Karnwea’s Rejection Hearing Today

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The Supreme Court today is expected to give an opportunity to both the National Elections Commission (NEC) and Mr. Harrison Karnwea  to argue as to whether or not he (Karnwea) will contest as vice standard bearer of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) in the the October Presidential and Legislative elections.

Karnwea was recently barred by the National Elections Commission, on the authority of the Code of Conduct.

The court’s decision comes two days after reserving ruling into the rejection of a representative aspirant of District#15 in Montserrado County, Abu Kamara, who is currently holding the position of assistant minister at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

In Karnwea’s compliant, he argued that the NEC erroneously (construed) Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct (CoC), and subsequently prevented him from running for the position of vice president of the Republic of Liberia, an elected public office.

“The erroneous decision of the NEC is evident by the fact that Karnwea did not desire and could not have desired, two years ago, to be the running mate to Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine, the presidential candidate of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), and therefore could not have resigned,” Karnwea said in his complaint.

“The case of Karnwea serving as the running mate to Brumskine is without the intent and spirit of the code. No one desires to be the running mate of another; it is the standard bearer that selects his or her running mate,” he said.

“Karnwea could have desired to be the running mate of Cllr. Brumskine, even before Brumskine announced his candidacy and for which reason, we ask this court to overturn the determination of the NEC,” Karnwea argued.

In his lawsuit, Karnwea said, on July 6, of this year, he submitted his document to the NEC to have him registered as the vice presidential candidate of the LP for the October 10, presidential and legislative elections.

Among the forms Karnwea submitted was an “Aspirant Questionnaire” regarding established domicile and compliance with the CoC for public officials.

The questionnaire requested Karnwea to state whether he had resigned from any public position within the last three years.

According to Karnwea, his response was that he had resigned from the position of the managing director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), since March 2017.

“On July 7, I received a call from the NEC informing me that the electoral body had written a letter to me, which I was instructed to take delivery of,” Karnwea’s lawsuit indicated. “In fact it was a “Notice of Rejection of Nomination,” that my candidacy had been barred from contesting by the CoC for public officials.”

The NEC, however, argued that Karnwea’s intent and desire to engage in political activities was long before his resignation from the FDA, where he served as the managing director.

“Karnwea’s resignation from the ruling Unity Party and his joining the LP, all is an egregious violation of the CoC,” the NEC contended. “The fact that his political leader and standard bearer, who was and remains aware of his (Karnwea) egregious violation and (ineligibility) to contest would choose him to be his running mate suggests a disregard for the rule of law.”

The NEC claimed that Karnwea engaged in political activities while serving as managing director of the FDA.

“The inference is that Karnwea used government facilities, equipment and or resources in support of partisan or political activities, prior to his resignation publicly from the UP and joining the LP,” the NEC contended. “This has given Karnwea obvious undue advantage over  other candidates, which he intends to employ for a personal electoral lead. He should not be rewarded for his egregious violation of the CoC by allowing him to contest.”

The NEC also alleged that on February 14, 2017, while serving as managing director of FDA, at an elaborate press conference, Karnwea announced his resignation from the ruling UP and joined the LP.

“At the press conference, Karnwea is reported to have said that the LP represents the best option of Part V, Section 5.1 of the CoC. This constituted Karnwea’s first open violation of the code,” NEC claimed.

That section provides that all officials appointed by the President of the Republic of Liberia shall not (a) engage in political activities, canvass or contest for electoral office, (b) use government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities, (c) serve as a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.”

On March 17, the standard bearer of the LP named Karnwea as his running mate making him an aspirant for the position of the Vice President of Republic of Liberia, on the ticket of the LP.

On June 6, Karnwea submitted his questionnaire to the nomination committee of the NEC for screening and processing. In answer to the question as to when he resigned from the government, he wrote March 9.

On July 7, Karnwea was rejected and the next day, July 10, filed his Bill of Exception before the Supreme Court.

These are some of the legal issues the Supreme Court will be hearing today and subsequently make a decision.

Authors

16 COMMENTS

  1. NEC’s argument should be very simple: supreme rogues, we are following the mandates of you previous ruling on the CoC. Unless ofcourse you’ve taken bribes and wanna look like idiots who are being strung by this old witch. Case close. Nonsense

  2. I think there is a lack of clarity with the so-called of conduct with regard to the position of vice presidential candidates. How can the election commission prove that someone who has been chosen as a vice presidential running mate had the desire to be a running mate pr knew that he/she would be asked to be a running mate to someone?

    • Mr. Doe,
      The burden is on the person who is doing the selection, Mr. Brumskine knew that this Law was in place when he-Brumskine made his decision. I think the Liberty Party Boss should start looking for another VP candidates, unless he want to be the only person on his ticket, the NEC has extended the selection of VP to additional 10 days-from the 9-18,so the time he takes to go the court, he should be looking for another person. Another thing Mr. Doe is that we Liberia play with the laws too much, I hope we can start supporting our Laws no matter who you are supporting.

