UP Exposes Ambiguity in Supreme Court Decision

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A complaint filed by the ruling Unity Party (UP) against the National Elections Commission (NEC) for scheduling the December 26 runoff presidential elections has exposed many ambiguities in the Supreme Court opinion, on which the electoral body relied to set the date.

In their case against the December 26 date set for the runoff, the party argued that the opinion (judgment) ordering a runoff election should be held in accordance with the “Constitution and Election Law,” which “did not state when the election shall be held.”

“All that it said was that before a runoff election is held, the Final Registration Roll (FRR) should be cleaned and sanitized and published in hard copies at the offices of the election magistrates and at each polling place,” the UP said.

“But, when exactly after the clearing and sanitizing of the FRR and its publication at the offices of election magistrates and polling places prior to the runoff should (the runoff) be held?” the complaint wondered.

The lawsuit also emphasized that “the court did not say, the maximum period between the publication of the sanitized FRR and the conduct of the run-off election should be 30 days since this is the period before an election within which the FRR may not be altered.”

“The opinion inadvertently failed to pass on this issue, and so it appeared to (be) the NEC’s discretion as to when to order the run-off election as mandated by the court, but this certainly was not the court’s intention,” UP said.

More importantly, UP said, “NEC cannot and should not unilaterally set the run-off election date, they should request for a joint resolution of both the House of Representative and the Senate, which set the actual date for the run-off.”

“It is necessary for the court to state particularly and specificity the time frame within which the activities mandated specifically for the cleaning-up of the FRR and its publication should take place otherwise, the NEC might capriciously and whimsically set a date for the run-off election as it has done, which does not give voters sufficient time to inspect the cleaned, sanitized and publicized FRR before the run-off election takes place,” the UP argued.

The UP complaint also said, “We pray the court that the run-off shall not take place less than 40 days after the cleaned sanitized FRR has been fully published all around the country. 15 days shall be for the time period for public challenges to the cleaned, sanitized FRR and 30 days shall be the legal time immediately before an election that its FRR is altered.”

“The mandate of the court to the NEC to conduct the run-off in accordance with the Constitution and Election Law and at the same time to comply with the mandate prior to conducting the run-off is instructive and it appears that the NEC did not fully understand the instruction, which simply means that for the Legislature to set the date for the run-off election,” UP contends.

The court on November 7 lifted its stay order that was placed on the NEC’s earlier decision to hold the runoff on November 10 and subsequently mandated the electoral process to proceed in accordance with the Constitution and Elections Law.

The stay order resulted from a complaint filed to the court by Liberty Party (LP) claiming that the October 10 presidential and legislative elections were characterized by irregularities and fraud opting for a rerun of the entire exercise.

Meanwhile, the UP has rejected assertions by NEC that it has, in agreement with the parties, developed a five-count proposal containing steps to be taken to clean up the FRR. According to NEC, the agreement was reached during a meeting held with the parties late last week. Mr. Cole Bangalu, a UP representative to the talks, told the Daily Observer that contrary to the NEC statement, the ECOWAS unveiled what it considered steps to be taken in the clean up of the FRR.

He observed that the ECOWAS team noted that it did not fix any timeline to the completion of the clean-up task since it had not yet determined the full extent of the work needed to be done.

Mr. Bangalu said it was premature for the NEC to have announced a runoff date when the magnitude and scope of work had not been determined, a development which raises questions whether the ECOWAS can accomplish the task given the very tight time constraints  imposed by NEC’s arbitrary setting of a run-off date.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on unity party, we are going to the polls December 26,2017while you are on your delayed game. It’s clear that there is no hope of you winning the election. Go to court we are going to vote you out of power just after Christmas. Norris Glao .

    • NG; the Supreme Court’s MANDATE comes first; before J.G. Korkoya or for that matter the Elections Commission sets a date for a RUNOFF election. I suppose, J.G. Korkoya is a “LAWYER”. He should know better. If he doesn’t understand his duty(s), the best he can do is to separate himself from Liberia’s Elections Commission. I strongly beg our Legislators and the Liberia Bar(Legal) Association to summon Cllr. J.G.Korkoya; to clearify his decision, to put himself above the “High Court”. This is a serous matter…

    • Look! Go ahead and vote without UP. Participating. We are not stupid or foolish to let anyone manipulate this election in their favor. It is not a hidden secret that the President’s intention is to make Weah President at all costs. Unity Party will ensure that the mandate from the Supreme Court is fully implemented. Therefore, you go ahead as CDC partisan and vote without Unity Party.

