CPP Doubts Supreme Court’s Independence

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According to the CPP, its petition to the Supreme Court for a Writ of Mandamus on the NEC did not ask the court, nor required Associate Justice Youh, to undertake any exemplary display of courage in the exercise of the authority and functions of her office.

By Joaquin M. Sendolo

The Supreme Court of Liberia is defined by the Constitution to be the highest and final arbiter justice from where no matter goes anywhere after rendering an opinion in a matter.  Though justices therein are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve for life and retired at the age of 70, the constitutional status of justices and judges allows them to exercise a great deal of independence and impartiality without fear or favor since they cannot be removed by dismissal by the will and pleasure of the President as it is in the cases of cabinet ministers and others under the Executive Branch of Government.

The thought that the Supreme Court should be independent and render an impartial judgment makes it imperative for all Liberians, regardless of political affiliation, to run there without prejudice or concern of injustice. However, this lofty expectation of the Supreme Court seems to be taking a twist, especially with the major opposition bloc, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) comprising four major political parties including the Alternative National Congress (ANC), All Liberian Party (ALP), Liberty Party (LP) and the former ruling Unity Party (UP), thinking otherwise how independent and impartial is the Court, having denied the CPP of its request for a writ of Mandamus against the National Elections Commission (NEC).

It can be recalled that on September 25, 2020, officials and members of the CPP marched to the Temple of Justice in a quest to file a writ of Mandamus before the highest court of the land to order the NEC to correct or clean what they see as “Messy” voters’ roll.  A writ of Mandamus is a court order compelling someone to execute a duty that they are legally obligated to complete, and it is also used to order a lower court or government agency to complete a duty to uphold the law or to correct an abuse of discretion (www.investopedia.com).   

After about a week into the request for a writ of Mandamus, Justice in Chamber, Sie-A-Nyene Youh, late last week denied the CPP’s request, thereby setting the NEC free to continue its activities that have raised eyebrows over the credibility of the impending senatorial election to be held on December 8.

“The CPP is outraged and offended by the decision of Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh, to decline on hearing its Petition for a Writ of Mandamus intended to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean up the 2017 Voters’ Roll.  While the CPP acknowledges the discretion of justices in chambers to accept to hear a petition or to decline to hear it, we also know that in electoral matters, it is improbable to decline such a petition,” the CPP release issued on October 7 said.

The CPP stressed that an election is a sacred process of democracy and, by Justice Youh’s decision not to grant their petition for a writ of Mandamus, “The Associate Justice also leaves the CPP sadly impressed that the Supreme Court, the anchor of our democracy, is wanting in courage, grievously stricken by a lack of independence, and overcome by external political considerations and maneuvers.”  

The CPP in its release further said: “By the brazenness of her decision, Associate Justice Youh has issued a warning to the CPP and the opposition community that challenging the integrity of the current electoral process is an exercise in outright futility.”

Additionally, the CPP said: “By electing to situate herself, the authority of her office and the Supreme Court between the CPP and the NEC, and thereby undertake to effectively shield the NEC from answering to what is truly and unavoidably at the heart of the credible conduct of the ensuing mid-term senatorial elections, the Associate Justice has confirmed to the CPP that the Supreme Court has parted with its sense of neutrality and fairness to decide matters of grave and urgent national concerns.  What the CPP cannot ignore, however, is that the decision of the Supreme Court has undermined the credibility of the upcoming elections.”

According to the CPP, its petition to the Supreme Court for a Writ of Mandamus on the NEC did not ask the court, nor required Associate Justice Youh, to undertake any exemplary display of courage in the exercise of the authority and functions of her office.

“Having failed in our repeated attempts to get the NEC to clean up the Voters’ Roll of 2017, and to assure us, by credible evidence, that it has done so; we felt constrained to simply petition the court, through the office of the Associate Justice, to compel the NEC to clean up the Voters’ Roll of 2017,” said CPP in its release.

In 2017 after the first poll in the presidential election, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine (now deceased) of the Liberty Party challenged to results of the election and went to the Supreme Court with a complaint of frauds and irregularities, thus putting an injunction on the runoff election.  After a month of legal battle between the NEC and Cllr. Brumskine, the Supreme Court on December 7, 2017, emerged with a ruling denying the rerun of the election, while acknowledging frauds and irregularities; thereby recommending for a total cleanup of the Voters’ Roll.

