Cllr. Jallah Drops Senatorial Election Case At Supreme Court
Monrovia – Amid intense mediation efforts by various stakeholders of Lofa County, it appears that Cllr. Joseph K. Jallah, a former contender of the 2014 mid-term senatorial election has finally agreed to put to an end a long standing legal battle that saw Lofa County Senator Stephen Zargo and the National Election Commission (NEC) being dragged to court.
It all started when the NEC conducted the December 2014 senatorial election in Lofa County which attracted several individuals including Cllr. Jallah as contestants.
After final results were announced by the NEC, Cllr. Jallah obtained second slot position with 8,554 votes constituting 17.5% of the total votes tallied, thus losing to incumbent Senator Stephen Zargo.
Citing election irregularities, Jallah challenged the results of the election at the Supreme Court, which later ruled that a recount of the ballot papers be carried out by the NEC.
After the recount, Jallah took exception to the recount process on grounds that the NEC ignored and refused to follow procedure such as using the final registration roll (FRR) to establish what he termed as a clear link vote cast and registered voters per ballot box, the recount of invalid votes without explanation, the alleged notice of breakage into four of the ballot boxes, the reduction in the votes of the winner between the first count and the recount by about 1500 votes. Cllr. Jallah again appealed to the Supreme Court for redress.
In July this year, the Supreme Court halted the burning of ballot papers for Lofa County over the controversy of the Lofa polls.
The court’s action was based on a bill of information filed by lawyers representing the legal interest of Cllr. Jallah in the case involving the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) informant/appellant versus the NEC, All Pull Workers, Hon. Stephen J.H Zargo, Respondents/Apellee.
Said the Supreme Court: “You are hereby commanded to notify Counselor Jerome G. Korkoya, Commissioner, National Elections Commission, all pull workers and Stephen J.H Zargo of the City of Monrovia , Republic of Liberia Respondents in the above entitled cause of action to appear before the full bench of the honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia, Temple of Justice, at the hour of 9:00 a.m, to show cause why informants bill of information as prayed for should not be granted, and require the respondent hereinabove to send up the chamber of the supreme court a full and complete copy of the proceedings at issue with a certificate seal of this honorable court that same is true and correct copy.”
FrontPage Africa in the same July reported that a delegation from the Lofa County Council of Chiefs and Elders came to Monrovia at the request of Senator Stephen Zargo in a bid to find a way forward from the ongoing litigation between the two.
The delegation, according to sources, met with Senator Zargo and Jallah and invited the parties to Voinjama City on June 11, 2016 for a peace talk on the election saga.
Sources close to the peace deal informed FrontPage Africa at the time that two days to the peace talks, Senator Zargo withdrew from the deal and later called the chiefs to inform Cllr. Jallah that he would not be in the country for the discussion.
In a bid to find an amicable solution to the lingering litigation, a resolution in the possession of FrontPage Africa under the signature of thirteen chiefs, elders and opinion leaders of Lofa County was signed in Voinjama, Lofa County on 19 July 2016, paving the way for the withdrawal of the case at the highest court.
According to the resolution, a mediation forum aimed at resolving the matter (election dispute) in the conventional Lofa way was convened in Voinjama City, Lofa County on 16 July 2016 under the auspices of the Council of Chiefs and Elders of Lofa County led by Chief Forkpa Boakai to which Cllr. Jallah and Senator Zargo honorably subscribed and submitted.
The resolutions reads: “After a long day of talks presided over by Chief Boakai, to which Sen. Zargo and Cllr. Jallah submitted in traditional arbitration, the following consensus evolved from the deliberations: That the Council of Chiefs and Elders of Lofa County, on behalf of the people of Lofa County, owed an apology to Cllr. Jallah for not intervening promptly at the onset of Cllr. Jallah’s complaints and allowing said complaints to fester along onto the Supreme Court.”
The resolution further states that Senator Zargo owed an apology to the people of Lofa and to Cllr. Jallah for not, in the first instance on his part, reverting to the Council of Chiefs and Elders on the matter Cllr. Jallah had taken to the court, but rather joined the suit as a party litigant.
The chiefs in their resolution asked Cllr. Jallah to accept the pleas of the Council of Chiefs and Elders and the people of Lofa County to withdraw his case from the Supreme Court and for once and all bring this matter of the 2014 Election contention to a closure.
Continued the resolution: “And That in so doing, Cllr. Joseph K. Jallah be joined by an array of prominent stakeholders, including Sen. Stephen Zargo, Hon. Eugene F. Kparkar, Mr. Dusty Wolokolie and an array of key stakeholders designated by the Council of Chiefs and Elders draw up the required legal instrument which would give effect to the withdrawal of the case from the Supreme Court.”
Signatories to the resolution includes Chief Forkpa Boakai, Lofa County Chairman, Council of Chiefs and Elders (CCE), Lasana S. Kamara Secretary of CCE Kokolo D. Washington, Culture Inspector of CCE, among others
Others who attested to the resolution were Rep Eugene F. Kparkar: Representative, District #1 in Lofa County, Mr. Dusty L. Wolokolie Associate Mediator, Governance Commission and eminent son of Lofa County,
After the signing of the resolution followed by other mediatory efforts by people in and out of government, Cllr. Jallah then proceeded to the Supreme Court and filed the final withdrawal.