      • Elijah Taylor:
        That will not be new. In 2011 CDC called for a boycott.That did not stop the electoral process. The Unity Party was declared winner despite a very low turnout. So, stay home.

  2. No, I disagree Mr. Glao , the issue here is not about winning elections or voting, the issue is about the rule of Law. The SC has issued eight {8} mandates to NEC and NEC has failed to carry out the mandates of the SC. Liberia is a nation of rules and laws and if we can not follow the rules and laws , then why do we have a court systems? If NEC disrespect the law of our nation and we sit here and say it is ok, then where are we heading? What UP and Liberty Party have done is in the best interest of future generations to come. History will judge us if we sat and did nothing. Will you rather have UP, ALP , ANC and Liberty party take to the streets in massive protest or seek the court intervention? We as Liberians need to first think and act for our nation and forget self and personal interest or jobs. Put Liberia first and be a patriotic citizen. I have been searching over 50 years for a real Liberian {S}that have our county at heart and I have not seen one except JNB. The opportunity is ours to seize at this moment. Let us do the right thing and vote JNB as the next president of mama Liberia. He is qualified, experienced, Educated, connected, Love for country, qualified and ready to debate the issues facing our nation, right temperament. All of us love Liberia and the argument that one individual do more than others is a faulty argument.

    We are now at a cross road and the decision is ours to make .The decision we make in this election will have an impact on future generations to come. think about your children future, Their education, Their health care,The roads, Food safety, National Security, Youth Empowerment, Agriculture and international relations. Who do you think is ready to handle them? Who do you think is ready to make that tough decision when the phone rings at 2 AM in the morning when no advisors around? Think about it . I would rather JNB to be that person to answer the phone at 2 AM. Vote JNB for a safe and prosperous Liberia.

  3. Mr. Jerome Golafaie,
    A House built on DECEIT, LIES, IN-HOUSE FIGHTING,DOUBLE STANDARD…..to your own understanding, will stand? I have nothing against the UP. Presently, I don’t live in Liberia. From what I m reading, it looks as if the UP hierarchy is experiencing leader crisis . If I m lying, I stand corrected. The TURF of the UP, is laden with raging battle. Certain individuals are going with certain body, and another group is going with different person (I don’t want to call any name here).
    Who can the UP voters trust?
    How long will this continue……Dec. 26, is 9 days away.

  4. I beg Liberia’s Legislators and Liberia’s Bar(Legal) Association to summon Cllr. J.G.Korkoya to clearify his decision to put himself above the High Court ie The Supreme Court. The “MANDATE” of the Supreme Court Comes first; before Cllr. J.G.Korkoya or for that matter, The Elections Commission can set a date for a “RUNOFF ELECTION”. Cllr. Korkoya should know better. I suppose, he is a LAWYER. This is a serious matter. Liberia’s intended “DEMOCRACY” is been tested. Let’s do it right; once and for all. “We can not continue to do the same wrongs, and expect GOOD results…” *The brilliant words of Alex Cummings.

  5. “99 days for rogue, but one day for the master.” Only ignorant folks believe Liberians have no choice and the future of Liberia is in the hands of corrupt politicians seeking to enrich and empower themselves to steal more money. Liberia is in the hands of ordinary citizens, especially registered voters. It’s up to the ordinary citizens, not the politicians because unlike European countries during the Dark Ages when Kings and Queens ruled supreme, the crooked politicians in Liberia must be elected by the ordinary citizens to steal. Without the votes of the ordinary citizens, neither Weah nor Boakai can become President. Liberia has been an independent country for 170 years but the citizens have never been independent! They are born, live and die in poverty. That is why the Citizens Independence Movement (CIM) was launched to demand a change of directions from the current corrupt, deadly and broken system of governance designed to enrich and empower politicians to a different system of participatory democracy that empowers citizens as masters to create a government of the people by the people and for the people, where the citizens, as masters determine the salaries and benefits of their public servants and also directly propose laws without the permission or approval of their servants. http://www.mastersday.com “99 days for rogue, but one day for the master.”

  6. Unfortunately, Liberians are entangled in a pond of unintended issues.

    The runoff date of December 26 has been set by a contrarian who happens to be an autocrat. Korkoya is he! Korkoya did not take into account that the day after Christmas is one of relaxation. Whereas eligible voters have traveled to be with friends or relatives, it didn’t matter to the indomitable Korkoya. By the way, no explanation was given by Korkoya as to why he chose December 26 as an ideal day for a runoff.

