The decision by the Chamber Justice of the Supreme Court Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh to mandate the National Elections Commission (NEC) to rehear a complaint filed by one of the aspirants in the pending Mid Term Senatorial election in Margibi County, Mulbah Jackollie, against the electoral body is something to fear that the country had either already entered or is about to enter a constitutional crisis.
Justice Yuoh recently ordered that the NEC to put a hold on all other activities, including the publication of the final list of candidates to contest the election, as well as the declaration of the opening of the campaign, pending the outcome of the hearing at the Supreme Court.
It was during the hearing of Jackollie’s complaint on Thursday, October 23, that Justice Yuoh authorized the electoral body to rehear Jackollie’s complaint since the NEC failed to ensure due process by not having accorded Jackollie the time to address his complaint.
This decision meant that the electoral body had to suspend all of its activities pending the hearing and, in case of any disagreement, could reach the Supreme Court for a final determination that could likely cause a postponement of the entire exercise.
In his complaint, Jackollie claimed that his candidacy was denied by the electoral body due to his absence to be photographed by the Commission, which absence Jackollie blamed on poor health.
Jackollie also argued that though he was absent for photographing, his lawyer and office staff did all of the relevant documents for his qualifications, which the electoral body rejected, leading to the court action.
It may be recalled that Davidetta Browne Lansanah, Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), canceled the declaration of the opening of the campaign that was scheduled for Saturday, October 10, within the calendar of events leading to the conduct of the December 8 polls, due to legal action before the Supreme Court.
“As per the election timeline, today, October 10 should have been the date to publish the final list of candidates to contest the 2020 December 8 Special Senatorial Election and declare campaign opened.”
She said the Court ordered that the NEC put a hold on all other activities, including the publication of the final list of candidates to contest the election, as well as the declaration of the opening of the campaign, pending the outcome of the hearing at the Supreme Court.
In compliance with the Court’s order, the Commission will not publish the final list of candidates today. And without the publication of the final list of candidates, we cannot declare the campaign opened,” NEC chairperson told journalists.
The Supreme Court’s decision came as a result of a petition for a Writ of Mandamus filed by Mulbah S. Jackollie, an Aspirant for the December 8 elections, who was reportedly denied candidature by the NEC for reasons yet to be known, to contest for the Senate seat in Margibi County.
In addition to Senatorial aspirant Mulbah S. Jackollie, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) the most vocal opposition political alliance comprising four political parties, including the former ruling Unity Party (UP), recently filed a petition for a Writ of Mandamus demanding the National Elections Commission (NEC) to clean the Final Registration Roll (FRR) of 2017.