Pending Supreme Court Decision, What Lies Ahead?

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Senate Pro-Tempore, Armah Z. Jallah

By David S. Menjor and J. Burgess Carter 

As the Supreme Court makes a decision on the fate of the presidential runoff election today, there are many who are wondering about the possible implications for the nation, especially if the November 7 run-off election is postponed. And with rumors rife on social media about possible constitutional crisis and a potential interim government, it may be safe to posit that the rumor mongers are getting way ahead of themselves.

In an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday on what lies ahead for the nation as citizens and partners await the decision of the Supreme Court, Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison said what the Liberty Party did by taking their concerns to the Supreme Court was not an error, neither hate for the country’s forward march as may be perceived by some people.

Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison served as Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) during the 2005 presidential and legislative elections, when Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf first won the presidency. Prior to her NEC appointment, she served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison served as NEC Chairperson and presided over the 2005 presidential and legislative elections. Prior to that, she served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

According to Cllr. Allison “Article 83C of the Liberian Constitution guarantees any aggrieved party in national elections the right to file in their complaints to the National Elections Commission should they gather evidence to present. And, if the findings from the NEC hearing office nullify a complaint and the aggrieved party is not satisfied, an appeal can be taken to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) or the Supreme Court.”

She said: “The returns of the elections shall be declared by the Elections Commission not later than fifteen days after the casting of ballots. Any party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the results of the elections.

“The Elections Commission shall, within thirty days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an impartial investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate. Any political party or independent candidate affected by such decision shall not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.

“The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of the notice of appeal; forward all the records in the case to the Supreme Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons, the Elections Commission shall within sixty days of the decision of the Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to effectuate the mandate of the Court.”

“Every constitution is ‘right based’ and as such the NEC also has the right to disprove LP’s claims by providing authentic evidence,” Cllr. Allison noted.

She said other than the delay in executing its functions as set in its timetable; the NEC has no injury to sustain. “I feel that it will still be legal if the Supreme Court orders the NEC to adjust the time so as to conduct an election which, in this case, is the presidential runoff. By law, the runoff should be held on the second Tuesday following the announcement of results in the first round of elections, but in case a matter such as the one filed by the LP comes up, additional days could be considered by the NEC through the court’s order,” she said.

She hailed the Supreme Court for exercising all efforts looking into all elections-related cases. “I pray that the Supreme Court does its job independently of any outside influence and maintain the courage as the Kenyan Supreme Court and not necessarily to annul an election because of history-making but serve justice impartially,” she noted.

Concerning rumors circulating that there could be an interim government should the runoff not be held as scheduled, Cllr. Allison said it is all too improper for people to ‘sit, look in the blue sky and speak of possibilities’ that are not worthy.

“I know that the Supreme Court has the right to decide but what I have to say is that there is no need for us to think that there will be an interim government. We have come a long way and as such we should think more positively than thinking about going back to ugly days. Let’s pray for a peaceful transition of power from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to whoever the majority of the country’s population will elect,” she admonished.

The Senate through its leadership has clarified that the country’s constitution shall remain supreme and that the speculation of an impending interim government to take over from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration should the run-off election not go on as planned is totally without foundation, baseless and lacks any iota of truth.

The Senate noted that the filing of a petition to the Supreme Court for the writ of prohibition by the opposition Liberty Party (LP), growing out of the conduct of the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections, does not necessarily imply the coming into force of an interim government.

The office of Senate Pro-Tempore Armah Zolu Jallah, in a statement, quoted Article 64 of the 1986 Constitution, which unequivocally states that if the offices of the President and Vice President become vacant by incapacity, inability, expiry of tenure, or otherwise, that the constitutional provision shall be invoked and the contents therein shall be implemented as provided by the constitution.

“I am therefore, on behalf of the Senate, cautioning Liberians against unnecessary rumors, and at the same time, encouraging you to go about with your normal daily activities, while the country awaits the outcome of the electoral dispute pending before the honorable Supreme Court,” Jallah concluded.

