Dan Saryee, National Chairman of the Rainbow Alliance of Liberia, has described as “A shoot” of one of the cardinal organs of the government by officials of the Executive Branch not to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court on halting the National Referendum.
Saryee’s comment came following the decision and public statements by government officials including Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, and Solicitor General Cllr. Serenius Cephus, that the referendum is not cancelled despite the Supreme Court’s ruling from the interpretation of the Constitution that it must be halted till those missing things in the Gazette are addressed in line with the constitutional provisions guiding them.
The National Chairman of the Rainbow Alliance of Liberia, who spoke to the Daily Observer on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, via mobile phone, claimed that under article 65 of the Liberian constitution; the Supreme Court has the responsibility to interpret the law when there is disagreement on the way people try to cite the constitution or operationalize many parts of it.
In this case, “We have indicated that Article 92 provides that there should be civic education for the referendum and that we don’t think that there were any real forms of civic education. We also felt that article 92 provided that the issues to be amended within the constitution be voted for separately and that the Election Commission based on the gazette that it received condensed several issues and articles,” he noted.
Chairman Saryee said that under preposition one, the NEC combined five articles and wanted citizens to vote ‘Yes or No,’ “which we said it was unconstitutional,” he narrated.
While the Supreme Court could not agree on the question of adequate civic education to uphold the prohibition pleaded for by the political parties, it also agreed that on the issue relative to separating the issues so that people are able to vote them separately, and that the prohibition will be upheld.
According to Saryee, NEC or anyone speaking about disregarding the opinion of the court is not clothed with the responsibility to interpret or give meaning to what the Supreme Court has given in the ruling. “That is ‘flagrant’ or undermining of the mandate and functions of the Supreme Court.”
Chairman Saryee said, “I also listened to the National Election Commission that the fact that the Supreme Court says in its explanation or ruling that as per article 32 of the constitution the different issues should be separated so that people can vote for them separately, therefore, they are going now to do separation because the Supreme Court doesn’t provide under its mandate the way to solve the problem, all they do is to interpret constitutional crisis.”
“All we know is that the Supreme Court has spoken and that it is saying there is a prohibition on anything including the printing of ballot by the NEC. We will entreat the Election Commission and all other people who are associated with this argument and the misleading information that indeed the Supreme Court has spoken, and so we all need to abide by its ruling,” Saryee said.
“We, as political parties and as citizens of this country, will respect details of the ruling of the Court and we want to urge all other people to make sure that they keep our country to be a country of laws and not our country of men by refraining or making interpretation of the supreme court ruling that is exactly contrary to the opinion of the Supreme Court.” Saryee indicated.
According to him, the Supreme Court stated that there is a prohibition because the NEC preceded wrongly in the way they tried to operationalize Article 92 and therefore, there should be a prohibition. “We believed and respect that as people of law, we want to make sure that the Supreme Court ruling is upheld and maintained, and we in political parties and citizens of this country we do not think we will be treading on a good path if we start now to bully the opinion and ruling of the Supreme Court will not be good for moving our democracy forward.”
“What the NEC is doing will give an impression that tomorrow, if there are any other disputes coming from the election regarding who wins or who didn’t win, and if the Supreme Court says this is the ruling, it means that the NEC will also be coming out with its own ruling,” Saryee concluded.