Eminent Liberians, But One, Endorse Supreme Court Ruling

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Two of the group of prominent Liberians who filed a writ of prohibition to the Supreme Court to halt the special senatorial elections, have now endorsed the High Court’s ruling for the elections to go ahead.

The Supreme Court in its ruling last Saturday, lifted the stay order on the special election stating that it is not the High Court’s responsibility to make political decisions but to protect the Constitution of Liberia and the rights of the people.

The two “eminent citizens”, former Information Minister Emmanuel Bowier and former Grand Kru Senator Blamo Nelson, sharing their impressions about the ruling yesterday, said their objective was to allow the rule of law to prevail instead of violence.

Mr. Nelson told this newspaper, “We had an issue and took it to the court, but we are obliged to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court, being the highest and final arbiter in a case.”

He added that the Supreme Court’s ruling is important in enhancing democracy instead of allowing violence to occur.

Their advocacy to suspend the election because of Ebola was not meant for their personal interest, said Mr. Nelson, but the interest of the Liberian people.

One of the reasons put forward to suspend the election was the lack of a final list of voters which has not been provided by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Commenting on this matter following the ruling, Mr. Nelson said the people for whom he advocated are not concerned to ask what becomes of this cardinal electoral issue, leaving him short of words.

He indicated that the pending election is not practical and holding it is not right, but he could not go against the court ruling as far as the rule of law is concerned.

Former Information Minister Rev. Emmanuel Bowier, described the Supreme Court’s ruling as “reasonable.”

Though their case was thrown out, what they stood for was addressed by the court and therefore they have no dissatisfaction to express against the ruling, said Rev. Bowier.

He emphasized that they were concerned about the spread of Ebola, and the court in consonance with their plea cautioned NEC to put the necessary health regulations in place to avoid the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease.

He said they did not oppose the holding of election, but were advocating for the right thing to be done, adding, “We wanted to teach the young people a lesson so they can know how to seek redress through the court instead of using violence.”

Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, one of the petitioners, also told the Daily Observer that he abides by the decision of the Supreme Court because they are the highest arbiter of the law of the land.

“However, I still feel very strongly about my motivation, which is the safety and wellbeing of the Liberian people.

“While there are many constitutional and legal issues that were debated,” Mr. Barnes continued, “I chose a social road because it doesn’t make any sense to me to see our foreign partners expending hundreds of millions of their taxpayers’ hard earned money and putting their nationals on the frontline of the war against Ebola in Liberia, while we spend US$16 million on elections and violate the cardinal rule in the fight against Ebola, which is avoidance of public gatherings. 

“Be that as it may, God bless Liberia,” Mr. Barnes concluded. 

Meanwhile, Liberian economist and politician, Dr. Togba Nah-Tipoteh, has differed with the ruling and said the verdict rendered by the Supreme Court violates the people’s right to life.

Although the court has ruled and he can do nothing about it, Dr. Tipoteh indicated that the right to life is a highest constitutional requirement because the people have the right to live.

He argued that in all situations the voice of the people must prevail.  According to him, no one, the Supreme Court included, can say that this is not a judicial function.

“In my opinion, it is unambiguously (unmistakably, definitely) judicial,” Dr. Tipoteh said.  

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