Supreme Court Upholds Dec. 26 Runoff Date

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The stage is set for the runoff election between Sen. Weah (left) and V.P. Boakai
  • “…no document to establish that the NEC was complying with the court’s mandate to fully clean up the FRR,” – Justice Ja’neh

  • NEC Communications Director Jailed for disobeying court mandate

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the decision by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to set December 26 as the new date for the runoff election without consulting with the Legislature, and contrary to Unity Party’s contention.

But Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh disassociated himself from the four other justices, including Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor’s decision yesterday.

Delivering the majority decision, Chief Justice Korkpor said, the NEC is charged with the constitutional and statutory duty, mandate and responsibility to conduct all elections for elective public offices including the setting of the date of the runoff, and declaring its result without the intervention of the Legislature.

“NEC has not violated any portion of the constitution for not consulting with the Legislature to set a new date for the runoff because they are not making a new law which is the responsibility of the legislature, rather, they were in full compliance with the constitution,” Korkpor declared.

Addressing another contention that the NEC did not fully comply with the cleaning-up of the Final Registration Roll before setting the new date, Korkpor said the NEC has begun the cleaning up of the FRR as mandated by the court.

“Implementing the mandate was not an event but a process, and the NEC was working with the Economic Community of the West African States and the United Nations Development Program’s technicians to ensure that the FRR was fully cleaned up as mandated by the court,” he stated.

On the argument that the NEC did not consult with the UP and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) before setting the new date for the election, Justice Korkpor said, during the initial deliberation, the NEC, ECOWAS, UNDP and the political parties held joint discussion where they came up with the proposed workplan for the implementation of the court’s mandate.

“NEC had jointly held a meeting with the two political parties, with local observers and members of the media to discuss the proposed workplan by the NEC of which a consensus was reached on the full implementation of the workplan,” Korkpor maintained.

But, in his dissenting opinion, Justice Ja’neh argued that his colleagues proceeded wrongly to say that the NEC had fully cleaned up the FRR. “There is no document to establish that the NEC was complying with the court’s mandate to fully clean up the FRR,” Ja’neh argued.

He said his disagreement came during the oral argument with lawyers of the NEC and UP, of which the NEC lawyer admitted that they had completed 85 percent of the cleaning up of the FRR.

“This demonstrates that they were not in full compliance with the mandate, because they were told to fully comply, which means by doing it 100 percent before setting the new date for the runoff; and they fell short of that,” Ja’neh insisted.

In their Bill of Exception, UP argued that the NEC lacks the constitutional and statutory authority to set December 26 as the new date for the runoff election without first fully complying with the mandate of the court and without authorization from the Legislature, by way of a joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, which makes the electoral body to act contrary of the law.

“And for the runoff to be held on December 26 constitutes an irregular and improper execution of the mandate for the reason that they have not conducted a full cleaning-up of the Final Registration Roll (FRR), and that they have refused, failed and neglected to call for, and endanger collaboration and consultation with the two political parties, the UP and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), participating in the runoff election, as mandated by the court,” the party claimed.

“That until the FRR is fully cleaned in a manner to make it compliant with the law, is determined (by) the close (consultation) of the two political parties who are to participate in the process, which they failed to do,” UP complained argued.

Meanwhile, the Communications Director of the NEC, Henry Flomo, was yesterday held in contempt of the court, for making an utterance about the runoff, contrary to the court’s mandate preventing a staff of the NEC from speaking about the runoff.

“Flomo is hereby fined US$500 and incarcerated for two days for disrespecting the court’s mandate,” Justice Korkpor declared.

Korkpor further explained that after the court warned staff of the NEC not to make any statement regarding the runoff, “Flomo was heard on the state-run radio, ELBC, commenting that the FRR has already been cleaned and there was no need to have it cleaned,” Justice Korkpor quoted the NEC’s communications director.

Immediately after Korkpor made his order, the Marshall of the Court arrested Flomo. He is currently serving his two-day prison sentence at the Monrovia Central Prison.

