Snowe files appeal at NEC Board of Commissioners; may reach Supreme Court if…
The National Elections Commission (NEC) Hearing Office headed by Cllr. Muanah S. Ville has announced that Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe could not establish domicile as required by Elections laws to contest in the ensuing elections for Sinje District #1 in Bomi County.
The decision followed Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson’s complaint on July 21 that Rep. Snowe was crisscrossing to another county even though he was a sitting representative for Montserrado County District #6.
Commissioner Ville, in his ruling, said it was discovered that Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe is the sitting representative of Montserrado District #6 and currently holds an unexpired certificate of the NEC dated back in 2011 and therefore could not be allowed to contest for another district.
Cllr. Ville noted that it is not possible for Snowe to have domicile in two different districts at the same time, most especially so when he is still a sitting lawmaker. He said because Rep. Snowe still holds a valid NEC certificate as of 2011 for Mont. District #6 but has willfully chosen to run for the same post in another district of another county, he could not be granted the privilege to contest in Bomi County.
“As per definition, domicile is a person’s fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes, such as elections or family connections,” he said.
During the argument phase, Rep. Snowe’s witnesses, including Weakama Town Chief Weafie Konah, and Zoe Konah (Snowe’s cook) said Rep. Snowe has lived in Sinje, Bomi County for over a year and has real estate properties, along with his farm and other investments in the district.
However, countering Rep. Snowe’s witnesses, Representative aspirant Charles Brown and Richard Divine testified that Snowe has no domicile in Bomi County and therefore lacks any legal backing to contest in the district in October.
After the decision, Senator Johnson told reporters: “This only shows that there are men and women in Bomi who mean business for their county. We will not sit and allow anyone such as in the case of Rep. Snowe to use our children by giving them money so as to rob the county of its sanity.”
He added, “Even though there is a public perception that the people of Bomi are lazy, the clear truth remains that we are not beggars in the streets, nor are we seeking unnecessary assistance from Snowe who has failed to ably represent the people of Mont. District #6.”
In his reaction, Rep. Snowe’s lawyer, former Sen. Mabutu Nyenpan filed a bill of appeal to the Board of Commissioners of the NEC.
Rep. Snowe told reporters, “I am very happy that we have the rule of law in our country. The ruling against me will not deter me from going ahead with my plan to campaign for votes for October 10.
“There is no law or a prohibition, however, cited in the ruling that prevents me from continuing with my campaign. If the Board of Commissioners of NEC rule against me it will still not be the end as I am prepared to pursue justice at the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of justice in our land,” he noted.
Rep. Snowe however, said that if in the end, the Supreme Court rules against him he will respect the decision and will keep on being active in Bomi County.
Supporters believed to be those of Rep. Snowe became agitated and shouted slogans such as “It will hold, Snowe is our man, the talk and do,” while Sen. Johnson’s team was jubilating in the compound of the NEC with slogans such as “Sando is our hero, we will not sell our birthright for peanuts or whatever.”
Rep. Samuel Gayah Karmo, the incumbent representative of Bomi County District #1, has also appealed to the NEC Board of Commissioners against the Bomi Magistrate’s earlier ruling that he (Karmo) was wrong in the case he had filed against Snowe’s cross-county registration to participate in the ensuing elections.
Reacting to yesterday’s ruling, the Clan Chief of Zepeh Chiefdom in which Weakama falls, Madam Kona Harris said she was very happy that the ruling was in the favor of Johnson and warned Snowe to step aside.
“Bomi is not a football field where anyone can just come and practice on. We will not allow anyone to take his or her jersey and go after they realize that he or she can no longer continue with future matches,” Madam Harris said.
Snowe’s case of crossing county boundary as a sitting representative is the first of its kind in the Liberian political history.