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NEC Timetable vs The Liberian Constitution

I heard some people saying that the National Election Commisssion or NEC is in violation of the constitution by certificating presidential candidates that did not meet all the requirements as laid down in and under the Liberian constitution. Those persons have however argued that, such violation should be allowed to pass and give the voters the opportunity to decide the fates of those "unqualify" or constitutionally ineligible candidates by voting or not voting for them on Election Day. I heard others saying that although those candidates did not meet all the requirements but since that was not caught earlier and the candidates disqualified; we should allow such violation to stand. According to them, the time to allow, not allow or challenge the candidacy of presidential aspirants has passed as per the election time table. In their view, when time table is put against the constitution, timetable takes preeminence. What that means is timetable is now ABOVE the constitution. In Liberia.

Elections results can be challenged. If a candidate who does not meet the constitutional requirement is elected, the "losers" can sue or take the issue to court. And unless election time table is above the constitution, that result will be annulled and perhaps a new election date set. Talking about cost and the upheavals that normally accompany disputed elections results or elections results that are in violation of the constitution, which is better – to do the right thing now or wait to find a way out after the results are out? I think the right thing to do is to honor the constitution now, not later. I don’t know who is qualify or not based on the residency requirement. I don’t care much. I have no idea on how long each contestant was in the country. I care more about the constitution being adhered to so as to avoid plunging into the nation in chaos. Whether the residency means exactly as it is written in the constitution or something else, let us make sure that those who want to lead us meet the requirements. To say that we cannot look at that particular constitutional requirement now because the time to do so has already passed or forget all about it and let the voters do what the law suppose to do is not only idiotic but simply kicking the can down the road. If not addressed now, it will come back to bite our butts.

The NEC abdicating its responsibilities to the Legislators to enforce the election laws is another thing that is unheard of. If the NEC is unsure about what the law says, the legislature is not the right place for the interpretation of the law regarding the residency clause.

As our people say, "which is better to fall down while standing or fall while sitting?" To make the correction now and perhaps postpone the Election Day by a few weeks or month is like falling while seated. To gloss over such constitution contravention only to face the consequences after an unconstitutional election results is likened to falling while standing." May God help the NEC and all those concerned to do what is right and legal for our country.

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