Due to the October 10, 2017 presidential and legislative elections that includes the House of Representatives, the Senate as a member of the First Branch of Government, cancelled its 2017 annual break to be available for issues that may require Legislative intervention. The Supreme Court and other subordinate courts also cancelled annual breaks to help adjudicate matters arising from the elections.

At a well-attended press conference on Wednesday, the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, announced that the commission, as of Wednesday, has suspended all electoral activities for the scheduled November 7 presidential run-off between Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Senator George Manneh Weah in adherence to a mandate from the Supreme Court.

The highest court’s prohibition order emanates from a call by the Liberty Party for investigation into its complaint of fraud and irregularities.

18 COMMENTS

  1. We, Liberians know quite a lot about other subjects; especially so when it comes to the “Social Sciences”. For Heaven’s sake, I hope our next President gives top priority to the Natural Sciences. That’s what we really need; to develop Liberia. Positive Scientific Action, means progress for any Nation.

  2. power stroggle is our Leaders concern,check back from 1979 rice riot.the SK Doe Tolbert saga,up to the Taylor Doe Lone Civil crises,the plan for those looking at intrim GOL must Fail to forge at head.it is a strategies, knowning that the Americo Liberian are loosing state power in both the Senate and Rep.their only hope is the presidency and finally runoff left them out. I believed George M Weah is the Choice of the Liberia People,let give them the chance,he will be gauided by the same international people and Liberia politician to continue Pres. Sirleav good plan for a btter Liberia.

  3. Everybody is leery and apprehensive of any talk of another interim government and for good reasons. If our recent experiences with various interim governments are anything to go by then those apprehensions are not unfounded. But just as Cllr. Johnson-Allison applauded the Liberty Party for seeking the high court’s intervention in this election matter as the right thing to have done, and therefore admonishing citizens to respect that resolve, so also should the prospect for an interim government be regarded, and just in case other mitigating circumstances necessitate that dreaded recourse. That drastic measure too, would be the right thing to do under the encumbering circumstances. The good thing and big difference about any such circumventing interim government is the fact that at least it will not be dictated by warlords, or representing any hostile forces as was the case during our civil war. In other words people should be prepared for the possibility of an interim government if under the circumstances, that’s what is needed to prevent a violation of our constitution. And since such an interim government will not be appeasing any groups of people whether warlords or political parties, it would be composed of credible citizens, people of integrity who will have a clear and concise mandate to conduct the pending election and turn over power to the rightful candidate or party within the shortest possible time. So people should be open to the possibility of an interim government if that’s what it will require for us not to violate our constitution.

  4. We agree with the steady voice of reason from former Justice Allison, but, let’s make no mistake, cunning cousin, Charles Brumskine knew he couldn’t be elected president, in spite of his presumptions, yet went ahead to wantonly damage the aspiration of EJS for a smooth and peaceful democratic transfer of power. And, unbelievably, after shamelessly milking proximity to her in enriching himself, he struck the “et tu” blow to sabotage her domestic legacy.

    Meanwhile, the anxiety caused by the rightfully high security presence keep some of the Country – Congua downtrodden from venturing outside to hustle for livelihood, but Brumskine probably has two or more deep freezers overflowing with food.

    • Mr Moses how can you in good conscience accused Brunskine of undermining Ellen smooth transition when it is the President who started this crisis by injecting herself in the Election. She made utterances suggesting it is time for Younger generation to take over, meeting election officials at her residence and turning her back on the VP. Even ecowas office cautioned her to stay above the fray. So let be fair in our assessment mr Moses

  5. Let the Law take it course with out fear. no matter who win or not Liberia is bigger than every political party and any individual ….

  6. NEC, for how long would take you to throw out that which is not important into the trash bucket or you May even tear it up if it does not merit attention. Meanwhile, Brumskin and his four falling partners including my uncle Joe have already shown Who they are. But we wait for him (Uncle Joseph Boakai) at the polling stations. So please, NEC, don’t waste oue time. Send that trash away, that we move forward. Note that can’t get tired to vote our young presiden.

