Liberia: Has Jewel Lost Control of the NPP? Court Ruling Indicates So
MONROVIA – A Civil Court ruling that sought to interpret the constitution of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) says the role of the standard-bearer of the NPP as per its 2016 amended constitution is to serve as the chief administrative agent in the government and while the day-to-day affairs of the party, citations for meetings and conventions shall be the prerogative of the chairman in accordance with the constitution.
This means, any meeting chaired by Madam Jewel Jewel Howard Taylor, the current standard bearer, can be considered null and void by the NPP.
The ruling came out of a petition for a declaratory judgment sought by the chairman of the NPP, Mr. James Biney and other members of the party.
A declaratory judgement is the when the court declare rights, status, and other legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed. Any person interested under a deed, will, written contract, or other writing constituting a contract, or whose rights, status, or other legal relations are affected by a statute, municipal ordinance, contract, or franchise, may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the instrument, statute, ordinance, contract, or franchise and obtain a declaration of rights, status, or other legal relations thereunder.
The Court observed that there was a contention between the Standard Bearer on one hand and the National Chairman and National Secretary-General on the other hand, who has the authority to call and cite meetings, preside over meetings, communicate with the outside world in the name of the Party and represent the Party on the outside?
In its ruling, the civil law court noted that “the standard-bearer shall be the Chief Administrative Agent in the National Government, and therefore shall be responsible to implement policy, brief the NEC on the state of the Nation, make an appointment in government in consultation with the NEC.”
The Court explained: “A review of the Party’s Constitution, reveals that Article 5, Section 5.1 of the 2004 Constitution provides among other things that, the National Chairperson shall preside over all meetings of the Party, including the NEC, the Biennial Convention and the National Convention. And in the absence of the Chairman, the next Vice Chairperson in line presides. A review of Section 5.22 of the 2004 constitution also reveals that the Standard Bearer shall be the Chief Administrative Agent in the National Government, and therefore shall be responsible to implement policy, brief the NEC on the state of the Nation, make appointment in government in consultation with the NEC. It is worthy to note that there is no part of the 2004 constitution that requires the Respondents to issue citation and preside over meetings, or convene a convention or meetings.”
According to the Civil Law Court, it sought to determine whether not the 2004 constitution of the NPP remains the sole organic document or governance instrument, regulating the affairs and activities of the Party.
According to the Court, the NPP as a party in whole agreed that up to the year 2016, the Document that provided guardians for governance of the Party, was its Constitution of 2004, however, certain provisions were amended in 2016 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County which then laid the basic for the National Convention in Buchanan later in 2016, and that growing out of the Buchanan Convention, the present leadership was elected for four-year, ending February 2020.
The new ruling from the Court indicates that all decisions derived at the June 12, 2020 meeting at Corona Hotel chaired by Chairman Biney are deem irreversible while a parallel meeting held by the standard-bearer at the party’s headquarters are denied and dismissed.