Tipoteh, NDC Take Korkoya to Supreme Court

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Dr. Tipoteh Nah Tipoteh and Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya

By Alvin Worzi

A presidential hopeful in the upcoming elections and eminent citizen of Liberia, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, has taken Jerome George Korkoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), to the Supreme Court, while the NDC (National Democratic Coalition) has also sued the embattled NEC chairman to Sixth Judicial Civil Law Court of Montserrado County.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, Dr. Tipoteh said Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya cannot continue to serve as chairman of the NEC, because he is citizen of the United States of America, in possession of that country’s passport and has voted in American elections.

Dr. Tipoteh said in order for the result of the national election to be considered credible, the legal capacity of persons conducting the election, especially its chairman, who speaks for the Board of Commissioners and presides over its meetings, must not be in doubt or questionable in any respect.

Dr. Tipoteh argued that in order for NEC to require all candidates and voters participating in the 2017 presidential and representative elections to comply with the Elections Law of Liberia and for the commission to have the moral authority to rigorously enforce all provisions of said law, the commission and its members must obey, abide by and comply with every provision of the Elections Law of Liberia.

According to Dr. Tipoteh, the petition is being filed in good faith to prevent any post-election crisis led by any party or individual who loses the upcoming election on the sound legal argument that the chairman who conducted the election was not legally qualified to conduct the election because he is not a Liberian citizen.

He said chairman Korkoya is required by law to conduct elections in a lawful manner and to require all candidates and voters to uphold the Elections Law; therefore, “He must also be held to the same standard of upholding the Elections Law by not permitting him to violate section 2.3 of said law. Hence, prohibition will lie to cause respondent to refrain from further violating the law.”

In his petition, Dr. Tipoteh said based on allegations publicly made by various groups and media institutions, Chairman Korkoya has not publicly denied that he is an American Citizen, but has only said repeatedly that he is a Liberian citizen and carries a Liberian passport, and that those claiming that he is a citizen of the United States of America should take him to court.

Dr. Tipoteh said: “Prohibition will lie to prevent the chairman of NEC, from further directing the affairs of the office of chairman, because he is a citizen of the United States as is evidenced by the fact that he holds an American passport and has voted in political elections. Attached are copies of respondent’s United States of America passport and voting records marked as exhibit P/1 in bulk to form a cogent part of the petition.”

He said although the Constitution of Liberia provides under section 28 that “No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law,” it also provides under the same section that “No person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality” thereby giving a Liberian citizen the freedom to give away his Liberian citizenship.

Dr. Tipoteh is a citizen of Liberia who is historically known for standing up for justice, peace, human rights and upholding the law for more than 40 years through the work of the Movement of Justice for Africa (MOJA).

In their lawsuit, the NDC (National Democratic Coalition), said together with other collaborating parties, they have finally dragged “the NEC criminal suspect to court,” adding “We have prima facie evidence that the current Chairman of NEC is an American, not a Liberian citizen. Dual citizenship is illegal and is criminal in Liberia. He lied under oath to be confirmed by the Liberian Senate as Chairman of NEC.”

In carefully worded letters to President Conde of Guinea, the Secretary General of the UN Antonio Guterres, the AU, ECOWAS and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and the Liberian media, the NDC said “as a foreign citizen serving as the Chair of NEC, Korkoya has also violated the much talked about Code of Conduct, which he promises to enforce to the letter. These, among other violations, make Korkoya a criminal suspect. “

The NDC said it would like to inform the public that its fight against “the illegal and criminal dual citizenship status of the man presiding over Liberia’s National Election Commission is not a fight against dual citizenship in principle. In the opinion of the NDC, in this 21st Century, when hundreds of thousands of natural born Liberians and their children have been forced to become citizens in foreign countries due to the Liberian civil war and other humiliating conditions at home in Liberia, we cannot allow such Liberians from losing the citizenship of their heritage simply because of the newly earned foreign citizenships of foreign countries. The two citizenships, Liberian and foreign, will legally have to co-exist simultaneously in the near future of Liberia when genuine patriotic Liberians take over the leadership of Liberia.”

The NDC said that until the old and primitive laws on the books are changed, “individuals like Jerome George Korkoya and their likes, who criminally ascribe to dual citizenship for the purpose of criminalizing our democracy and for the promotion of selfish partisan ideologies of the minority elitist class interests, we shall fight illegal dual citizenship to the dead end.”

