A county-wide convention that was expected to elect local officials to steer the affairs of the ruling Unity Party (UP) failed to take place on Friday, December 23, after some aggrieved partisans asked the Supreme Court for a “Writ of Prohibition” to challenge a decision that prevents government officials from vying for any position.
The Writ directs a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits, and it is often issued by a superior court to the lower court asking it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction.
The Writ was issued as an “alternative” or “peremptory”. An alternative Writ directs the recipient to immediately act, or desist and “show cause” why the directive should not be made permanent. A peremptory Writ directs the recipient to immediately act, or desist, and “return” the Writ, with certification of its compliance, within a certain period of time.
If the court withholds action on the petition, it means that government officials would be qualified to contest for a post at the party’s county convention.
It is unclear whether or not the Supreme Court has issued the writ as requested by the aggrieved partisans, though the court temporarily halted Friday’s convention that should have been held in Montserrado County, pending the outcome of its (Court’s) determination.
The UP Montserrado convention was to give way to the remaining fourteen (14) counties to elect their local leadership.
An executive of the Unity Party who spoke on condition of anonymity said the action was based on the party’s leadership not to allow current government officials to participate, which they claimed violated the spirit and intent of the UP’s reform trajectory.
The executive said his stance was based on the matter still being in the purview of the Supreme Court, which could possibly affect the outcome of their request.
The source failed to mention names of public officials who have been denied participation during the county’s convention.
“We hold our party’s national convention where we elect current government officials to key positions like Secretary General and Vice Chairman; why now at such a time should they say no public official can contest any local post?” the source wondered.
The party’s July 2016 National Convention held in Gbarnga, Bong County, witnessed the election of Labor Minister Neto Lighe as National Vice-Chair and Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe as Secretary General.
“The party’s constitution is open to public participation. It does not, however, restrain government officials from vying for a post at the county level; so we have to take this stand,” the UP executive said in justification of their action.
“We have to go to court for judicial decision, because you cannot allow those ministers to contest for national positions and refuse others from vying for a post at the local level. It is discriminatory and we are going to protest against that decision,” the source vowed.