Who's Fueling Election Violence in Grand Cape Mount County?

Liberia National Police went on the offensive yesterday to disperse protesters who took the street to protest against police brutality, and lawless behaviour.

The immediate aftermath of the Special Senatorial Election of December 8, 2020, has split the people of Grand Cape Mount County and has seen a series of violent incidents in recent days because of the slow pace of the Supreme Court and the National Elections Commission in settling complaints of election irregularities surrounding the outcome of the election.

On Tuesday, August 3, at the premises of the Temple of Justice, a man was arrested following a violent incident outside the courtroom for photographing the NEC’s declared winner of the election, Simeon B. Taylor, of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP).

Tuesday's incident left one of the glass doors at the entrance of the high court completely damaged.

The hearing was necessitated when the Supreme Court earlier mandated the NEC to reconduct its investigative findings, which initially denied a complaint of election irregularities filed before it by Taylor's closet rival, Victor Watson, of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court reserved ruling into the matter after entertaining legal arguments.

However, many lawyers have resolved to shift blame about the unending situation on the behavior of lawyers representing both Taylor and Watson.

Some Supreme Court lawyers believe that those representing the two are benefiting financially in the representation of the two, because each time they represent their clients, they receive legal fees.

Watson's legal team includes Counsellors Arthur Johnson and Sheik Salibu Sesay, while former Justice Minister Counselor Benedict Sannoh represents Taylor.

After the conduct of the December 8 Special Senatorial Election, the NEC declared Taylor as the winner of the poll, but the result was challenged by Watson’s legal team, who raised issues before the electoral body on claims that the process was marred by multiple flaws including alleged double registration and voting, counting of invalid votes in favor of Senator-elect Taylor, and inflicting numbers on the records of account. 

The lawyers also called for a recount of the votes, but the NEC, through its Board of Commissioners, upheld the decision of its hearing officer and reconfirmed Taylor's victory.

Not satisfied with the decision of both the board of commissioners and the hearing officer, candidate Watson, with the advice of his lawyers, filed an appeal before the Supreme Court. The Court then demanded the NEC’s Investigation to be conducted again into the complaint of irregularities as requested by Watson’s legal team. 

In adherence to the Supreme Court’s mandate, the NEC reconducted its Investigation and emerged with the same decision to declare Taylor as winner of the process, which Watson’s legal team rejected and again has appealed before the Supreme Court, forming the basis for Tuesday’s proceedings.

The question that remains to be answered now is whether the Supreme Court at this time will take a final decision to bring the chaotic situation in the county to rest.