The party said that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had twelve years to reform the legal system and other sectors of Liberia to the core, including the national economy, but she blatantly failed to do so because her priorities were in other directions – “plunder and self-enrichment.”

“Yet she is keeping Korjoya in such a key public position in gross violation of the Liberian Constitution that she took oath to uphold, while flagrantly failing to defend and uphold the rule of law,” said the party.

Meanwhile, the NDC legal team comprises some of Liberia’s finest and reputable legal minds, including Cllrs. J. Leveli Supuwood (former Minister of Justice and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court); Leveli Koboi Johnson (former Minister of Justice); and Tiawon S. Gonglo (former Solicitor General of Liberia and human rights lawyer).

In a related development, while combining its legal struggle with advanced political actions, the NDC has formally written several world leaders, including, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Presidents of ECOWAS and the AU respectively, calling their respective attentions to the current Korkoya issue because of its proclivity to invite conflict at this juncture of critical transition in Liberia.

“This is the country in which,” the NDC further emphasized, “that the international community has invested billions of US Dollars for the restoration of normalcy and stability. Two immediate previous successive elections of the country were smooth and they are evidences that Liberians prefer transparent and fair democratic elections as the singular route to transfer power from one leader to the other,” said the NDC letter.

The NDC’s letters to the US Secretary of State, UN Secretary General, as well as the ECOWAS and AU Presidents, respectively, further highlighted that the NDC’s move to unprecedentedly write these world leaders “constitutes an early warning signal” about the situation in Liberia in relation to the 2017 General and Presidential Elections.

“As a major stakeholder that fought for the attainment of peace in Liberia, including signing the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), the NDC is under moral and political obligations to scrupulously defend the peace,” the letters further emphasized.

It may be recalled that in April this year, the NDC wrote President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and urged her to remove Cllr. Jerome George Korkoyah’s from the chairmanship of the National
Elections Commission (NEC) with immediate effect and have him turned over to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

The NDC’s call on the President for Cllr. Korkoya’s immediate dismissal as chairman of the NEC comes in the wake of the discovery of Cllr. Korkoyah’s dual Nationalities, which constitute criminal offence and loss of Liberian citizenship under the Laws of Liberia.

The NDC disclosed to President Sirleaf that Chairman Korkoya is an American citizen and holds an American passport issued on March 18, 2010, with the expiration date of March 17, 2020.

“His US passport bears the number: 4670780024. While in possession of an American Passport as American citizen, Cllr. Korkoya simultaneously and criminally acquired a Liberian ECOWAS Diplomatic passport,” said the letter.

The NDC attached to its letter dated April 17, 2017, to President Sirleaf, a photocopy of said expired passport. The NDC further pointed out that Cllr. Korkoya fraudulently used his Liberian ECOWAS Diplomatic passport in transit to countries between the United States and Liberia.

“The NDC is of the strong opinion that Cllr. Korkoya is in possession of his Renewed Liberian ECOWAS Diplomatic passport that he is currently using to travel given the date of expiration (2015) of his old Liberian passport. When other Liberians choose to collaborate with a president that shows gross disrespect for the Liberian people and the organic law of the land, the NDC will act differently. It is time in the remaining few months to show to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that Liberia is not a farm of any individual, and no one shall be allowed to treat the country act as such. Enough is enough,” said the NDC.

Authors

19 COMMENTS

  1. Good. As there are penalties for using the media to discuss a case that is before the supreme court, may be this will now stop Dr. Tipoteh, Ms. Fahnbulleh, and the de-registered NDC from repeatedly running to the media about who they believe is a citizen or not.

  2. Why would Liberians at this time blame President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her misrule? Where
    were the Liberians when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a Commission she herself
    brought to Liberia ruled in its findings, that Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was given 30 0r 35 years
    not to hold public office for her part she played in the creation of the war to invade Liberia and
    utterly destroying human lives, most especially the defend-less children, old men and women
    and sicked in bed and total destruction of meagre infrastructures of the country. That is the work
    of hers and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer’s Association of Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).

    If Liberians did not know but yhey knew who Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer
    were and, yet they elected her President for Liberia. Why would be interested in reconciliation
    when she destroyed fabric of the human characters in Liberia. That was when couple of years
    ago, that her experience is beyond Liberia. Liberians did not understand when she said that.
    But it means her attention, concern and meaningful contributions, and her love are all beyond
    Liberia. Even the peace award she got did not nor does it have anything to do with Liberia.
    Why? Because it was paid for in the hands of foreigners. Some suggestions put its price tap
    at US25 million dollars. Of course, it wouldn’t be Liberia to give her that award at all. These
    are influenced her to give no attention, interest and concern for Liberia and Liberians.

