Liberia’s Elections Commission Certificates Two Lawmakers Following Prolonged Election Disputes
Monrovia – At long last the National Elections Commission (NEC) has certificated two lawmakers from Bong and Nimba Counties who were prevented from taking their seats at the Capitol along with their fellow representatives due to protests from other candidates over the result of the poll.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
Their certification now ends four months of election dispute in the two counties.
Representatives Gunpue Kargon (MDR) of Nimba County District #4 and Robert Wombe (UP) of Bong County District #4 certification have completed the total 73 seats at the Legislature.
Several supporters and family members filled the James Fromoyan Hall at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Monday, April 16 to witness the event.
Both lawmakers were certificated based on the mandate of the Supreme Court, which ordered the electoral body to duly certify them as winners after their respective rivals lost separate appeals to Supreme Court.
In the two separate opinions of the high court on the appeals coming from the two electoral districts, one was read by Associate Justice Philip Banks into the Nimba County District #4 saga and another by Associate Justice Sie Nyene Youh into the Bong County District #4.
They both confirmed and upheld the rulings of the NEC declaring the two lawmakers as winner.
“Having carefully reviewed the laws citied, it is adjudged that the rulings of the NEC Board of Commissioners in the case Garrison Yealue appellant versus Gunpue Kargon appellee declaring Gunpue as winner is hereby confirmed and up-held,” said Associate Justice Banks.
At the same time, the ruling in the case involving Robert Wombe appellee versus Lorpu Martor (UPP) appellant declaring Wombe the ruling was also confirmed and upheld by Associate Justice Youh.
The two lawmakers, according to the court ruling, are to immediately be offered their four months allowances, salaries and benefits while away from the Capitol.
Gunpue was among 19 candidates that contested the Representative election in Nimba County District #4 and was declared winner but the result was challenged by Garrtison Yealue (PUP), the incumbent lawmaker who claimed that the election result was fraudulent.
For Wombe, he was accused of wining the Bong County Legislative seat based on fraud. His accusers, candidates Lester Paye and Lorpu Martor protests were denied by the high court because they failed to show proof of their claim.
Following their certification on Monday, the two lawmakers paid homage to the NEC and the Supreme Court for serving justice.
The two lawmakers, who have promised to make reconciliation their number one priority, called on their oppositions supporters to forged partnership for the development of their respective districts.
NEC boss Jerome Korkoyah expressed thanks to the Supreme Court for validating their work and stressed the need for the independence of the Commission to promote democracy.
“Our job is not to run behind politician to fund this commission. As you take up assignment at the House prevail on your colleagues to enact laws that will safe guard the independence of the election commission,” said Cllr. Korkoyah.