|Human rights lawyer |
Former Solicitor General, Tiawon Gongloe
Written by Kennedy L. Yangian FPA Staff Writer
Source: Front Page AFrica
Barely few days to the holding of what observers consider crucial presidential and legislative elections in the country, a human rights lawyer and former solicitor general, Tiawon Gongloe has commented on what he says is a crucial electoral issue.
In an FPA interview Tuesday, October 4, 2011 surrounding issues pertaining to the pending elections most importantly the issue of corruption, Cllr. Gongloe said despite various platforms put forth by the contesting political parties including that of the ruling Unity Party(UP), there has been no strategy by the parties toward the fight of corruption.
“Corruption is a very serious electoral issue but I have not heard anything, any strategy from the opposition or the ruling party as to what to do than what they've done to fight corruption in the last six years.
According to Cllr. Gongloe the Code of Conduct Bill introduced in the Senate by him was one step to curtail corruption but the bill introduced since 2007 up to present still lay before the senate which he thinks will not be passed.
He said all of the political parties in the country are represented at the House but only few of the members were able to sit with him to discuss the bill, instead, the Senate was able to pass a bill which just spent two months on the Senate’s floor to give political parties US$2M.
Cllr Gongloe noted that what worries him most is that the Senate was able to pass a bill to put money in someone’s pocket and leave out bill that will stop corruption and bring pride and dignity to government. Commenting on the issue of the pending election just few days away, Cllr. Gongloe called on Liberians to be patient as the Supreme Court carries out litigation into the 10-year residency clause.
According to Cllr. Gongloe government has three distinct branches which has separate powers and if matter does arise from two of the branches the matter rests with the Supreme Court to find an amicable solution as the court is noted for peace and not to ferment conflict.
Conduct of the elections
Still on the pending elections, the human rights lawyer said that the 2011 elections was very interesting because this is the first time in more than 50 years in the country’s history for a sitting president to compete in a highly competitive election and has the opportunity to maintain the presidential seat.
Again, the human rights lawyer said the election is also interesting because this will be the first time in the country that if the sitting president loses the election there will be a new person to replace her as was the case of former president William V.S. Tubman in 1943.
On the issue of the election being rigged as been speculated in certain quarters, Cllr. Gongloe said there is no possibility for rigging the election because the commissioners are men and women of integrity who have history for fighting for a better Liberia.
He said those on the election don’t want to go down in the history of Lafayette Harmon 1927 who conducted an election where there was less voters than the results he announced for Charles C.D. King to win the election to become president.
Also on the issue of free fair and transparent elections, Cllr. Gongloe reiterated that members of the election commission don’t want to go down in the history like Emmett Harmon who conducted a questionable election.
On the issue of the slogan of the Unity Party in the upcoming elections, ‘let baboon wait small monkey is still working’, the human rights lawyer said he doesn’t want to get involved with interpreting slogans but Liberians are against negative slogans because it has the propensity to negatively impact the polls.
Commenting on the indefinite suspension of Liberia Broadcasting System Director-General Ambrose Nmah for airing the press conference of the opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change CDC, Cllr. Gongloe said he doesn’t want to hear the reason given for that suspension and there should be other reasons than the one being provided.
However, Cllr Tiawon Gongloe admonished Liberians that as they go to the polls to not think of what they will get from the winner but the future and stability of the country. He promised that come January of next year when a new government is seated, he will ensure through the legislation that criminal malevolence law against the press is repealed.