It appears that the senatorial by-elections for Bong and Montserrado Counties risk postponement as the National Elections Commission continues to cry for lack of funding.
At a news conference in Monrovia on Tuesday, March 13, NEC Chairman Jerome George Korkoya reveals that the commission is faced with serious financial crisis that has a propensity to undermining the electoral date as created by the electoral house.
He laments that candidates’ nomination which should have commenced this week is now proposed to a later date. The commission has since issued warrant for the holding of the two by-elections for Montserrado and Bong Counties.
Cllr. Korkoya says NEC needs about US$3.9 million for conduct of the by- elections for the two counties, which comes about as a result of Senators George Manneh Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor emerging winners of the 2017 Presidential elections, creating a void at the Liberian Senate to be filled within 90 days.
The 1986 Constitution of Liberia Article 37 states: In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death, resignation, and expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30 days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held; provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the holding of such general elections.”
“Aware of the limited timeframe within these by-elections must be completed, the steering committee commenced work almost immediately and has developed a budget for the delivery of these elections, amounting to US$3.9 million together with a clear electoral contender,” Mr. Korkoya indicates.
Giving statistics of the two counties, the NEC boss explains that Bong and Montserrado Counties have a total of 2,292 polling places with 1,970 of these in Montserrado County along and Bong County accounting for 502.
“This represents a total of 43 percent of the total number of 5390 polling places in Liberia. An estimated of 12,000 temporary field staff, including poll workers, gender mobilizers, civic educators and election supervisors will be required for the two by-elections.”
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne