After hearing arguments in a motion to lift the preliminary injunction that the Civil Law Court had placed on the election of new crops of officers of the Press Union of Liberia, (PUL) Judge J. Boima Kontoe on Thursday, November 14, scheduled ruling in the matter for Monday, November 18.
Declaring the court’s decision, Judge Kontoe said, “The court has heard legal argument in the motion to dismiss the declaratory judgment lawsuit filed by lawyers representing two of the Union’s disqualified candidates; ruling in the matter is scheduled for Monday, November 18.”
It may recalled that on Friday, November 8, Judge Kontoe commanded the Sheriff of the court to restrain, prohibit and enjoin the Union from further conducting its pending elections, which were scheduled for Saturday, November 9, in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
The injunction was placed on the PUL’s election after lawyers representing, Mr. J. Cholo Brooks and Mr. W. Omecee Johnson, presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively, filed a petition for “Declaratory Judgment.”
In response, the Union, through its legal team, filed a motion to lift the injunction and dismiss the petition.
Arguing the motion, PUL’s lawyer, Cllr. Cyrena Cephus, alleged that Mr. Brooks was disqualified after he failed to measure up to Article 8, Section 1 of the Union’s Constitution.
Citing the Article, Cllr. Cephus said, it states that, “A journalist or member of the Union aspiring for the position of president shall satisfy the following requirements: ‘holding of at least a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study, having served in the media for more than 10 years and above and having risen to the rank of editor, program director, senior program producer and being responsible.’”
According to Cllr. Cephas, the institution, Liberia College of Professional Studies, from which, Mr. Brooks claimed he graduated with a Bachelor does not offer that degree, instead, it only offers Associate Degree (AA).
Commenting, too, on the disqualification of Mr. Johnson, Cllr. Cehpus alleged that the man served as Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Leymah Gbowee Foundation, which, according to him, violates Article 4, Section 1 (iv) of PUL’s constitution.
He quoted that article: “Public Relations Office/managers, who were full members of the Union as of the coming into force of this constitution, shall continue to remain full members of the Union, they shall vote, but shall not be voted.”
In counter arguments, the disqualified candidates’ lawyer, Cllr. Albert Sims alleged that the allegation came about when an unnamed individual file a protest against his clients to the Union’s election committee.
According to him, the committee refuses to explain or cite his clients for a hearing as to who had filed the protest.
He also alleged that it, (committee) refused to serve a copy of the protest to the men as is enshrined in the constitution.
He further alleged that the act on the part of the committee to cite the men for a hearing is tantamount to denying the men their day-in-court.