Liberia Votes: Supreme Court Issues Writ of Prohibition on November 7 Runoff Election
Monrovia – The Supreme Court of Liberia has ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to stay any and all actions in the pending runoff election scheduled for November 7, 2017 in line with the Writ for Prohibition prayed for by the Liberty Party.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The Liberty Party requested the Writ of Prohibition and a rerun of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, citing mass irregularities and fraud.
The ruling Unity Party, the All Liberian Party and the Alternative National Congress have all joined the Liberty Party’s pursuit for a rerun of the October 10 polls.
Former soccer legend and Senator of Montserrado County, George Manneh Weah of the Coalition For Democratic Change (CDC) and the Vice President for Republic of Liberia, Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the Unity Party are poised to contest the runoff election next Tuesday.
The Chief Justice and his associates were tight-lipped Tuesday evening after their deliberation, but Ambrose Nmah, Communications Director at the Temple of Justice told reporters that the Bench had not come out with any decision yet.
“No decision has been reached yet; as you are aware some of the justices were not in the country, they only arrived today and came here straight from the airport to receive briefing on the case,” he said.
However, a high placed source confided in this paper that Supreme Court late Tuesday evening issued the writ of prohibition prayed for by the Liberty Party which effectively puts a halt to the runoff election scheduled for next Tuesday until the Liberty Party’s case and any appeal is exhausted.
“This means that the runoff will be scheduled after the whole matter, if LP loses.”
“If LP wins, whole new elections could be ordered.”
“This brings the possibility of an interim government which some have been pushing, Madam Sirleaf tenure ends on the 18th of January,” the source hinted.
Portion of the writ of prohibition obtained by FrontPageAfrica reads:
“you are commanded to instruct the Respondents to stay any and all actions in respect to the pending run-off Election scheduled for November 7, 2017, pending the disposition by the Supreme Court of the Petitioners Petition.
“You will further inform the parties that given the constitutional issues raised in the petition, coupled with the fact that election matters are to be expeditiously heard and determined, that upon service of this Writ and Returns thereto, the case is hereby docketed for the urgent disposition by the Bench en banc.”
The National Elections Commission has also been ordered to file their returns on Thursday, November 2, 2017.
Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor and Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh were out of the country, but rushed to the Temple of Justice directly from the airport upon their arrival on Tuesday.
Election observes including National Democratic Institute (NDI), European Union, Carter Center, Liberia Elections Observation Network, among others were seen on the third floor of the Temple of Justice on Tuesday evening.
Journalists and observers are not being allowed on the fourth floor of the Temple of Justice where the justices deliberating.
Our reporter at the grounds of the Temple of Justice said prior to the arrival of the Chief Justice, agents of Executive Protection Service (EPS) in vehicle marked EPS 72 came to the Court asking for the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator. Both the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator were not present at the time.
The Agents left after 30 minutes of waiting.
The Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, had always insisted that though there were irregularities during the October 10 elections, they are not grave to warrant a rerun of the elections.
Cllr. Korkoya said during a press conference last week that the Commission does not have the financial resources to conduct a rerun of the elections but would be obliged to rerun if the Supreme Court makes such decision.
It is not yet clear how the political leader of the CDC would respond to the writ, but Senator Weah and the CDC who have been against the call for rerun of the election on Monday cautioned the Supreme Court Monday to be mindful of their decisions relating to electoral complaints.
“We would like to say that the peace and stability of this country lie in the hands of the Honorable Supreme Court.”
“The Liberian people are watching, the voice of the people is the voice of God and the will of the people must be respected,” he asserted.
According to Senator Weah, having been in politics over the past 12 years, he understands the position and has felt the way the Standard Bearer of the ruling Unity Party, Vice President Joseph Boakai feels, for which he is joining the Liberty Party to call for a rerun of the October 10 elections.
He, however, noted that for the love of the country, he allowed peace and stability to supersede his quest for state power, despite being convinced that the both 2005 and 2011 elections were not credible.
“I’ve played my part, I’ve allowed the national government of Madam Sirleaf and the beneficiary Joseph Boakai to have stability to show their work,” he said.
While the ruling Unity Party and its cohorts are calling for the dissolution of the NEC, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Monday announced her confidence in National Elections Commission and the Judiciary, as well to handle election-related complaints impartially.