Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya, has expressed serious dismay over the recent action by the Supreme Court to place a hold, over the weekend, on the certification of three senators-elect.
On Saturday January 3, 2015 Cllr. Korkoya disclosed that the High Court on Friday night informed the Commission about a writ of ‘prohibition’ from Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Dr. Fodee Kromah that was served on Cllr. Varney Sherman, the victor of the just-ended Special Senatorial Election in Grand Cape Mount County.
According to the NEC boss, the Supreme Court ordered that the winner of said poll should not participate in the official certification exercise as conducted by the Commission.
In the same speech, Cllr. Korkoyah further announced that two other senators-elect, Morris G. Saytumah of the Unity Party (UP), Bomi County and Jim Womba Tornonlah of People’s Unification Party (PUP), Margibi County, and were also served their respective Writs of Prohibition after they were seated in the hall minutes before the start of the ceremony.
In an interview with reporters shortly after the program, the NEC Chairman described the court order as disappointing and political, adding that said action “seriously undermines the integrity of the Commission and the credibility of the electoral process.”
“I am disappointed in the court order because with respect to Cllr. Sherman’s case, the matter is still before the Election Magistrate in Grand Cape Mount and has not yet reached us. I don’t understand why the Court is involved with it at this time,” Chairman Korkoya said.
House Speaker J. Alex Tyler also came in support of the Electoral Body, adding; “In order to sustain our fragile democracy, political questions must be left to political institutions while legal and constitutional questions must be left to the legal institution.”
“There are laid-down ground rules and processes in election before going to the Supreme Court,” Speaker Tyler indicated.
Asked about the risk of being held in contempt by the High Court for such a statement, the Bomi County lawmaker intoned; “I’m speaking in my capacity as Speaker [of the House of Representatives], not as Attorney-At-Law.”
According to NEC Communications Director Joey Kennedy, Dr. Kromah filed a complaint in Robertsport and the case was scheduled for Friday afternoon only to hear an order from the court in Monrovia.
The matter has to be investigated first in the county before it can be sent to a Complaint Officer and onwards to the Board of Commissioners, Kennedy said, adding “there are processes involved with filing complaints.”
He confirmed the other two cases are under probe, but maintained that the Commission is doing everything to address the issues within the confines of the law.
Interestingly, CDC has distanced itself from Dr. Kromah’s Writ of Prohibition terming it as a “one man show.”
The CDC acting chairman, Nathaniel McGill, said, “We are not aware of Dr. Kromah’s complaint and we have neither seen nor heard from him since the election. As a candidate, I think your party should be the one to champion such a case, not the individual.”
Chairman McGill confirmed the cases involving Dr. Bhofal Chambers and Prof. Ansu D. Sonii of Maryland and Margibi counties, respectively, stressing that CDC will stand behind these two candidates to the fullest, but not Dr. Kromah.