Authors

10 COMMENTS

  1. The NEC is an autonomous body, under the constitution of the Republic. Therefore; it has the authority to set date for elections, postponing elections, rerunning of elections etc. What the NEC cannot do, is adjudicating cases between aggrieved parties, the like of Brumskins et al Vs. NEC. let all Liberian be aware that “cleaning- up the FRR”, is a process, not a one day job. The Final Registration Roll can be cleaned up by the NEC and a neutral bodies that don’t have any participating roll in the election. As we know now that representatives of the UN, ECOWAS, and other West African bodies. Let the Liberian people should know that building a DEMOCRACY, is not abrupt, rather it takes years. Those of you who want everything to be 100% clear shaped cut in this election, are not speaking with reality, but rather bias. Maybe your candidates of choice are not too favor to the voters, therefore; some minds of partiality exist.
    Look at the USA, that claims to be the most democratic country in the 21ist century still has certain weaknesses/flaws. From 1776 to 1965, a total of 189 years, people of certain color could not vote. President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the voting act in 1964 to gave people of color the right to vote.
    Liberia is 170 years old. Out of the 170 years, only 32 of those years, we have had “election” with more than one political party contesting, (1985). What ever we had from 1847 to 1980, was AUTOCRACY. One group which suppresses all oppositions and controls many aspects of it citizens.
    We cannot master this craft overnight. It going to take time. Those that are hasting to make things right, now, I tip my hat off to them. But equally so, should also be aware that, “ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN ONE DAY”.I m also not advocating for the presidency to be used as a job training position. Who ever wins on Dec. 26, should get the full support of the all opposition political parties.
    Remember Liberians, we have only one SUPER POLITICAL PARTY: THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA.

  2. This is still Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf running some major functionaries including
    the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia. Why? Because the Supreme Court
    just rulled, giving mandate to the NEC to clean up the FRR which has not been
    done yet, and then come out to endorse the December 26 run-off date set only
    by the NEC Chairman without first and foremost reporting to the Court that it
    completed the execution of its mandate. If it is not the President Sirleaf pushing
    then why are they behaving like?

  3. This is still Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf running some major functionaries including
    the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia. Why? Because the Supreme Court
    just rulled, giving mandate to the NEC to clean up the FRR which has not been
    done yet, and then come out to endorse the December 26 run-off date set only
    by the NEC Chairman without first and foremost reporting to the Court that it
    completed the execution of its mandate. If it is not the President Sirleaf pushing
    then why are they behaving like that?

  4. Because of the disputed Oct. 10, 2017, 1st round presidential election, there was not enough time to schedule a presidential debate between the two remaining presidential candidates left for run-off. The purpose of the debate would have given the Liberian public a general idea of what goals and policies to be implemented if either candidate is elected president. However, the Supreme Court has mandated that the Dec.26th Run-off election should proceed. This is a safe way to avoid constitutional crisis in Liberia’s presidential succession.

    This election is not about the popularity of George Weah, nor is it about the long governmental service of V.P. Joe Boakai. This election is about the national welfare of Liberia and all it citizens.
    These are some of the questions I and many Liberians would like to know how Liberia will be governed if one of these individuals (George Weah/Joe Boakai) is elected president of Liberia:

    1. What economic development plans and mechanism would either of you put in place to attract foreign and domestic investments?
    2. How do either of you plan on creating jobs to reduce the high unemployment rate in Liberia?
    3. How do either of you plan on balancing our fiscal budget and increasing revenue?
    4. How do either of you plan on paying Liberia external/foreign debt?
    5. What are your education policies to make sure no child is left uneducated in Liberia?

    6. What are your decentralization policies to attract development in other parts of Liberia?
    7. What are your policies towards agriculture development and food security?
    8. What are your policies towards urban and rural electrification/pipe-borne water, sanitation and sewer system in Liberia?
    9. What are your policies towards Liberia’s modernization: manufacturing raw material extracted/ produced in Liberia?
    10. What are your policies towards making the 15 counties more autonomous to make them less dependent on the central government?

    11. What are your policies to reduce the power of an “imperial presidency” that is detrimental to individual growth and prosperity?
    12. What policies would either of you put in place to encourage free enterprise?
    13. How do either of you plan to strengthen the security sector: military, police, and other law enforcement agencies?
    14. How do either of you plan to protect Liberia’s porous border to limit illegal migration and radical groups from infiltrating into the country?
    15. How do either of you plan to cut down on government waste and crackdown on corruption?

    16. What are your health care policies to avoid another Ebola crisis or a major health catastrophe?
    17. How do you plan to encourage meaningful research and development at various universities?
    18. How do you plan on controlling inflation and strengthening the Liberian Dollar against the U.S. Dollar?
    19. How do you plan on strengthening the criminal justice system and reducing the abuse of power?
    20. What are your short term and long term job creation policies?

    21. What are your national unity and reconciliation policies?
    22. What are your foreign policies in continuing bilateral relationship with foreign nations?
    23. What policies will either of you put in place to protect Liberia’s forest and fauna from depletion?
    24. How do either of you plan on cracking down on illegal mining and protecting the environment?
    25. What social programs and policies are in place to protect and help Liberian children?

    26. What policies would be put in place to strengthen public transportation around Liberia via road/air and rail?
    27. What policies would be in place to strengthen youth vocational and technical training?
    28. What policies would be in place to protect freedom of the press, religious liberty and individual constitutional rights?
    29. How either of you going to protect and respect the separation of power?
    30. How either of you going to protect Liberia’s territorial water from foreign fishing vessels?

