Special Awards In Pictures

-Cites Abuses & Denials Of Utilities Use
The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has released its new report regarding the October 10 polls titled ‘Electoral Integrity and Abuse of Incumbency Report’

IREDD 300x200In report released Monday, September 11, 2017 at IREDD head office in Monrovia, the group project manager, Mercy Sackey cited that the report is aimed at strengthening electoral integrity in the October 10 legislative and presidential elections in the country. Madam Sackey said the report covered a period of three months and was conducted in the 15 political sub-divisions of the country.
“From June 2017, IREDD embarked on monitoring electoral malfeasance with the objective of contributing to strengthening electoral integrity in the October 10, 2017 legislative and presidential elections. Today’s report sheds light on the outcome of the monitoring exercise over the past three months across the 15 political sub-divisions,” the report stated.
The report claimed that during these electoral processes, IREDD has observed that opposition political parties have been denied access to public facilities, like community and district town halls, something the group thinks must not be happening.
Citing direct instance, Madam Sackey alleged that the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) was denied the usage of the Foya Town Hall on June of this year, weeks after they had already paid for the usage of the hall.
“Similarly, on July 27th, 2017 Cllr. Fonati Kofa of the Liberty Party was denied usage of the town hall in Buah in Gee District on grounds that the caretaker of the hall had travelled to Monrovia. At the same time our local monitor reported that the Alternative National Congress (ANC) was denied access to use of the same town hall upon the instructions of the incumbent lawmaker, Representative Numenee Bartewa,” IREDD report disclosed.
The report furthers that in Section 1.3.20 of the Code of Conduct all government officials whether appointed or elected are to adhere to the code of conduct regardless of status in government, but according to the report, it is observed that some incumbent lawmakers have turned their official vehicles into campaign vehicles as they go about campaigning for either themselves or some presidential candidates, something the group also believes should stop immediately.
IREDD continued in its report that it has observed again, the gross violation of Section 8.1 and 8.2 of the same Code of Conduct which among other things prohibits officials and employees of government from using public facilities and the service of public servants for unofficial purposes and party gains, noting, making direct reference to May 11, 2017 when several lawmakers used the rotunda of the Capitol Building to pledge support to the presidential bid of vice president Joseph Boakai.
At the same time, IREDD has frown at the National Elections Commission (NEC) over the certification of those they claimed as sitting-government officials to contest for legislative seats in the pending October 10 elections.
IREDD said it believes that this is a clear violation of Section 5.2A of the Code of Conduct, which calls for the resignation of all appointed official desiring to contest elected posts two or three years prior to election year.
The report named Ministers Julia Duncan Cassell, Varney Sirleaf and J. Fonati Kofa of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs respectively among others as those perceived not to resign prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Meanwhile, the IREDD has condemned in the strongest term the use of Capitol Building, the seat of the legislature as a political campaign ground for many legislators for their respective presidential candidates, and by that the organization warns that the legislature is a public office and not a political party office, adding that lawmakers` continuous action to turn the legislature into campaign grounds is shameful and must stop.

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