Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper has said there is a need for portions of the Code of Conduct, especially the one that deals with the eligibility of aspirants for the upcoming elections, to be amended.
Cooper, who is also an aspirant for the presidency in the upcoming Presidential and Legislative Elections, noted that Liberians are particularly concerned about the eligibility portion of the Code of Conduct and as such, “Issues that are considered sticky should be critically looked at by the Legislature.”
“As Legislators, we are under obligation to clean the law up, especially those clauses that Liberians and politicians are having problem with to ensure that the elections are competitive, violence free and credible,” the Margibi County lawmaker stressed.
Meanwhile, he has called on Liberians to read the Code of Conduct entirely and not just a particular portion they consider important, adding, “Though there are clauses in that law that I think violate the constitutional rights of people, there are also good things in the code of conduct that must be looked at as well.”
According to him, whether or not the Code of Conduct is good or bad it is now a law and as such, people who believe that the law will stop them from partaking in the elections should now begin liaising with the Legislature to ensure that those clauses are amended before the process begins.
Senator Cooper, however, believes that those who should be stopped from participating in the elections should be appointed officials who are guilty of using public money to fund their political activities.
The Supreme Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia on March 6 ruled in favor of the controversial National Code of Conduct Act which was submitted to the 53rd National Legislature in 2009 and passed by the Legislature in 2014.
The Court’s decision was based on a petition filed by Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson-Mappy, who argued that the Code was unconstitutional.
A section of the law calls for all appointed public officials to resign their positions two years prior to an election; something that the Bong Superintendent and those likely to be caught in this web see as gross violation to their rights.
The Supreme Court, however, opined that the Act was enacted on the wisdom of the Legislature in the supreme interest of the Liberian people to protect the resources of the country from abuse by public officials and to create a plain/level political field for all contesting candidates.
Their decision also said, “The Act is not, in our opinion, repugnant to or in conflict with any provision of the Constitution to warrant its declaration as being unconstitutional as contended by the petitioner.”