But Mianah runs to Supreme Court
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has reversed the early judgment of its Hearing officer, Cllr. John K. Wonsehleay that announced Saye Mianah, representative candidate of District#8 in Nimba County as winner of the October 10 election, thereby ruling in favor of incumbent lawmaker Larry P. Younquoi.
Mianah’s lawyers have already excepted to the BOC’s ruling by running to the Supreme Court.
Manah represents the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) of Senator Prince Johnson, while Younquoi is on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party (UP).
NEC Chair, Jerome Korkoya, who reversed Wonsehleay’s decision, said the hearing officers do not have the legal authority to pass judgement on constitutional issues.
“The only issue our hearing officer had jurisdiction over was the factual, and if constitutional matters are raised such constitutional matters should be handled by the Supreme Court,” Cllr. Korkoya reminded his staff.
In his early judgment, Wonsehleay held that the recount conducted in Saclepea City, Nimba County was unconstitutional and therefore re-instituted the provisional result, which had Mianah with 19 votes lead, “declaring Mianah as winner of the district representative seat.”
That decision was seriously resisted by Younquoi, who subsequently announced an appeal to the BOC, which resulted to the reversing of the hearing officer’s ruling.
The case started on October 19, when the NEC announced its final result from the presidential election and some results of the representative election, leaving out Nimba County District# 8 result, because the provisional result showed a narrow margin of 19 votes between Manah and Younquoi.
As a result, the electoral body decided to conduct a district-wide recount to determine the correctness of the votes before a winner would be pronounced.
By then, results from other counties had been declared, and so, on November 1, in Saclepea, a recount commenced, which showed a minor shift in the vote obtained by the candidates in favor of Younquoi with 17 votes.
In the initial count, Younquoi obtained 6,089 votes, but the recount showed that he actually received 6,191 of the valid votes leaving the difference of 102 votes.
Likewise, Mianah obtained 6,108 during the initial count, but the recount showed that he actually received 6,174 of the valid votes cast leaving a gain of 66.
Besides, the invalid votes showed a total of 1,436, however, the recounts recorded 1,218 making a diference of 218.
“The recount showed that Younquoi obtained the highest votes and has a 17 vote lead over Mianah,” the NEC declared.
Not satisfied with that result, Mianah on November 5, filed a complaint with the NEC urging essentially that the recount violated the simple majority provision of Article 83 of the Constitution.
He also challenged the legitimacy of the 2005 Resolution, which calls for automatic recount wherein the difference in a representative election is less than 50votes.
Mianah also argued that if the resolution was to be valid then, the recount was invalid because only the assigned elections magistrate should conduct a recount.
It was those arguments that Wonsehleay accepted and nullified the outcome of the recounts, which was seriously rejected by Younquoi in his appeal to the BOC.