– Cllr. Massaquoi
A Supreme Court lawyer, in support of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh’s dissenting view against the runoff as mandated by the Court, fears that the majority opinion should have demanded the chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome G. Korkoya, to recuse himself from conducting the runoff election.
Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi said he believes that asking Korkoya to rescue himself would have been the best option to ensure a transparent, free and fair election, “because he has lost public confidence to conduct any election in the country.”
Although he respects the court’s decision, Massaquoi maintains his legal right to disagree with the decision.
The majority opinion mandated that “the NEC chair and members of the Board of Commissioners are prohibited from any public or other pronouncements and utterances relating to any matters, which must grow out of the runoff election or any statements in regard to any complaint filed with the commission as doing so could create a semblance of bias, prejudice or view of the case.”
Massaquoi said the court asking the NEC chairman not to make utterances concerning the runoff was not as important as him (Chairman Korkoya) recusing himself to ensure fairness and transparency leading to the conduct of the process.
“If the court says the NEC chairman, who is the spokesperson of the commission, not to make any runoff statement, it clearly demonstrates that the Liberty Party (LP) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) complaint proved Korkoya’s biases as such, they should have ordered him to rescue himself; a decision which was not done,” Massaquoi observed.
Another issue Massaquoi raised was the cleaning-up of the Final Registration Roll (FRR), which he said should have been done when ‘Korkoya shall have recused himself from the exercise.’
“To say that NEC must clean-up the FRR, simply demonstrates that there were irregularities and frauds as claimed by the LP and the UP, which decision should have disqualified Korkoya from handling the runoff election.”
The majority opinion also recommended “that any addendum to the FRR be limited to only those at NEC’s polling and counting manual; that poll watchers who are not registered at their places of assignment and whose names are not on the FRR should not be allowed to vote at their assigned area; and the NEC is ordered with the scheduling of the runoff election in accordance with the Constitution and the New Elections Law.”
That opinion blamed other NEC members of the BOC for not advising Korkoya to recuse himself from the LP, UP versus NEC final hearing before the Board.