To Certificate or Not to Certificate -Euphoria for Winners Certification Mounts – President-Elect Boakai Seeks Postponement
MONROVIA: It looks clearly that the chicks have come home to roast. Strange things are happening in Liberia in recent days, rightly predicted that an octogenarian’s presidency would be problematic. Thus, perhaps for the first time in history, a winning president is not in country at the lawful moment he’s needed to be certificated. Meanwhile, the euphoria for certification of all other winners by the National Elections Commission (NEC) fills the air, as families and partisans and the nation stand in ovation to see their relations get ordained into offices. Sadly, the highest political officer of the nation, president-elect Joseph N. Boakai, has begged for a postponement of his certification on account of his travel abroad for reasons still being debated. Some Liberians say the rare moment as proposed by the Unity Party and its Standard Bearer is permissible, and others say it is not, arguing that if it is granted, it would be a bad precedence that could also spill over to the inauguration date. The Analyst reports.
Liberian laws call for the certification of elected officials by the National Elections Commission (NEC), which for the 2023 general and presidential elections, has in its Key Dates December 8 for the conduct of this sacred political ritual.
Historical pundits are yet to confirm whether or not there has been precedence where a winner announced by the NEC and is unchallenged, more so for a president-elect, has asked for reassignment of certification date. However, the incoming ruling Unity Party is parting from the tradition. The UP is requesting a new date, not yet made specific, for the certification of President-elect Joseph Boakai who has traveled out of the country a week ago.
In a short release, the Unity Party announced it had officially informed the National Elections Commission (NEC) that due to the visit of the President-elect to the United States of America, the issuance of certificate for the winner of the November 14, 2023 Presidential election should be postponed until his return.
The Party said it would work with NEC to schedule a new date for the issuance of the certificate for the President and vice president-elect, and that the public would be informed when the new date is set.
Some Liberians say they feel disappointed that the UP and its standard-bearer would float elections guidelines at will. They have challenged the NEC not to cooperate.
“If the NEC tomorrow does not certificate the president-elect in absentia, or if it does not take punitive action against Boakai for the boycott, and bows to the demand of the Unity Party, the Commission would be giving credit and validation to critics who say the commission is an UP cell in disguise,” said J. Talue Kingston on a local radio last night.
He said further: “As far as we know, only winners that are challenged and have their complaints under investigation are exempt from certification. What is so urgent, important and sacred about travelling to the United States than staying at home to complete the democratic and electoral formalities upheld by our tradition so much that Boakai could not wait for his certification before leaving.”
Another radio commentator, Ashford Menjay said: “These wicked Unity Party people were told that they were not doing Liberia well in having Joseph Boakai at the presidency, and that the old man himself could not hear the whistle of the hunter. See where we have come. How sure are we that this whole thing is not going to reach the inauguration—that there would not soon be another excuse to postpone the inauguration for the same reasons the request for certification postponement is being made.”
However, other Liberians disagree, stating that the request neither violates any law nor hurts anything if the NEC grants the excuse and the plea for postponing the president-elect’s certification.
Timothy C. Kai, a school teacher put it this way: “Those having problem with the request for postponing certification of the president-elect needed to know, first and foremost, that there is no such law as to deny the request of the Unity Party. If anyone disagrees, let them show the law. Besides, the most important is that Boakai won the elections. The numbers are lively, breathing. The NEC, at the end of the counting process, announced publicly and loudly that Boakai is the winner of the presidency. Certification does not change anything. Certification is a matter of pomp and pageantry of the electoral process. It is not the crux of the process. Certification can be held any time before inauguration.”
Kai and his likes who support this school of thought say Boakai will be in country before inauguration and called on Liberians not to panic or bask in cynicism.
Meanwhile, candidates who are clear of litigations are in high spirits along with their constituents and families to attend today’s certification by the NEC.
Off the tedious and long process of electioneering, the final and important requirements under the electoral laws is certification of elected lawmakers towards preparation for their inauguration next year.
The last few days have witnessed some of the incoming lawmakers making frantic efforts to make the day a memorable one in their lives. Relatives and friends from near and far, including the diaspora, have reportedly come from various locations around the world to grace the occasion.
These massive preparations are outside the official activities planned by the government as a customary affairs which changes from one era and event to another.
The population of Monrovia has been swelling in recent time with some of the people who are visibly being seen in town are from the Southeastern part of the country, despite the huge challenge of travelling from one place to another in the region.
Some observers say they notice that most night clubs, eateries, entertainment centers are not left in the frays as they have been incurring new looks set to host a huge number of fun seekers and those who have long crave for such a big occasion to be melted into its celebration.
The certification process is the final stage of authenticating election that the candidate has been finally cleared to be inaugurated
Not all elected persons will be certificated tomorrow as others still have cases at NEC from complaints filed against them.
The certification process will add to the current momentum being built around the ongoing campaign for the leadership positions in the ensuing 55th National Legislature.