Liberia: Independent Media Stakeholders Recuses From PUL’s Election Saga Probe
Monrovia – The Independent Media Stakeholders Committee has resolved to immediately recuse itself from any probe into the recent controversial Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Elective Congress held in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The 11-member committee was appointed November 23, 2022, by PUL’s President Mr. Charles Coffey to probe the electoral disagreement resulting from the PUL’s election. The committee, meeting in an emergency session on Friday, December 9, 2022, affirmed that while it remains open to help resolve the current impasse/stalemate within the PUL, it cannot proceed any further because the issue is in court.
On December 2, 2022, the presiding justice in Chambers of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Yusuf Kaba mandated the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga, Bong County to resume jurisdiction over the matter. The committee maintains that it is not a parallel court, and any action of the committee that centers on mediation and arbitration will have no binding effect over the litigation process.
The committee expressed serious disappointment that since its constitution by the outgoing PUL’s outgoing president Coffey, it has received no clearly defined terms of reference (TOR) on the nature and scope of its work.
The committee regrets that its constitution was restricted to a press release without any formal communication to its members that has constrained its work. The Independent Media Stakeholders Committee says this action on the part of Mr. Coffey was most likely intended to buy time, and undermine the work of the committee, a situation that complicates the matter the further.
The committee warned that at a time Liberia is poised for national elections, the PUL must resist all forms of external interferences in its activities as a credible civil society watchdog institution, dedicated to promoting media freedom, justice, democracy, and the rule of law. The committee said it is disturbed that the current wrangling within PUL has serious ramifications for Liberia’s democratic processes that could undermine the moral standing of the PUL as a watchdog organization, dedicated to monitoring ills and shortcomings in society.
The committee is of the view that the matter at hand is by no means trivial, for it is a battle for integrity, the very soul of our beloved and esteemed fraternity of journalist, the Press Union of Liberia. We must consider wisely the gravity of what is at stake, determine what is best for the Union and the extent to which we are willing to go to protect and defend it.
There should be a clear distinction between our personal grievances and the issues in the elections that threaten the function and purpose of the Press Union of Liberia. The committee cannot help but view the matter at hand as a microcosm of the potential disputes that may arise in the upcoming election year on a national scale.
The committee is willing to engage in finding an amicable resolution to the PUL saga, to uphold the integrity of the organization. The Independent Media Stakeholders Committee suggest that both parties submit to the litigation process. The committee wishes to extend its appreciation to Coffey for its preferment and hoped the outgoing leadership will act urgently in engaging all stakeholders for the speedy resolution of conflict to restore peace, unity, and harmony in the PUL.