    President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf intentional put national reconciliation, creation of jobs in back
    bench and put to forefront corruption, nepotism, cronyism so that there will not be any
    happiness to Liberia. And, indeed, unhappiness she is leaving Liberians today!

  3. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. June 12, 2017 at 3:07 am

    Why would Liberians at this time blame President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her misrule? Where
    were the Liberians when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a Commission she herself
    brought to Liberia ruled in its findings, that Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was given 30 0r 35 years
    not to hold public office for her part she played in the creation of the war to invade Liberia and
    utterly destroying human lives, most especially the defend-less children, old men and women
    and sicked in bed and total destruction of meagre infrastructures of the country. That is the work
    of hers and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer’s Association of Constitutional Democracy in Liberia (ACDL).

    If Liberians did not know but they knew who Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Dr. Amos C. Sawyer
    were and, yet they elected her President for Liberia. Why would she be interested in national reconciliation when she destroyed fabric of the human characters in Liberia. That was when she
    said couple of years ago, that her experience is beyond Liberia. Liberians did not understand
    when she said that. But it means her attention, concern and meaningful contributions, and her
    love are all beyond Liberia. Even the peace award she got did not nor does it have anything to
    do with Liberia. Why? Because it was paid for in the hands of foreigners. Some suggestions put
    its price tap at US25 million dollars. Of course, it wouldn’t be Liberia to give her that award at all. These are influenced her to give no attention, interest and concern for Liberia and Liberians.

    President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf intentionally put national reconciliation, creation of jobs in back
    bench and put to forefront corruption, nepotism, cronyism so that there will not be any
    happiness to Liberians. And, indeed, unhappiness she is leaving Liberians today!
    Reply

  4. Moses Kollie, whoever told you : “there are penalties for using the media to discuss a case that is before the supreme court” IS LYING TO YOU OUT OF IGNORANCE! READ BELOW:

    Article 15 -THE LIBERIAN CONSTITUTION
    a. Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible
    for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by
    government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this Constitution.
    b. The right encompasses the right to hold opinions without interference and the right
    to knowledge. It includes freedom of speech and of the press, academic freedom to
    receive and impart knowledge and information and the right of libraries to make
    such knowledge available. It includes non-interference with the use of the mail,
    telephone and telegraph. It likewise includes the right to remain silent.
    c. In pursuance of this right, there shall be no limitation on the public right to be
    informed about the government and its functionaries.
    d. Access to state owned media shall not be denied because of any disagreement with
    or dislike of the ideas express. Denial of such access may be challenged in a court of
    competent jurisdiction.
    e. This freedom may be limited only by judicial action in proceedings grounded in
    defamation or invasion of the rights of privacy and publicity or in the commercial
    aspect of expression in deception, false advertising and copyright infringement.

    Moses,
    ” Being fully responsible for the abuse thereof” HAS NO CONNECTION TO “using the media to discuss a case that is before the supreme court”, nor IS ANY emergency BEEN declared in accordance with this Constitution!

    Again, whoever told you : “there are penalties for using the media to discuss a case that is before the supreme court” IS LYING TO YOU OUT OF IGNORANCE!

  5. Folks like Tipoteh, a failed socialist revolutionary who helped usher in the messy country we have today should shut up and go find something else to do with his useless PhD. He is not about bringing Liberians together but rather wants to exclude diaspora Liberians from being part of the country. He is a hopeless bigot like racists in America or Europe. I hope the Liberian people reject his divisive politics.

  6. Phil George, Tipoteh is a true revolutionary and he proved that more forcefully in the removal of the rotten TWO TYRANNY which operated a system in which the majority became second class citizens in their own homeland……the ultimate consequence of dual citizenship allowed in Liberia

    . In short, dual citizenship allowed in Liberia would only be the 21 CENTURY version of the TWO SEMI-APARTHEID SYSTEM. AND THIS IS WHY REVOLUTIONARIES SHALL SPEAK AGAINST SUCH MENACE. Hence, you need to applaud the revolutionary icon DR. TOGBA NAH TIPOTEH!!!

  7. This divisive old lunatic called Tipoteh will not rest. He will next be heading to the United States Supreme Court after the Liberian Supreme Court dismisses him.

