Despite assuring the public that it would expeditiously hear and decide reported claims of election malpractices, the Supreme Court is yet to announce when it would render judgment into the Unity Party (UP) versus the National Elections Commission (NEC) complaint of non-implementation of its (Court) mandate.
Up to yesterday, there was no indication that the assignment has been issued out of the court in that direction.
It has taken four days since the court heard legal arguments of the UP’s complaint, but it has meanwhile allowed the NEC to proceed with activities that would lead to the holding of the December 26 runoff election, although it has two days to decide election related disputes.
The unanswered question is: why should the court allow the NEC to plan the December 26 runoff when it has repeatedly warned that a complaint of elections-related matter must be heard and decided before any date is set?
It may be recalled that on November 6, the Supreme Court made its determination into the Liberty Party (LP) vs NEC case, where the LP asked the court to place a prohibition (stay order) on the conduct of the November 7 runoff election, which the court accepted.
While accepting the LP’s request, the court declared that “the prohibition will lie where an administrative tribunal though having jurisdiction over a matter proceeds contrary to rules which ought to be observed at all times as in the instant case, the NEC has jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the LP.”
The court further said: “By setting a date and proceeding to commence the conduct of the runoff election, while the compliant of the LP was still pending before that body undecided, the NEC was proceeding the wrong rules, therefore, this prohibition should lie.”
Again on December 7, the court, through a 4 to 1 decision, handed down its judgment (opinion) that mandated the NEC to conduct a full cleanup of the Final Registration Roll (FRR), but the UP contends that the electoral body has refused to implement that mandate, and has asked for the cancellation of the NEC-scheduled December 26 runoff election.
UP has also argued that the NEC should certify its compliance with the execution of the court’s mandate to conduct a full cleanup of the FRR and the Chamber Justice is to certify that the written certificate is truthful. And that the NEC is given 15 days after the court’s judgment to clean and sanitize the FRR for the public to inspect and for voters to verify whether their names and other information are on the voter roll, the UP said.
“To also determine whether any ineligible person as listed on the FRR, and to thereafter publish an authenticated and verified FRR in the manner mandated by the court,” the UP added.
The UP said the actual date of the runoff should have been set by the Legislature through a joint resolution of the Houses of Senate and Representatives; that NEC make a petition to the legislature only after it has satisfied the court that it has fully complied with the mandate of December 7, which they argued the NEC has not done.