    31. What policies/incentives/subsidies either of you going to put in place to encourage farmers to produce more food production?
    32. What policies either of you are going to put in place to guarantee free public education to every Liberian child up to secondary school?
    33. What policies either of you are going to put in place to rehabilitate Liberian non-dangerous criminals to become productive citizens?
    34. What policies will either of you put in place for low cost housing and rural development?
    35. What policies will either of you put in place to protect our beaches from sea-erosion, trash and other public indecencies (toilets)?

    It is very difficult to govern a country like Liberia that went through total destruction: the rule of rule, jobs, education, infrastructures, moral codes, religious beliefs, traditional beliefs, the tax system, national pride, children welfare, equal rights, women rights, religious rights, health system, Liberian hospitality, the economy, the political system, human development and so on have to be strengthened by whoever is to become the Leader of this recovering country called Liberia. These are some of the problems many Liberians want to know from the two candidates vying for the Presidency. Their leadership can either make Liberia better, or break Liberia!!!!!

    May God bless my fellow Liberians in these difficult times!!!!

  5. One last thought!

    For the peace and stability of Liberia, will the loser in this run-off election put his pride aside and accept the result of this run-off election? Or, will the loser refuse to concede to the winner?

    Or, will the loser use delayed strategy to contest the result by calling for a recount; or, by calling for a re-run; or by taking his case to the Supreme Court on grounds that that re-run election was not free and fair, or had some flaws and irregularities?

    I pray that the loser or winner will do the honorable thing for the love of Liberia: by not enticing their followers to settle their grievances through violent acts that are detrimental to the peace and stability of Liberia.

    This is just a food for thought…….for our security apparatus to be forewarned!!

    We need peace and political maturity in Liberia to move forward!! God bless my fellow Liberians in these the difficult times!

  6. Representative Chris Smith should stay out of Liberian internal affairs as regards our election. The prediction made about possible violence is unacceptable as it does not explain The United States position on a peaceful election. We will handle this run-off in peace ourselves; Liberians themselves. If this American legislator cites the public with Americo-Liberian and Liberian-American pronouncements using his Law maker position to prompt the United States Embassy in Monrovia to caution Americans in Liberia to fear, we as Liberians get the impression that he has a personal interest in a side he is not sure of and he not being or knowing the secret heritage or can no longer identify with the status of this nation, has a guilt. The Legislative branch of the Liberian Government cannot forecast an executive function connected to foreign embassies. If an observing United States Law maker cannot stay within his spy intend when in the Liberian nation, pretty sure he is not capable of standing for his own American state that voted him in. He may not be the best spy. More over, He comes to stir-up a conflict involving two sets of Liberia identities in the mix. If this Smith is a United States Citizen, If not naturalized, he should know the destiny of a people and the purpose for which the Liberian nation was founded. Not everyone who works in s nation is born in that nation. We will not allow again concupiscence to interrupt this election process. Our Supreme jurisprudence have been instituted. No matter what the United States Embassy feels it has no proof the present American executive leadership induces a N.J. funny looking lawmaker to come to Liberia to predict violence. How many of them can write Liberian languages? How Many can even speak our languages? How Many Americans cause us to fight? How many can stop us from fighting? Which one of them can keep our peace? No matter what you may think, we will have a smooth peaceful transition and have a peaceful nation after. DO NOT REPLY This Box. The Liberian People will Know.
    Gone to 57% majority.

  7. TD,
    Congressman Smith is a reasonable man. The congressman cautions against violence. Please note that Liberia is on a shaky ground. As such, it is very, very possible for violence to erupt. No one wants violence. I am sure that you and millions of Liberians would like to see a peaceful outcome of the runoff. That peaceful outcome, is all the congressman calls for and not violence, of course.

    As you know mighty well, there are all kinds of problems in Liberia. Because of so many problems in Liberia, there’s rampant corruption and because of corruption, Liberia is not developing as it should. It’s been more than 170 years since Liberia declared itself an independent nation. Yet up to this day, enough progress is not being made across the board.

    I ask this question: Why should you blame an American congressman who seeks Liberia’s interest? I think your rhetoric is a little off base.

    You talk about “handling the runoff peacefully ourselves”. TD, what have the Liberia’s leaders handled nicely by themselves during the past 50 years? Name one, just one, TD. Unemployment in Liberia is at an all time high, motor roads are deplorable, most students do not have their full set of tectbooks, there’s no running water in some areas of Monrovia and the list goes on and on. Would you consider bad roads an internal affair? If so, have our leaders bothered to repair roads?

    I will support you if I feel you’re on the right track. Insofar as the congressman is not calling for violence, but rather warns against violence, I think the gentleman deserves to be commended. I commend congressman Smith wholeheartedly. He’s right from A to Z!

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