Karmo Appeals Bomi Ruling, as Snowe Celebrates

4
1947
Rep. Snowe dances with his supporters in the principal street of Tubmanburg after the ruling in his favor

Rep. Samuel Gayah Karmo has appealed against the ruling of the Bomi County Election Magistrate in his case against Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe of Montserrado County Electoral District #6.

On June 15, Rep. Karmo filed a complaint to Washington V. Farmah, Senior Magistrate of Bomi, against the alleged ineligibility of Rep. Snowe to register to vote, lest to run, for any public office in the upcoming October polls in Sinjeh, Bomi Electoral District #1, which Karmo currently represents at the Lower House.

In his ruling, Magistrate Farmah said the respondent’s (Snowe) counsel filed a motion to dismiss the complaint contending that the ground cited in the complaint is not a ground for objection, and also that Karmo has not alleged any violation of elections law, and therefore the complaint must be dismissed.

“The magistrate heard the arguments on the motion and denied the same holding that in election contests, the petitioner must be accorded a clear opportunity to prove what is alleged,” the Magistrate said.  “The petitioner’s counsel presented two witnesses and after their qualification, his first witness, Kumba Karmo, took the witness stand and said she visited the Weakama Public School Exhibition Center and saw the photo of Rep. Snowe displayed as a registered voter; that she requested an objection form, which the NEC staff filled out in favor of the petitioner; that she went through the complaint form and the complaint she wanted to file was not listed, but her complaint was violation of the fixed 73 threshold,” he pointed out.

Magistrate Farmah said the witness (Kumba Karmo) claimed that, as a sitting representative in Montserrado County Electoral District #6, Rep. Snowe registering at Weakama Public School in Bomi is a violation of the law.

“The petitioner’s second and final witness, Ernest Kamara, who also took the witness stand, provided same information against Snowe as provided by Kumba Karmo,” he said.
Farmah’s ruling said for Snowe, being a citizen of over 18 years of age, to have registered to vote in Bomi for the 2017 elections is not in violation of any election law. “Snowe cannot be barred from registering to vote outside of his district and at a location where he has established residency. In view of what I have narrated above, the petitioner’s petition objecting to the registration of the respondent at the Weakama Public School is hereby denied and dismissed,” he said.

In his response at the June 24 hearing, Karmo said “that as to count five of Snowe’s answer that he has not violated any provision of the Liberian Constitution and Election Laws as to registration of a sitting representative in a cross-county electoral district, is false and it is designed to mislead this body and without any basis.”

He added in his submission that contrary to this assertion, the “Distributing Regulations” of Article 3.3 of NEC relative to the 73 Fixed Electoral Threshold and the provision of section 4.2 of NEC “Distributing Regulations” prohibit and forbid cross county district registration. Hence, “count five of respondent’s answer should be set aside, overruled and dismissed.”

He said Snowe having a farm in Bomi is a non-political issue as several other Liberians such as former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and Cyril Allen have invested in farming in other parts of the country where they claimed no right to register to vote, neither attempted to contest for any public office.

In his bill of exceptions submitted to Magistrate Farmah, Rep. Karmo said the Magistrate’s ruling in the case goes against the evidence and facts. “I, the complainant in this case, except to and announce an appeal to the Magistrate’s entire ruling,” Rep. Karmo said.

He added: “Further, the complainant contends that the Magistrate failed to rule on the fundamental ‘Distributing Regulations’ 3.3 and 4.2 NEC issues of the complainant’s complaint as to the violation of the 73 Fixed Electoral Districts Threshold set for the 2017 general elections, to which the complainant takes exception and announce an appeal to the Magistrate’s ruling in this case.” He argued in his appeal that Snowe has failed to establish any legislative domicile in Sinjeh, Bomi Electoral District #1.

The case, which should have first been heard on June 17, was heard seven days later on the 24th of the same month due to Rep. Snowe’s absence, citing being invited to the hearing “on a very short notice.” Magistrate Farmah ruled on Saturday, July 1, that Karmo had no case against Snowe, who was granted all rights to move on with his political activities in Senjeh District.

“The petitioner has alleged in his complaint that the respondent, as a sitting representative of Montserrado County Electoral District #6, has come to register in Bomi County District #1 which conducts the petitioner claimed violates the Fixed 73 Threshold Act,” Magistrate Farmah noted.

Meanwhile, after the ruling Rep. Snowe and his supporters paraded the main streets of Tubmanburg and danced to traditional songs and political battle cries praising his victory.

When engaged by the Daily Observer during the parade, Snowe said the case was not about winning a contest without a mission. “I am a Liberian and I have met all the requirements set by the Constitution and the NEC regulations to register to vote in Sinjeh and if guaranteed the will of the people here, contest to represent them at the 54th National Legislature,” he said. Snowe added that he loves the people of Sinjeh, which led him to invest his earnings in the soil of the district.

“Since my involvement in the politics of this district, there have been numerous threats but I am calm always and focused on doing what is legally accepted,” he said, adding that he is happy with the ruling and thanked his defense counsel Cllr. Bennedict Sannoh and Cllr. Augustine Nwabudike for ably representing him.

