By Prince S. Nagbe
Monrovia, March 19 (LINA) – The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has said the US$ 3.9 million budget submitted to the government to hold the Senatorial by-elections in Montserrado and Bong counties is « reasonable. »
Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah’s comment is in reaction to a statement by Finance Minister Samuel Tweah at a press conference in Monrovia recently claiming that the budget submitted by NEC in the tone of US$ 3.9 million for the conduct of the by-elections is high for a government that inherited a crumbling economy.
Tweah emphasized that following a thorough and critical review of the NEC’s budget by financial experts at the ministry, it was agreed that US$1.3 million is sufficient to conduct of the two elections.
But, Korkoyah on a local radio station in Monrovia on Monday noted that election is « a critical and specialized technical matter » which harnesses credibility and legitimacy that every Liberian seeks in an electoral process.
He claimed that election is pretty expensive, and as such US$3.9 million cannot be too huge for the conduct of the two by-elections.
He argued that apart from war, election is the second most expensive venture that any government can undertake, because it generates huge material and human resources due to set rules by international bodies that are to be followed to obtain credible results accepted by vast majority of the people.
« When people vote, they confer on those who participate, the legitimacy to act on their behalf and that such legitimacy can only be achieved through the execution of coordinated set of standards which are very expensive in any electoral process, » Korkoyah stressed.
The NEC boss said though the commission has not received official information from the Finance Minister on the matter, it was necessary to provide the basic information to give a clearer picture of why the budget presented by NEC is not very high as has been seen in the eyes of the Finance Minister.
It can be recalled that the NEC began preparation for the conduct of two by-elections in Montserrado and Bong counties respectively after the Senate informed the Commission of two vacancies as a result of the election of Sen. George Weah of Montserrado County and Jewel Howard-Taylor of Bong County as President and Vice President on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change in December of last year.