Monrovia - The National Elections Commission (NEC) has defended its decision to reject Montserrado County District #5 Representative Abu Kamara from contesting the forthcoming legislative election comes October 10, 2017.
Abu Kamara currently an Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Post Administration is seeking to contest the Montserrado County District #15 Representative seat in the forthcoming legislative seat, for the second time but was rejected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on July 1, 2017 for allegedly breaching Article 5.1 of the Code of Conduct for public officials.
Article 5.1 of the code of conduct for public officials states that ministers, assistant, deputy, managing directors, superintendents among others appointed by the president who is desirous of contesting the elections must resign their posts two years prior to the elections.
Kamara termed NEC’s decision to bar him from contesting the election as illegal because NEC’s decision taken against him was done without the commission giving any due process as required by Article 21 (a) of the 1986 Constitution.
Article 21 (a) of the 1986 Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person’s property, privilege or any right except as an outcome of a hearing consistent with provisions laid down in the Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.
Just a day after his denial Kamara filed a petition to the Supreme Court praying the high court to issue an alternative writ of prohibition on the decision of NEC on the ground that the election body decision violated his rights under the law.
Ahead of the hearing of Kamara’s petition by the Supreme Court scheduled for Tuesday, July 11 at the hour of 1:00 pm in the chamber of the high court NEC stated in her response that the petitioner has proceeded in the wrong form of action, because after he was rejected, the petitioner should have accepted the ruling and filed a bill of exception and perfected his appeal to the Supreme Court within 72 hrs something he failed to do.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) added that the New Election Law chapter 2 section 2.9 states that in regard to the remedy available to a rejected applicant and the time period within which he or she shall avail himself or herself of the remedy, the relevant part of the candidate nomination regulation states NEC shall notify all aspirants in writing of its decision to accept or reject their requests to stand the elections as aspirant whose application has been rejected may appeal NEC’s decision to the Supreme Court within three days of NEC’s determination.
On the issue raised by the petitioner Kamara to prevent and restrain NEC from further printing of ballots, NEC in response counter-argued that the Supreme Court has held that prohibition will not lie to prevent, prohibit or obstruct an administrative agency of government from exercising its lawful duties and responsibilities.
“The decision to reject the petitioner candidacy was consistent with the new election law, the code of conduct and the candidate nomination regulation Article 3.3 subsection (a) May 6, 2016, Article 3.3 subsection (a) mandates that all aspirants must meet the candidate eligibility criteria established in the Constitution and the election laws” said NEC legal counsel.
NEC has asked the Supreme Court to take judicial notice of the petitioner admission that he is Assistant Minister of Post for Administration because all admissions made by a party himself or his agent acting within the scope of his authority are admissible as contained in the Civil Procedure Law 1L.CL Rev, tit 1section 25.8 (1973).
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, respondent respectfully prays your honour to quash the alternative writ of prohibition issued, deny the issuance of the peremptory writ of prohibition, thereby denying and dismissing the petition for the writ of prohibition in its entirety and grant unto respondent (NEC) any other and further relief as your honours may deem necessary” said NEC legal counsels, Cllr. Joseph Blidi, Cllr. Frank Musah Dean and Cllr. Alexander Zoe.