Authorities of the four collaborating political parties, which include the Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), and All Liberian Party (ALP), have filed before the Supreme Court an alternative writ of mandamus, praying the court to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC), the House of Representative and the Executive Branch of the government to conduct the Representative by-election in both Montserrado and Sinoe Counties on or before October 28, 2020.
The vacancies in both District #2 in Sinoe County, and District#9 in Montserrado County, were created by the deaths of Representatives J. Nagbe Sloh on June 30, 2020, and Munah Pelham Youngblood on July 8, 2020.
The lawsuit comes just days after Chamber Justice of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Sie-A- Nyene Youh, refused to issue a writ of mandamus against the conduct of the voter roll update.
In their petition, the CPP argues that the Legislature as though gravely unmindful of its constitutional duty and as a demonstration of further disregard for the fundamental law of the country, notified the NEC of the death of Sloh on September 10, 2020, seventy –two (72) days after his death, while in the case of Rep. Youngblood was also September 10, sixty-four (64) days after her death. “In both cases the notifications were issued well beyond the time frame mandated by the Constitution,” said the CPP.
They further argued that building on the illegal and unconstitutional foundation laid by the Legislature in not notifying the NEC within 30 days of the vacancies created in the Legislature by the deaths of Sloh and Youngblood, “It is profoundly regrettable to bring to the attention of the court that the NEC has declared that it will conduct the by- election for these two vacancies on December 8, 2020,” the lawsuit indicates.
They also argued that NEC’s unilateral announcement without the involvement of the political parties to conduct the by-elections to fill the two vacancies on December 8 “is a deliberate, calculated, wanton and vicious assault on the letter and spirit of the 1986 Constitution and with callous disregard for its consequences.”
They also argued that “It shows how gravely unmindful the NEC has become of its constitutional duty and the fundamental laws of the country.”
The suit also argued that the Constitution has expressly stipulated a time period and specifically designated the total time period of 120 days within which by-election shall be conducted.
“The pronouncement made by the NEC to the effect that it will conduct the by-elections to fill the existing vacancies in the House of Representatives on December 8 is an act completely without the pale of the law,” the lawsuit said.
Therefore, the lawsuit argued, the “Issuance of the writ of mandamus is instructing the NEC to perform its constitutional and statutory duty by conducting the pending by-elections in strict conformity with the constitutionally mandated timelines.”