The National Elections Commission (NEC) has threatened to reject the nomination applications of political hopefuls engaged in pre-campaign activities and who fail to take down their promotional materials and statements within 72 hours.
The Commission views such as a violation of Chapter V. Section 5.2 (b) of the Campaign Regulations which forbids individuals with political ambition from publishing printed materials with pictures on billboards, placards, posters and banners that tend to promote their quest when campaign has not been declared open.
NEC Chairman Jerome G. Korkoya made the disclosure at a news conference held Monday at the Commission’s headquarters in the Monrovia suburb of Sinkor, during which he provided an update on the ongoing 2017 voter registration exercise.
Korkoya cited as examples, a billboard at the ELWA Market area with the picture of one Rufus Tull, and another at the intersection of Duport Road and the road leading into Zubah Town in Paynesville with a promotional message and the picture of one Kanio Bai Gbala.
“We call on these individuals and all others who we may not be able to name to take down those billboards within 72 hours,” he said, adding that the commission will reject their nomination applications if they fail to adhere to this warning.
Meanwhile, Korkoya has also vowed to refer all reports about voters trucking to the Ministry of Justice for action.
He noted that the commission has received a petition from some residents of Electoral District #14 in Montserrado County in which they accused one Abraham Vamuyan Conneh of trucking people into the district to register.
Korkoya said: “Because trucking is a criminal offense and we do not have prosecutorial powers over crimes, all such reports will be referred to the Ministry of Justice for action.”
In a related development, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced the closure of four voter registration centers in two counties.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia Monday, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya said two of the centers are in Montserrado County, while the other two are in Bong County.
Korkoya stated that the centers were closed because they have already reached the maximum number of 3,000 registrants prescribed by the commission.
At the same time, the NEC boss has acknowledged that the creation of 300 additional registration centers across the country to provide easy access to registration and reduce walking distances in rural communities, did not materialize.
Korkoya noted that additional measures will be put in place to alleviate the plight of people in the leeward counties, particularly women, many of whom, in addition to domestic tasks, have to walk long distances to register.
He added that the NEC has instructed its magistrates to compile a list of places where a sizeable number of citizens live, but lack registration centers.