a Relative, as defined in Section 1.3.21 of this Code.”