The Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander B. Cummings may lose its representative candidacy in Montserrado District #17 should it fail to abide by the NEC’s ruling.
The drama leading to the unfortunate possibility is due to the party’s failure to conduct a primary between its two aspirants, Mohammed C. Sesay and George V. Curtis.
Curtis, who is the City Mayor of Brewerville, on July 10 filed a complaint to the elections dispute hearing office of the NEC on grounds that the party has refused to hold its primary in the district after several dates were set and nullified without concrete reasons.
The NEC’s dispute hearing office received the petition from Curtis and verified all evidence associated with the case and granted ANC and Curtis the opportunity to plead their concerns. Having exhausted the findings on July 12, the NEC declared the ANC guilty and mandated it to conduct the primary within 72 hours.
The Daily Observer yesterday confirmed that ANC did not live up to the NEC dispute hearing office’s decision to hold the primary on Saturday, July 15 which was the only day within the ultimatum period that the party should have taken advantage of to conduct the primary.
Speaking via mobile phone to this newspaper, the chief disputes hearing officer, Cllr. Muana S. Ville, said the NEC’s decision must be obeyed for political parties and independent candidates get the green light to contest.
“We are strongly taken aback by ANC’s failure to respect the order of our office. It is so sad but all in all, they may not have any one contesting on the ballot for that District on October 10,” Cllr. Ville said. He said he sought the assistance of the nomination team at the SKD Sports Complex to put on hold every consideration to qualify Sesay, should it be confirmed that he (Sesay), through his party, has succeeded in getting his nomination.
In his motion to dismiss the respondent’s (Sesay) appeal, the defense counsel, comprising two attorneys at law — Anthony Togar Nimely and Mameita Jabateh-Sheriff — Cllr. Amara M. Sheriff representing Mr. Curtis said, “The Respondent failed and neglected to perfect its appeal to the Board of Commissioners and therefore the Respondent’s appeal is a fit subject for dismissal and denial.”
He, therefore, urged for the dismissal of the appeal consistent with the NEC guidelines and regulations and grant his client any and all further relief that will be legal and just under the prevailing circumstances.
Arguments consistent with the party’s failure to conduct the primary have alleged that Sesay, who is a personal friend of ANC chairman Mr. Lafayette Gould, has dished out an undisclosed amount of money in a bid to out-rightly buy the slot to deny Curtis the chance to participate in a free, democratic process.
“We have already gotten the real story and that story is that Sesay gave money to some big hands in the party to take the space. He (Sesay) knows that he is not fit to win any fair competition here,” a female supporter who preferred anonymity alleged.
A credible source from within the ANC yesterday told this newspaper that a white ballot primary was held within the 72-hour period in favor of Sesay, without Curtis’ presence or his participation.
“I was told that a primary for our district was criminally held but with no specific date known. I take exception because it is between Sesay and I and no one has a record of an invitation extended me to which I did not attend,” Mr. Curtis said, adding that he is prepared to take the party to the Supreme Court.
He added that credible information reaching him said chairman Gould ordered that all the 34 delegates previously qualified to vote in the primary dismissed, and brought others on board for the sake of formality.
All efforts, including phone calls and text messages, to the Jonathan Dolakeh, ANC deputy secretary for public affairs, and Lafayette Gould, national chairman of ANC, to respond to the allegations were not acknowledged.