RECENTLY, THE HOUSE of Representatives of the 53rd National Legislature passed an Act to prevent what it calls obnoxious political activities in the General and Presidential Elections in Liberia otherwise referred to as the Level Field Act.
SECTION 2.1 OF THE ACT states that “All Executive Appointees desirous of campaigning for a candidate in the General or Presidential Elections or desirous of contesting for an elective office shall be free to do so, provided such individual resigns his/her post.
IN SECTION 2.2 IT also went on to say that Executive Appointees wanting to contest for President or Vice President shall resign their post three (3) years prior to the stipulated Election date in the Constitution of Liberia. Crafters of the Act also added in Section 2.3 of the Act that Executive Appointees wanting to contest for legislative seats shall resign two (2) years prior to the stimulated election date as enshrined in the Constitution of Liberia.
SECTION 2.4 OF THE Act also noted that Executive Appointees wanting to contest for elective offices at the local level shall resign their posts one year prior to the stipulated election date or as announced by the NEC.
IT ALSO STATED that Executive Appointees wanting to campaign for the candidate of their choice shall resign their posts on or before the effective date campaign official begins while section 3.1 says that Liberians working for International Humanitarian Organization (IHO) wanting to contest for the office of President, Vice President Senator, or Representative shall resign two years prior to the stipulated election date, among others.
WE DETEST AND vehemently reject the Level Field Act and with all due respect to our Honorable men and women in the House of Representatives, believe that this Act is unrealistic and does not in any way solve the political problem facing the country especially for a person contesting for the presidency to resign three years prior to the election.
WE ALL UNDERSTAND that participating in an electoral process is cost intensive meaning that one needs to have money to contest an election and this also means that that individual must have a job.
BUT THE LEVEL Field Act passed by the House raised lots of questions which need to be answered by our lawmakers. How can one contest an election in the absence of job? How realistic is it for an executive appointee to register and contest an election while that person is out of job for three years?
WHILE WE SUPPORT Section 4.1 of the Act which states that “No official of Government or incumbent legislators shall have the right to use government assets for campaign purposes, with the exception of the President and Vice president, we think that the Act is discriminatory and intended to deny others the right to contest for elected positions.
WE VEHEMENTLY REJECT the Level Field Act in the strongest terns and called on the Liberian Senate to thoroughly review it before making any decision as it seems to target certain individuals in the society.
LET OUR LAWMAKERS know that some of them were executive appointees before being elected to the legislature and as such let them rethink their decision because there is an African adage that “A TOWN TRAP IS NOT FOR RAT ALONE.”
IT IS BASED on this that we strongly reject this discriminatory Act and call on the Senate to reject it because it has no solution to the political situation in the country but to create confusion among our people.