    The Final Registration Rolls (RFF) was mandated by the constitution to be cleaned prior to any election process. Notwithstanding , Mr. Korkoya denied that a cleaning job was necessary. But, when the member states of ECOWA raised their eyebrows, Korkoya changed. One wonders whether Korkoya has the proclivity to listen to ECOWAS more than his own Liberian counterparts.

    Splits and downright disagreements:

    A small country such as ours, came up with more than 20 presidential candidates before the October 20 elections. Everyone thought that it was a good idea for patriotic Liberians to form parties and exercise their democratic rights. But, things aren’t as honky dory as we were led to believe. There are splits and all sorts of disagreements within the parties.
    Example, the Liberty Party is at odds within its rank and file. Some of its hardcore members have become apostates! Just the other day in Liberia, it was reported that LP’s partisans speak with rancor and because of that, some of LP’s members are now in the CDC camp. To put it mildly, a split is actively at work within the LP.

    Secondly, senator Prince Johnson, the strong man of Nimba, was unable to garner a reasonable percentage of the overall October 10 vote of October 10, 2017. The senator took a unilateral position to endorse Weah of the CDC. Sen. Johnson’s endorsement was condemned outrightly because his core group of supporters abhor CDC with vengeance. Much to his chagrin, sen. Johnson’s endorsement boomeranged in his face. There’s a split in the Johnson coalition in Nimba county.
    All the above has been said in other that my poll result would be announced. My poll consists of 5 men and women. In other words. I have 2 women and 3 men in the sample.
    There named are:
    1. Slats

    2. Sampo

    3. Wepee

    4. Supee and

    5. Kapee.

    Over the the weekend, I asked the questions:
    Who’s likely to win the runoff in Liberia?

    ….Slats’ response. “I don’t know”.
    …..Kapee’s redponse, “Weah”
    …..Supee’s response , “Boakai ”
    …..Sampo’s response, “Boakai”
    …..Wepee’s response, “Weah”.
    Result :50% each

    Last question:
    Whose party may cause a riot if the runoff does not go their way?

    1…..Slats…….Boakai’s party.

    2. …..Kapee……Boakai’s party

    3…..Supee…….Weah’s party.

    4…..Sampo……Weah’s party
    …..
    5……Weepee……Weah’s party.

    Ladies and gentlemen watch out. The situation in Liberia is fragile. Something bad could happen.

  7. Fellow Partisans we are the ruling party and not the confused party. We should not continue to confuse things around here, we can not have the cake and eat it, let us show some political maturity by participating in the runoff and stop the wolves, wolves cry. Liberians are felt up with the ruling party behavior when they should be the one setting precedent to have a smooth transition, But I see a betrayal and undermining of the President, Madame Sirleaf by some elements that feel that they are to inherit the presidency by any means or the presidency is their right at the detriment of the country and the Liberian people. ECOWAS in collaboration with international partners responsible for this runoff are working along with NEC to follow the supreme court mandate. UP can not dictate to them what to do, just observe and participate. Liberia is bigger than any political party,

  8. For those of you who do not understand the final ruling of the Honorable Supreme Court. Let us put it in simple English.
    The Supreme Court told the National Elections Commission to go ahead and conduct the runoff election under the Constitution, and the Elections Laws of the Republic of Liberia.
    What does that mean?
    General and Presidential elections took place on October 10, 2017. No candidate got the 51%, as required by the Liberian Constitution. A runoff election was scheduled for November 7, 2017, as per the Constitution and Elections Laws. But, based on the complaint filed by the Liberty Party, which was joined by the Unity Party, the November 7, 2017 runoff date was cancelled. Failure to provide the requisite evidence, the Supreme Court denied the request of the parties, and ordered the National Elections Commission to go ahead and conduct the runoff election.
    So, friends, as provided by the Liberian Constitution means, within the time frame of the Constitution of Liberia. That is, NEC Should proceed with the runoff election, so that a new democratically elected president can be inaugurated on January 18, 2017, as per the Constitution of Liberia.
    The Supreme Court also give a hint, “consequences.” Do you understand where we are right now?

  9. To Mr. Elijah Taylor
    A party staying away on election day is not new brother. I learned that in 2011, the CDC stay away from the run off and UP was the second highest , they (UP), was declared winner.The Liberian people want peace. The demage is already been done to the UP.
    AN ABSENTEE ACUSES HIM/HERSELF

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