PUL Case: Ego-Driven Individuals Killing the Press Union of Liberia
.... While I appreciate the utilization of the court systems to resolve our differences, we must also be conversant with the consequences these unnecessary delays are causing the growth and work of the Union. This is not about Daniel or Bettie, what is happening now at the Union in the name of redeeming the Union, is actually just an ego-driven ambition of some selfish individuals.
James Papy Kwabo, Jr., BA, MPA
In the name of seeking justice, the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) is currently going through a terrible, cruel, and mediocre period of blockage imposed on the inauguration of the Union's duly elected officers.
After the election in November 2022, there has been legal friction between the candidates, with Team Julius refusing to follow the PUL's internal corrective procedures and arbitrarily calling for an outside audit of the voter registration list or membership while also suing the Union.
The Congress and Election Committees of the Union have always rejected their suggestion for an independent audit of the voter roll but invited them to a cleanup of the voter roll as provided for by the constitution of PUL.
Team Julius rejected all invitations to the voter roll cleanup and surprisingly asked all of its supporters to avoid the thrilling voters roll piling that will take place at the 2022 PUL Convention. A ridiculous allegation that both the Congress and Election Committees rejected.
Up until an injunction was obtained, Congress activities continued over the first two days of the gathering. Of the 1,211 registered voters, 350 votes were cast in the election of November 2022, and 15 of those votes went to Julius K. Kanubah. Elections were not postponed because one candidate opted to boycott the proceedings and launched a spur-of-the-moment lawsuit in bad faith.
When Team Julius first started trying to delay things, they enjoined the Union election and filed a Writ of Declaratory Judgement before the 9th Judicial Circuit against the Press Union Leadership, Congress, and Election Committees.
Nonetheless, the election was held once the injunction was lifted with a valid bond that was approved by the Resident Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit.
In another attempt to delay the inauguration of the leaders of the Union, Team Julius filed a writ of prohibition before the Justice Chamber in Yussif Kaba.
They wanted the inauguration of officers halted and the election producing the officers annulled. Justice Kaba subsequently declined to grant the prohibition but Team Julius stalling affords continued unabated.
Team Julius again proceeded to Gbarnga to withdraw their Writ of Declaratory Judgement and made amendments and refiled the same before the 9th Judicial Circuit Court. They later assigned the reading of Justice Kaba's ruling before the court in Gbarnga and subsequently filed for Stay Order on the Inauguration of officers of the Press Union of Liberia which was shockingly granted. Lawyers representing the Union were never present at the hearing.
Accordingly, Justice Joseph Nagbe granted a Bill of Information filed before him on grounds that Justice Kaba had declined to prohibit the election and all subsequent events growing out of the conduct of the such poll. Justice Nagbe also stressed that the process leading to the Stay Order was one-sided and did not entertain any debate to establish an independent position.
The trial court was told immediately of Justice Nagbe’s action but unfortunately, Judge Boima Kortu had reportedly traveled to the United States of America. The 9th Judicial Circuit Court was unattended for close to two months making it impossible to read Justice Nagbe's ruling.
As the Judge reappeared in February 2023, he was in Monrovia, making it impossible for Justice Nagbe’s ruling to be legitimized by the court. Again, Team Julius secured themselves time to obstruct the inauguration with the filing of a Motion to Resend the ruling of Justice Nagbe now before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
I am completely petrified by the continuous use of groundless lawsuits to derail the inauguration of the Union New Leadership and render the PUL useless ahead of a highly anticipated democratic election in Liberia.
Hustlers taking advantage of the Union’s democratic space must be stopped from taking over the PUL because their goals are to turn the institution into their cash cow while ruining it for their financial benefit.
While I appreciate the utilization of the court systems to resolve our differences, we must also be conversant with the consequences these unnecessary delays are causing the growth and work of the Union. This is not about Daniel or Bettie, what is happening now at the Union in the name of redeeming the Union, is actually just an ego-driven ambition of some selfish individuals.
At the moment, projects are stalled, funds are being withheld and the Union is dormant. Those who are actually suffering as a result of these are not Team Daniel or Julius but ordinary journalists across the country whose welfare the Union has the responsibility to protect and seek.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily Observer.)