  8. Dual citizenship is just not good for some countries. And this is why over 3/4 of the world’s nearly 200 sovereign countries do not allow dual citizenship. Tipoteh and others are true and respected patriots taking that fraud calling himself NEC chairman to court.

  9. I hope other patriots or movements shall quickly take similar citizen suits against Harrison Karnweay, Mills Jones, Alex Cummings, for their violation of sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the COC LAW.

  10. An anonymous philosopher once said, “Laws are not invented; they grow out of circumstances.”

    Dr. Tipoteh Nah Tipoteh vs Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya is a compelling circumstance for Supreme Court to finally deliberate on the Constitutionality of Liberian Dual Citizenship law: most especially the provision of 1986 Liberian Constitution that speaks directly to dual citizenship:

    Chapter IV
    Article 28
    “Any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided that any such person shall upon reaching maturity renounce any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country. No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law, and no person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality.”

    No matter how this case is judged in public opinion, Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya, who is a lawyer, knows according to the law, he is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

    With this important constitutional (dual citizenship) matter reaching our Supreme Court on the verge of an important election, it is imperative that a peaceful resolution is speedily reached to avoid the appearance of a tainted October election that has the propensity to disrupt the peace in our fragile democracy.

    Note:
    Presumption of innocence

    The presumption of innocence sometimes referred to by the Latin expression: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat: the burden of proof is on the one who declares: in this case (Dr. Tipoteh Nah Tipoteh), not on the one who denies (Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya ).

    Presumption of innocence is the principle that one is considered innocent unless proven guilty: In this particular case, Cllr. Korkoya is considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law.

  11. Every day, dual citizen this , dual citizen that. No food on the table, no health care and we still talking about dual citizen is to blame. The failed Tipoteh is a sad excuse for a revolutionary. Fahnbulleh is just a sad story. We are coming to election and still talking nonsense when most of our people have US citizenship. So what! Perhaps Fahnbulleh and Tipoteh tried and were rejected. Envy will eat us alive. Work for the country and not for the petty jealousies and grievances that cloud our judgement.

  12. How patriotic are Liberians when they hold people who circumvent, and, or abrogate the constitution, and election laws in high esteem against those who ask our courts to correct the breaking of our laws?
    Dr. Tipoteh, Ms. Miatta Fahnbulleh, nor the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), have said they ate not against dual citizenship per se, but our present constitution and elections laws do not recognize dual citizenship, as such, let our legislators amend the constitution and elections laws pertaining to dual citizenship, or else those of us calling for the axing of chairman Korkoyah are right. The law is the law, and everyone is expected to obey it.

    • Have you or Tipoteh or Miatta or NDC established any of your allegations in court? The very same laws you speak of not circumventing require that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Until you’ve proven your allegations in a court of law, Korkoya is not guilty of anything. The law is the law, and everyone is indeed expected to obey it — that includes you, Tipoteh, Miatta, and NDC.

  13. The more than a century long domination of the Liberian political landscape by the True Whig Party was assured by a singular fact- the Property Clause which required a citizen to own property in fee simple in order to enjoy the right to vote. it was not until 1985 and for the first time in more than a hundred years Liberians were able to vote with let or hindrance posed by the Property Clause because it had been scrapped from the new Constitution.

    This was indeed a watershed development in the history of the country. This achievement in the advancement of the rights of the Liberian people did not come about as a gift from heaven or as a gift from the ruling True Whig Party. It came about by difficult struggle, by the tears blood and sweat of Patriotic Liberians who, while others were engaged in other pastimes of little or no socially redeeming values, risked all put country above self and suffered the killing, endured the jailing, the flogging to usher in this democracy, however imperfect that we enjoy today.

    For bringing an end to dictatorship and tyranny, we have been called by all sort of names-the most favorite “failed progressives”, yet there is hardly a gathering, political social or otherwise where progressive slogans and battle-cries are not heard even from the mouths of the mostly lousy reactionary elements.

    When their World Bank-IMF poverty inducing structural adjustment policies which they so slavishly embrace fail to produce the touted benefits from their Trickle Down theory of economic development and instead increases inequality, breeds hopelessness and despair amongst the people, of course they look for the usual scapegoats. For years they have spun and bandied lies about Progressives being responsible for the 1980 coup when the evidence is clear that the coup plotters, assisted by outside powers, came right from within the ranks of the True Whig Party and members of President Tolbert’s cabinet. Yet they remain oblivious to the hard facts and instead wrap themselves in a cloak of denial.

