MONROVIA – The chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) has clarified that the commission is not obligated to refund money to candidates who have participated in the electoral process up to the printing of ballot papers.
By Henry Karmo | [email protected]
During an appearance on ELBC radio, the NEC chairperson emphasized that candidates who have taken part in the nomination process are not entitled to refunds. The chairperson stated, “There will be no refund, and that is as much as I can say on that matter.”
Recently, the Supreme Court denied candidate Thomas Tweh, commonly known as “Original Countryman,” the opportunity to contest for a representative seat in District #11, Montserrado County. This decision came in response to a complaint regarding domicile and dual citizenship.
The Supreme Court’s ruling overturned the NEC’s earlier confirmation of a hearing officer’s decision to allow Dr. Thomas Nimene Tweh to participate in the election. Chief Justice Sie-Nyene Yuoh, delivering the court’s opinion, explained that Dr. Tweh is ineligible to run as a representative candidate because he holds American citizenship, which violates Liberia’s constitution and electoral laws.
It should be noted that District #11 Representative Candidate Madam Siah Tandapolie had lodged a complaint with the NEC, asserting that Dr. Tweh is an American citizen who had not renounced one of his allegiances. The matter was initially reviewed by NEC hearing officers, who cleared Dr. Thomas Tweh. A similar judgment was then obtained before the full NEC body, affirming the officers’ ruling.
According to NEC rules, only candidates, participating political parties, coalitions, and alliances are competent to challenge nominees on the provisional list for the 2023 general and presidential elections.
The high court also noted that the Geo-information service of the NEC had confirmed that Dr. Thomas Tweh, or Original Countryman, is not a resident of electoral District #11.
Madam Tandapolie emphasized that the issue is not solely about winning the elections but ensuring that the country’s laws are upheld. She maintained that someone aspiring to be a lawmaker must first be law-abiding, a character trait that she believes Dr. Tweh lacks.
Cllr Lafayette Gould, who won the case on behalf of the complainant, expressed disappointment in the National Elections Commission for granting access to someone with dual citizenship.