“Karmo said in one of your recent editions that I am a non-issue in this district but today he has a fight to fight because I am not running after people to come to me but they themselves are coming to me expressing their desire to join hands in rebuilding the broken systems and structures in this district. This is his home but as you saw it today, he walked away from the hearing with no citizen here following him,” Snowe noted.

Speaking to locals on Snowe’s reported popularity, a petty trader in Tubmanburg, Mrs. Kumba Willie, said she will be pleased if Snowe wins the October poll because he assists them whenever they are in need. “He built this market for us and helped many women here with money to do their own business,” she said.

Ms. Gayduo B. Zayzay said Snowe has added value to the health sector of the county by bringing foreign doctors to offer services at the Liberia Government Hospital in Tubmanburg, without patients paying for the services. “He paid the WAEC fees of all the students in this district in the academic year now ending,” Ms. Zayzay said, adding that she hopes class politics does not take root in Bomi.

“We are all Liberians. Why should someone deny another person his or her constitutional right only because he or she is not a Gola or Vai by tribe? This is unacceptable and we the young people here will not sit and watch our future played with by anyone,” she said, noting further that if Rep. Karmo and other lawmakers of the county say they mean well for their people they should invest their earnings back home so the people who campaigned and voted them into office can get jobs and secure a better living for their children.

The NEC is expected to probe Karmo’s appeal before the start of campaign activities.

Authors

4 COMMENTS

  1. THIS IS NOT ABOUT SNOWE NOR ABOUT KARMO. THIS IS ABOUT ABIDING BY THE CONSTITUTION. THE RULING HANDED DOWN BY THE NEC IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE NEC IS CONFUSING THE TERM “RESIDENT” WITH THE TERM “DOMICILE”, WHEREAS THE TWO TERMS ARE NOT SYNANIMOUS, DESPITE THE FACT, A MAN´S DOMICILE IS ALSO HIS RESIDENCE. BUT OF COURSE, HIS RESIDENCE CANNOT NECESSARILY BE HIS DOMICILE. FOR WHILE ONE CAN HAVE SEVERAL RESIDENCES, HE OR SHE CAN HAVE ONLY A SINGLE (ONE) DOMICILE AT A TIME! SNOWE´S DOMICILE IS THE LOCALITY OF THE CONSTITUENCY HE REPRESENTS IN THE LEGISLATURE! PERIOD! HENCE, HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE TO CONTEST FOR LEGISLATIVE SEAT IN ANY OTHER COUNTY

    Article 30 b of the Liberian Constitution stipulates inter alia:

    He or she MUST be domiciled in the country or constituency to be represented not less than one year
    prior to the time of the election and be a taxpayer. Though one may have several residences he or he can havle only one domicile at a time! Snowe cannot be domiciled in Bomi and Montserrado at the same time!

    The NEC´S ERROR apparently stems from their lack of knowlege and understanding of the Liberian Constitution, or in fact, law in general! No wonder why, Washington P. Farmah the NEC´s Magistrate in Bomi County had to go to Monrovia to consult his bosses before handing down his ruling. Blind leading blind.

    Hence, confusing the term “resident” with the term “domicile” is not surprising, since they do not know that the two terms “domicile” and “resident” are not synanimous. For while an individual or aspirant may have several residences, he can only have ONE DOMICILE AT THE TIME!

    Accordingly, since Snowe is domiciled in Montserrado County, he cannot be domiciled in Bomi County! So, Snowe or any other aspirant or individual in Snowe´s capacity, even if he has a multi-billion dollar investment in another county, and has a residence in that county he or she is disqualified and ineligible to contest any national legislative seat in a county where he does not have a domicile because of his or her current domicile, as is the case with Snowe´s domicile been Motserrado County!

    Now read what the Constitution says about one´s qualification and eligibility to contest legislative seats in the Republic of Liberia: Citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible to become members
    of the Legislature.
    a. for the Senate, have attained the age of 30 years and for the House of
    Representatives, have attained the age of 25 years;
    b. be domiciled in the country or constituency to be represented not less than one year
    prior to the time of the election and be a taxpayer.

    The framers of the Constitution deliberately never used the term “resident or residence” in Article 30 b above, because unlike a presidential aspirant who is not going to represent any particular constituency or county, the representative is going to represent a particular constituency or district, and so must be domiciled and not merely resident as is the case with the presidency!

    For while an individual or aspirant may have several residences, he can only have ONE DOMICILE AT THE TIME! SNOWE´S DOMICILE IS THE LOCALITY OF THE CONSTITUENCY HE REPRESENTS WITHIN THE LEGISLATURE. HENCE HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE TO CONTEST ANY OTHER LEGISLATIVE SEAT IN ANY OTHER COUNTY!

  2. Rep. Karmoh is a political clown masquerading around for noting……. If they have fully represented their people both at the house and district level, the people would not have perceive Snowe as a redeemer today..

  3. It is indeed true: hungry people can be toyed with however one chooses if he has something to give, even if when is being given is stolen from those very hungry ppl themselves.

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