Liberia: Supreme Court Orders Recount in G. Bassa District #5

—-Orders NEC to certificate Clarence Banks as winner of G. Bassa District 2 election, trashes Rep. Mary Karwor’s complaint

The Supreme Court has issued an order for a recount of all the ballots cast in District #5, Grand Bassa County during the October 10 legislative election. This decision comes as the court continues to hear challenges regarding legislative elections conducted on October 10, 2023.

The request for a recount was made by Madam Christine Juah Settro Dennis of the Unity Party (UP) for specific precincts including the Old Camp, Zono Town, and Gbowee precincts.

Dennis, who appealed the election results, claimed that voters were denied their right to vote in the Zono precinct as the supervisor closed the center after 6 p.m., even though many voters were still waiting in line. She also raised concerns about polling places in the Old Camp, Zono, and Gbowee areas where she alleged that voters were denied entry and police were called to remove voters from the premises.

Additionally, she stated that the ballot boxes arrived late in the Gbowee area, causing many voters to leave before they could cast their votes. In light of these allegations, the Supreme Court has ordered a recount and will reassess the situation to ensure a fair and accurate representation of the voters’ choices in District #5, Grand Bassa County.

According to them, the appellant alleged that there were alterations and inconsistencies in the Representative Records of the Counts in two polling places in District #5, but failed to produce the Representative Record of the Counts to substantiate her allegation, “same cannot be sustained,” the court said.

The candidate from the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Thomas Goshua, won the election with 49 votes.

The court, however, dismissed the contention by Dennis for a re-run of the election in the Zono Town Precinct. Considering the narrow margin and the equitable nature of a recount process, the court deemed it imperative to recount all the votes cast in Electoral District #5 of Grand Bassa County.

“The appellant’s appeal is hereby denied in part and granted in part. The ruling of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the National Elections Commission (NEC)  denying a re-run in Precinct 09013, Zondo Town School, is hereby affirmed, and the ruling denying a recount is hereby reversed,” the court ruled.

The high court said in its ruling Wednesday that the evidence presented by candidate Dennis established that the polls were open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and her witnesses’ testimonies did not provide any contrary information. Therefore, the court maintained that her request for a re-run in the Zono Town Public School precinct could not be sustained and that allegations without evidence could not be held.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also ordered NEC to certificate Clarence Banks as winner of October 10 election in Grand Bassa District 2 as the high court trashed incumbent Representative, Mary Karowr, complain

Supreme Court has ruled against Rep. Karwor, thereby affirming the ruling of the National Election Commissioners that declared Clarence Banks as the winner of the October 10, 2023 election in District Number 2, Grand Bassa County.

After the October 10, 2023, General Elections, NEC announced Independent Candidate Banks as winner of the election in Grand Bassa County District 2.

Following the pronouncement of the NEC’s results, former Grand Bassa District 2 lawmaker Mary Karwor filed an appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners.

In its ruling on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, the Supreme Court stated that mere allegation does not constitute proof, and unless said allegation is supported by evidence it shall remain mere allegation.

The latest rulings from the Supreme Court are the second and third regarding the 2023 legislative elections of the court in less than a week.

The Supreme Court last Friday called for a rerun in Maryland County electoral district #2 after invalidating the result of the October 10, 2023, contentious legislative election in two polling places in Old Sodoken Town precinct. The court ordered a new vote in the area. 

The high court said the National Elections Commission (NEC) should conduct a rerun in polling places #1 and #2 at the precinct with code #27020. The order for rerun followed allegations of fraudulent activities and interference. That decision gave a lifeline to embattled former Speaker Bhofal Chambers, who, according to the official NEC results, was defeated by the candidate of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Anthony Williams.