Today, the Supreme Court is expected to hear legal arguments as to whether or not it should grant Abu Kamara the opportunity to contest as a representative aspirant for Montserrado County Electoral District #15 in the October presidential and legislative elections.
The court’s decision stemmed from a communication to lawyers representing Kamara and the National Elections Commission (NEC) requesting the parties to appear before it by 1:00 p.m. today.
After today’s argument, the court may likely suspend its opinion (ruling), preferably by a day, which would be deferred.
Kamara currently serves as assistant minister for administration at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
Kamara had argued that the NEC, without any legal basis and support consistent with the process, denied and rejected his application on grounds that he is prohibited from contesting for public office as outlined in the controversial Code of Conduct (CoC).
Further to Kamara’s argument, he said although he had not resigned his post two years prior to the upcoming elections, “it does not warrant disqualification to contest as a candidate in Section 15.1 of the CoC.”
The NEC, however, argued that Kamara committed what they described as “egregious and flagrant violation” of the CoC “by still serving as assistant minister and intends to use government resources to canvass and contest in the forthcoming elections.”
The NEC contends that when Kamara filled the aspirant questionnaire to establish residency, domicile and compliance with the CoC for public officials, “he placed on record that he was serving as assistant minister for administration at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, after which admission he was accorded a hearing, [where he] admitted and confirmed what was contained in his completed application form,” the electoral body noted.
According to the NEC, the primary objective of the CoC is the disqualification from running for elective offices of all public officials appointed by the president.
“The law was duly enacted and approved on March 31, 2014, and published on June 20, the same year more than three years ahead of the elections, which are scheduled on October 10,” NEC told Kamara.
“Kamara had up to October 19, 2015 to have resigned his position that would have given him the opportunity to be within the time frame of the law, which he failed to do, but to say that the law cannot affect him, while he is serving as assistant minister, that is a wrong decision,” the NEC said in defense of its decision.
They claimed that the June 20, 2017 amendment of the CoC transferred the aspect of qualification and disqualification for public officials to the NEC, “Therefore no new law was made, rather it was an amendment,” the NEC emphasized.
“How have Kamara’s rights been affected? What disadvantage has he suffered by the amendment?” the NEC wondered. “Can Kamara rightly say that the CoC is a 2017 and not a 2014 law?”
NEC further argued that Kamara filed the wrong lawsuit before the Supreme Court, because after Kamara’s application was rejected on July 1, which was done in line with the election body’s power and duty to screen all candidates for elective public offices, he should have rejected the NEC’s action immediately.
“Kamara should have also filed a bill of exception and perfected his appeal to the Supreme Court within 72 hours, which he failed to do, thereby, qualifying his lawsuit for dismissal,” the NEC claimed in its argument.
These are some of the arguments the Supreme Court will be hearing today and subsequently make its determination.