  7. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia itself is on trial along with Liberia.
    What do I mean by that? I mean whether or that the Supreme Court will not a
    patronage decision by giving decision that will reflect “let bygone be bygone.”
    The Supreme Court will distinguish itself to let Law stand irrespective of who say
    what! A ruling that will reflect our nation as independent without regard to what
    other nations will say about Liberia. A ruling that will not be influenced by the
    fact that it cost money to rerun the elections. Let the International communities
    know at this time that, well the country has spoken as a sovereign nation.
    Neither that ruling should have a consultation with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf because
    she is the one who is causing these massive problems by her influence in the
    National electoral process.

  8. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. November 3, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    The Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia itself is on trial along with Liberia.
    What do I mean by that? I mean whether or that the Supreme Court will not a
    patronage decision by giving decision that will reflect “let bygone be bygone.”
    The Supreme Court will distinguish itself to let Law stand irrespective of who say
    what! A ruling that will reflect our nation as independent without regard to what
    other nations will say about Liberia. A ruling that will not be influenced by the
    fact that it cost money to rerun the elections. Let the International communities
    know at this time that, well the country has spoken as a sovereign nation.
    Neither that ruling should have a consultation with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf because
    she is the one who is causing these massive problems by her influence in the
    National electoral process.

    How did she do it? She did it when she called a meeting at her private home and
    instructed the Chairman Jerome George Korkoya and staff to let the elections go
    CDC George Weah’s way! That George Weah is her choice! How did the NEC
    turned things around? They instructed the Elections staff and workers to let only
    or mostly CDC George Weah supporters vote, but turned away most of other
    registered voters from voting. That is exactly what happened and that is what
    give the nation and Liberians the massive messes.

  9. If your writing make any sense to your self, than in 2005, massive number of voters from other political parties were turned away allowing only CDC voters the chance to vote. Do you guys ever wonder how most of your statements made on this block are so COMICAL. The ECOWAS and some bodies are really getting fed up with our mess. We are the oldest nation in sub-saharan Africa, nothing to boast of, least developed. It is only in Liberia that people who cannot win 25% of total vote, think he/she can be president..very NAIVE MIND SET

  10. No one knows what lurks in the hearts of all humans! Especially as it relates to the issue of an interim government for the time being, proponents of such an idea must be viewed with skepticism. That’s because no one knows what motivates their super ego.

    Obviously, Weah and Boakai were the highest vote getters. Brumskine came in a distant third. Based on what’s stipulated in Liberia’s constitution, the highest vote getters are eligible to challenge one another in the November 7 runoff.

    The idea of an interim leadership is being bandied about. As good as it sounds on the paper, its psyche utilities may be the most polarizing ever. Weah is not as educated as Brumskine, Johnson-Sirleaf or Boakai. But, Weah is more educated than Doe was. Despite all that people may say about Weah’s educational background, he will do his level best, provided he wins.
    Boakai is not a doofus, neither is he a contrarian. He is 72 years of age, much younger than his boss, Johnson-Sirleaf. Irrespective of that, he is astute. So the question remains, if some people don’t like Weah (they have a right to) why not vote Boakai in the runoff? This scenario will quash the idea of an interim leadership.

    Brumskine should not be allowed under any scenario to participate in the runoff! Never. He will be the winner. How? Well, Brumskine’s 9% of voters, plus Cummings’ 6%, plus Mill Jones’s share and those who did not vote will definitely vote this time around. This will unquestionably guarantee Brumskine a victory.

  11. Bag,
    Tarlue makes the claim that Johnson-Sirleaf invited Korkoya at her private residence just days before the October 10, 2017 elections. Do you know if he’s telling us the truth?

  12. Tarlue,
    Do you know for sure that Korkoya was invited to at Johnson-Sirleaf’s private residence to talk about the October 10, 2017 elections? If so, what else was discussed at that meeting? I am assuming that you or your undercover friends were there, right?
    Please respond.

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