Since the Supreme Court mandated the cleanup, the NEC is yet to tell the public that it has made any attempt in that direction.  While taking over as the Chairperson for the NEC recently, Davidetta Browne-Lansanah publicly declared that before the senatorial election in December, her institution will have cleaned the voters’ roll and will ensure that there is credible election.

As the NEC is still in the process of convincing the public of its credibility and planned action to clean the voters’ roll, it began a mobile voters’ roll update exercise in September to regularize status of voters who have changed destinations and to replace those whose cards are missing.  The process, again, was reportedly marred by frauds ranging from voter trucking to double registrations.  There were reports of violence in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties where trucking and double registration reportedly took place.

With the cleaning up of voters’ roll still outstanding and the biggest opposition political bloc disputing the credibility of the Supreme Court where it could run in case of any legal concern, public comments that have been emerging that the election will not be credible. Moreso, the belief that NEC will do all it can to give victory to the ruling party in line with President Weah’s promise to “do everything to reclaim Montserrado” from Darius Dillon may now be the common denominator for the opposition to hold together.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I really wonder how and why people in higher places see nothing wrong for doing the wrong thing that could results in total destructions of our hard peace earned over the years. The very Supreme Court of our republic had just undermined a ruling passed by the same Supreme Court which I just find very hard to comprehend. How could our highest court contradict on verdict pertaining to the same case? Is this not mind bothering to the credibility of our nation highest court where we supposed to seek justice in times of conflicts? Despite the 2017 ruling from our Supreme Court had ordered the NEC to clean up the VR, which never happened, this ruling simply told us that, the 2017 ruling was nonsense and NEC should proceed to doing the wrong thing that smells violence?

    What was wrong for compelling the NEC to do what the previous Supreme Court had ordered? This judgement from our nation highest court is a recipe for disaster sitting on a timing bomb and waiting to set off. This time around,our international partnership hands are full, and we will have to solved our problem that’s being created now by ourselves because of loyalty to individual, rather than Liberia.

  2. A bunch of disorganized and unpatriotic lawless political neophytes with their appetitive desires for fundamentally money and power, in their ignoramus and vain characteristics, wanting Supreme Court Judges to bend backwards to their EXTREMELY CPP’S SELFISH AND TOTALLY UNREASONABLE whims and caprices.

    They are of the selfish and ignorant conviction that the judicial process is about “ME, ME, ME, ME“ as IS their CPP’S “ME, ME, ME, ME“ ideology and manifesto!

    What inter alia proves the aforementioned is the violence they perpetrated amongst themselves in Nimba the other day, resulting into what they call “primary“ been, by all implications, and expressions, HYPOCRITICAL, LACKADAISICAL, NOIL AND VOID with their so called Chairman distancing himself from any endorsement of their disorganized mob called CPP!

  3. The CPP is made up of bunch of greedy politicians who have stolen the future of Liberians over the years while in authority.
    How can the CPP condemned a Voter Roll that brought Darius Dillon to power just last year? Is it because the Liberian people are not as angry as they were last year which gave Dillon an upper hand as the exchange rate is a bit stable and government workers salaries are current?
    Dillon won on the fraustration of the citizens in their government to stabilize the exchange rate and regularly pay their employees; two concerns that have been addressed significantly already.

    Lastly, the national Elections Commission (NEC) has promised to cleanup the Voter Roll before December 8,so why the hurry and fear that has engulfed the CPP?

    • Mr. Victor sanyon! Are you really listening to yourself Ayer reading your post? When did the Supreme Court ordered the NEC to clean up the VR? Why you think they ordered the NEC to clean up the VR? To avoid fraud and elections violence or probably you have different reasons to update me with. The just gone election did not just bring Dillion’s to office but also brought A.B Kormah which brought many concerns as well because, Floyd Senyon was caught tampering with the same VR which should have been clean up long before any elections in Liberia.