    Consider today the massive looting and plunder of the economy by official functionaries, the impunity that goes along with it and the tail spin into which the pursuit of misguided neo-liberal economic policies has put the economy yet, they blame the Progressives. And at a time when the integrity of our electoral system is being called into question by greedy and corrupt individuals, we listen but cannot hear their voices but we hear only the voices of Progressives challenging and taking an unequivocal stance against blatant attempts to abuse our Constitution even when our noble President, it appears, has shut her ears and turning a blind eye to unfolding developments that portend trouble for the country.

    The problem for these reactionaries is that the Progressives will never go away. They have lit a burning fire in the soul and conscience of the Liberian nation which shall never die, never be extinguished. As Fanon reminds us each generation must seek to discover its purpose and it must either fulfill it or destroy it. New generations of Progressive thinkers and actors shall arise and one day it shall all come to pass. Justice so long denied shall come gushing forth like streams of living waters sweeping away corruption injustice and inequality. Then the time of the People shall come.

    • Simply to buttress a response, I wish to indicate that the time of the people is already here. In fact it had been here a long time, but its full realization had been hindered by problems characteristic of us Liberians: a lack of patriotism, wherein the self yield to the common good; lack of courage, most Librarians are not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice; vision, what Liberia is, what Liberia will become, and is becoming, fades in view by most Liberians. As the Scripture says, without vision or the lack of tangible understanding, the people perish. There is also the absence of a common sense of identity, who are we as Liberians? What is it that we really want? How are we really going about our business? The lack of a singleness of purpose, all great nations of the world have a clear sense of direction and purpose. The scripts of these nations as to where they are headed is clear enough, at least for the interim. And I could go on and on and on. And so while victory was insight, we forfeited because we did not know what we really wanted.

      It was rumored that after the successful implementation of the coup, some members of the progressives or the hierarchy of the progress were handed the mantle by the coup excuters, but they refused the offer; thus, the long rocky road of our simmering discontent. If there is any veracity to this story, then I just receive a check mark on one of my analysis.

      Further, even in the midst of a failed state scenario, such as we witnessed from the military junta, progressive engagement was not so forthright, of course this could be attributed to fear factor, another mark of my analysis.

      Even in the presence of one of the worst governance that we have ever experienced as a nation under President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the progressives haven’t done so well either. The engagement at the national lever is blurred or lacklustre. Our people are not organized: Citizen Action Group, which would witness organizing our people so that they the people can voice and demand their own change. In this regard we fail blatantly. So it is not that the people time has not come, it’s a lack of vision, for the lack of a better word.

      You see, if we were clear as to the future, our actions and utterances will take on a quality and nuance that would leave any doubt as to our intent and demand. Have a clear vision or picture about the fiture, what we truly want, is like walking through an open door. But for now, for the progrssives, it would seem that the door is still closed. So instead of talking bout it in the present, we are still succumb to superlative expression about wiil.

  14. John, people who blame the progressives are of two brands. The first are those who stupidly believe that it was wrong on the part of the progressives to awaken the political consciousness of Liberians to put an end to the TWP TYRANNY OR THE THEN STATUS QUO. The second are those who blame the progressives for not (for the past 11 years) taken the stance Dr. Tipoteh, Cllr. Gongloe, Miatta Fahnbulleh and her organization are taking NOW as in the case of Jerome Korkoyah´s “blatant attempts to abuse our Constitution even when our noble President, it appears, has shut her ears and turning a blind eye to unfolding developments that portend trouble for the country.”

    Tolo, CARE LESS ABOUT those Liberians ( eg. Phil George etc.) who “hold people who circumvent, and, or abrogate the constitution, and election laws in high esteem against those who ask our courts to correct the breaking of our laws.” Their problem is simply a matter of IGNORANCE AT BEST AND SELFISHNESS AT WORST. And this goes to show to what extent some would go to treat statutory laws and the constitution with such a shameful and disgraceful behaviour simply for their greed and selfish interest.

    Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh is really a true progressive as is the case with the public-spirited Cllr. Gongloe, Cllr. Supuwood, and the true and real iron lady Miatta Fahnbulleh!!!

  15. George, that rumour of “the coup crackers handling power to the progressives and the progressives rejecting and refusing,” IS A MYTH. When the great powers carry out a regime change (as was the one carried out against the TWP REGIME) they already know and have under their control who is to be in charge. And besides, Washington would have never ever given power to political figures (the progressives) they the U.S. WRONGLY believed were “dangerous communists” or revolutionaries with socialist mindsets!

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