      • Why is this the only law that they are serious about inforcing? What about all the other laws, more consequential laws, that government officials break and not even see a day in court but transferred to another government position for the 12 years they have been in power?

        What about the 10 years residency clause? Did the election commission in force it?

  3. Harrison Karnwea knew he was going to be selected by Brumskine, so on February 14. 2017 he left UP and joined LP, while at the same time using GOL facilities and resources. These are all guidelines of the Code of Conduct he violated. Yes, the Vice President is not appointed but elected, but Karnwea you were an appointed Minister of the GOL before you resigned and it was not within 2 years. Therefore, Karnwea is ineligible and cannot run to be Vice President. Charles Brumskine, a lawyer, knew this and chose to violate the laws of Liberia.

  4. The key word in the CoC Law is intent or “desirous”. In law, the most difficult thing to prove is intent. Do we have proof of what the man’s intentions were in his heart?

    • No one can get into anyone’s head or heart and prove what they intended or desired. That is why in legal matters we infer intent and desire from the surrounding circumstances. Here for example, the fact that Karnwea resigned from the UP to join the LP can leave one to infer that he desired to be a running mate to someone, but because he did not see his way clear with Boakai, he went to Brumskine.

      • There have been a lot of movement between political parties recently by disgruntled partisans? How many of them have been chosen as a running mate to a presidential candidate?

        Is it only Karnwea that have changed parties in the past months?

        • Let me ask you (John) this, what if I was an appointee but did not “desire” according to your logic, to contest the election until a year before the elections, will i pass the CoC 5.1, 5.2 sections?

          This argument does not make any sense. Karnwea knew the law but assumed it was business as usual.
          Smh….

  5. Sayku, if the police discovery or a court’s judgement were ever contingent on such reasoning, argument, or logic, there would be no need for arrests nor trial, since judgement or punitive must tally with the suspect’s or the defendant’s admission viz his or her intent.

    So PROOF viz the issuance of visas by consular officers within the realm of condular law is dependent on what the applicant says his intent is, and not what the consular officer believes is the proof of the applicant’s intent?

  6. By this time, the Supreme Court of Liberia must know that its collusion with
    President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s only her idea of the Code of Conduct that did
    not pass through national referendum is intended to cause confusion and, at
    the end of the day make NRC’s handling of the elections sham and discredited
    the worse. But, Ellen Sirleaf has nothing to lose! She has made herself well so
    she care less what the country is going through as a consequence of her only
    idea that, in fact, came very lately close to the national elections. Hence, the
    Supreme Court should had seen and sensed a sinister in that Code of Conduct,
    and avoided itself (Supreme Court) from taking this national blame.

    In fact, since it was too closed to the national elections, it must wait to be
    implemented in the next administration. It ought to and must be implemented
    in the next administration if Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf meant good for the country.
    The Supreme Court, therefore, for the sake of transparency and to maintain
    the relatively peace of the country must declared the Code of Conduct rest
    from implementation of the national elections.

  7. By this time, the Supreme Court of Liberia must know that its collusion with
    President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s only her idea of the Code of Conduct that did
    not pass through national referendum is intended to cause confusion and, at
    the end of the day make NEC’s handling of the elections sham and discredited
    the worse. But, Ellen Sirleaf has nothing to lose! She has made herself well so
    she care less what the country is going through as a consequence of her only
    idea that, in fact, came very lately close to the national elections. Hence, the
    Supreme Court should had seen and sensed a sinister in that Code of Conduct,
    and avoided itself (Supreme Court) from taking this national blame.

    In fact, since it was too closed to the national elections, it must wait to be
    implemented in the next administration. It ought to and must be implemented
    in the next administration if Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf meant good for the country.
    The Supreme Court, therefore, for the sake of transparency and to maintain
    the relatively peace of the country must declared the Code of Conduct rest
    from implementation of the national elections.

  8. Upholding the provisions of the Code of Conduct relating to elections will enhance respect for the rule of law and help strengthen our democracy.

  9. Why is the CoC restricted to the Executive branch of the government? Where Are the CoC restrictions for the other two branches of the government? The Judiciary and Legislative branches are privilege branches that can aspire for the Presidency without any CoC restrictions imposed on them. The CoC did not pass the national referendum,although it is an important document that is intended to affect the lives of every Liberian. As a result, many have known very little or nothing about the CoC. We are aware of why the CoC passed the Legislature without a problem and it is being upheld by the Judiciary. For a country with much brain drain and the need to include the best in our country for leadership positions, we should be accommodating and stop the crabs in the bucket mentality. This is what has happened in 100 or more years to all Liberians, seeing them drift in a dependency state of mind. The CoC is not helping our country to move ahead, It is a tool to keep others from exercising their democratic rights to participate in the process. I believe it is a restriction against a few. Liberia is not about one person or one group of people, rather it is for all to freely achieve their God given potential. Lets learn to live in peace and treat others as we like to be treated.

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