      This is not about Dillion’s or CPP but about our elections process in Liberia. No one in their right mind will think that, Hon. Dillion being elected meant fixing the exchange rate problem or paying salaries on time in Liberia.was that your notion about Abu kromah being elected to bring down the U. S rate and salaries to be paid on time? Look, no one senator or representative can fix Liberia problems so why think Dillion can do it all by himself? We have problems on our hands in Liberia and partisan or party can not solve the problems on hands. Let stop this blame game and focus on what best for Liberia.

      Our country is slipping into crisis slowly and partisan is all I am hearing from people.and the blame game. The atmosphere in Liberia smell nasty, in terms of elections preparation from various front runners and if nothing is done to address the situation, it will be very troubling as we have witness 3 senseless death for no reasons. Do you really think that, the VR will be clean up before December elections? I don’t really care about CPP or political parties and our Supreme Court should have compell the NEC to do excatly what they were ordered to do previously, instead, they green light the activities of the NEC that smell violence if things remain on its course.

  4. It is very shameful when the Media the Guard Dog for society has become the contractor for the Highest Bidder, as Leymah Gbowee snapped recently.

    In other words, DAILY OBSERVER, is this all you have to tell us that: “CPP Doubts Supreme Court’s Independence”, but you cannot tell us why the Supreme Court has declined the hearing or denied the writ of mandamus? Like FPA, all we see you people parroting here is what CPP has said, AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FROM WHAT THE SUPREME COURT HAS SAID. WHAT SORT OF REPORTING IS THIS?

    You are saying “CPP Doubts Supreme Court’s Independence” while your intent to keep the public in the dark by not reporting WHAT THE SUPREME COURT HAS SAID VIZ WHY THE DECLINE OR THE DENIAL. Well, such unprofessional and diabolical conduct on your part is certainly a good cause to have the public doubt your independence.

    Or the reality is as Leymah Gbowee recently said that: “The media is doing little to expose all of the ills in Liberian society, but instead some media practitioners and institutions have become the bark dog for politicians or those who are providing them financial rewards in society.”???????

  5. The nation was stunned by the decision made by the Justice in Chambers at the nation’s Supreme Court to deny a petition from a citizen group, and what to make of the ruling from the Court. Especially so when the media as a watchdog failed to publish the actual transcript from the Court. Which in itself seemed to deny the reading public of its rights to be informed.
    The only course of action for redress now left to the citizen group known as CPP or collaborating party is community engagement. For the purpose of educating to neutralize negative decision from the Justice in Chambers concerning the negative impact it may have on collaborating party. More of a community engagement may proved to be an effective political strategy that against all odds, the people or citizens can count on the CPP to renew their faith and strength to correct a political system that has failed them.
    But first thing first for the community engagement is UNITY amongst the leadership of the collaborating party and how to strategize their effective messaging to the citizens interested in and wanting to see change.
    But one thing though, is this that the same Justices during the opening of the Court system that allegedly walked in for the ceremony perhaps along side of the faked Liberian Nigerian national ? Well she had no problem sitting or walking in the comfort of the faked Liberian Nigerian national who heads the nation’s anti-corruption Commission.
    The ruling from the Justice in Chambers just dealt a legal blow to the collaborating party, but not a political party blow. They just have their work cut out for them. And depending on how unified they will be moving forward, can break or strengthen them. Community engagement is the way forward outside of the legal system.
    Again, one thing though, watch out for stone throwing ambush incidents . The Justices have cast their votes. Your response must be community oriented education engagement peacefully. The political power is inherent in the public, not only in the political institutions.

  6. Daily Observer tells us of reaction by CPP to ruling on the writ of mandamus. It even gives us a 2017 Supreme Court’s decision on the same issue. Curiously, though, the newspaper failed – some would say refused – to include Justice Youh’s rationale for denying the motion. If a media outlet, which main role is informing Liberians conceals such a significant information, how, then, can readers determine fairness or unfairness of a ruling on which the CPP might base its next street protest? Dismayingly, Counselor Frederick Jayweh & CO would that everyone dance to the drums of ‘schooled’ dimwits.

  7. This article is what is referred to as A VERY CHEAP AND SILLY PROPAGANDA!!!! It is carried out in the interest of the source or sender (the editor and his or her paymasters), not the recipient (the public). It is misleading!!!! It conceals vital facts!!!! It is never fully truthful, and in most cases can be entirely untrue, as is the case of this article and as is the case with certain kinds of disinformation!!!!!

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