President Sirleaf Comments on Municipal and Mayoral Elections Debate, Says She Remains Committed To the Principle of Elections

Tuesday, 11th September 2007
President Sirleaf with Presenters: Armah Pabai and Wellington Geevon Smith
President Sirleaf with Presenters: Armah Pabai and Wellington Geevon Smith
Photo Credit: Ousman Diallo/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says her government subscribes completely to the principles of elections for public officials. The President said she would even support the election of a superintendent if there were a constitutional reform calling for the election of superintendents.

Commenting on the holding of Chieftaincy and municipal elections in the country, the President said, given the multiplicities of cities created by successive Legislatures over the years, coupled with estimates by the National Elections Commission, it would be totally unaffordable to hold mayoral elections under the circumstances. Grand Kru and Sinoe counties alone account for more than sixty cities, a situation which also prevails in several other counties.

Addressing her regular monthly radio call-in program ‘Conversation with the President,’ on Tuesday, the the Liberian leader disclosed that the National Elections Commission along with the Ministry of Internal Affairs are  undertaking an assessment, with the view of defining what constitutes a city. Once that is done, the President said, the relevant authorities would revisit the laws with the view of considering a repeal of some of the laws which will spell out the right number of cities in the counties, “so that we can move toward elections and look towards establishing the timetable for those elections.”

The President observed that majority of those serving as mayors were not elected, but added that where they are performing well, government would want them to continue their work. The President, however said, there are others who are selling public land and extorting money from business people. “We have to find a way to get people in those offices who will work with us until elections are held…we want to see elections held,” the President maintained.

The Liberian leader disclosed that discussions are taking place with Law makers to find a way forward. She said no formal proposal has been submitted to the Body for consideration, but that there is ongoing dialogue with members of the national legislature.

The President said, government needs individuals who are committed and dedicated and individuals who will work and carry out the country’s development agenda in the cities until elections are held, expressing the hope that they will be held sometime next year.