Cllr. Muana S. Ville yesterday overruled and denied the appeal of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) in the case involving the party and Mr. George V. Curtis, due to acts that contravened the legal framework of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
Handing down his ruling at his hearing chambers on the grounds of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Ville said “After receiving the points from both the petitioner and the respondent in the case concerning the ANC Montserrado District 17 failed primary, and dwelling on the merits and demerits thereof, this office hereby nullifies the respondent’s appeal to overlook the petitioner’s concerns.”
He said the ANC did not inform his office of the results after the specified 72 hours (Thursday to Saturday) last week, and NEC’s nomination form and a certificate bearing the name of Abraham C. Sesay were clear violations of the Dispute Hearing Office’s orders; and therefore, punishable by law. “Our ruling which was pending on July 12 was grossly hit by the party’s submission of Sesay to go through nomination on the 11th of the same month,” he said.
Ville added that the ANC’s dissolution of the names of delegates submitted into evidence and bringing onboard new names to vote prior to its holding of a “kangaroo” primary was illegal “and thereby challenged the sincerity of the party to justify its fairness to all participating in the country’s political process through it.”
The party’s lawyer argued that Curtis is the sitting mayor of the city of Brewerville and as such the possibility of his face becoming an issue of relevance on the party’s ticket may not be ensured. But countering the argument, Curtis’ lawyer said their client cannot be barred from participating in the electoral process because records show that he resigned a little over two years ago.
Curtis on July 10 filed a complaint to the elections Dispute Hearing Office of the NEC on the grounds that the party has refused to hold its primary in the district after several dates were set and nullified without concrete reasons. The NEC’s Dispute Hearing Office received the petition from Curtis and verified all evidence associated with the case and granted ANC and Curtis the opportunity to plead their concerns. Having exhausted the findings on July 12, the NEC declared the ANC guilty and mandated it to conduct its primary within 72 hours, which it failed to abide by.
Even though today, July 21, is the deadline for all nominations of candidates to contest on October 10, the Disputes Hearing Office has asked the party to conduct the primary in the soonest possible time and present its results and all legally accepted documents, including the names of delegates, submitted into evidence before the nomination of either of the two names (Curtis or Sesay).
Addressing journalists after the ruling, Mr. Curtis said he is satisfied that justice was served and promised not to be silent in the body politic of his district in the pending elections. “I will win the primary and subsequently the representative election of my district because I have been and I’m still serving my people with thankfulness and humility,” he said.