Liberia: NPP Senator Dan Morais Wants National Elections Commission’s Interpretation of Ruling Party’s Coalition Agreement
MONROVIA – Maryland County Senator, Dan Morais, has petitioned the National Elections Commission (NEC) to interpret the agreement binding the three political parties under the Coalition for Democratic Change, especially as it relates to how candidates for elections are to be selected under the framework.
The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) comprise the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia Democratic People Party (LPDP).
In his petition, the Maryland County Senator recalled that in previous by-elections, including the by-election that filled the vacancy created by the election of Mr. George Weah who served as Senator for Montserrado County and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
He stated in the petition: “For these two (2) by-elections, it was decided by the Respondent Coalition that for the Montserrado senatorial seat, the Congress for Democratic Change should nominate the candidate to be the nominee for the Respondent Coalition, since the position was vacated by a member of the Congress for Democratic Change. Hon. Saah Joseph, then a member of the House of Representatives from the Congress for Democratic Change, was “selected” by the Congress for Democratic Change to be the candidate for the Respondent Coalition; and the Respondent Coalition was successful in getting him elected as the Senator to succeed to the Montserrado senatorial seat vacated by the election of Sen. George Weah as President of Liberia.
“The Respondent Coalition also decided then that the National Patriotic Party should field a candidate for the Respondent Coalition for the Bong County senatorial seat vacated by the election of Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President of Liberia; and the National Patriotic Party went through its internal processes and procedures and fielded Hon. Marvin Cole, then a Member of the House of Representatives and still a member of the House of Representatives, as the Respondent Coalition’s candidate. Unfortunately, Hon. Cole did not succeed in that by-election. Petitioner prays the Board of Commissioners to take notice of its records and the historical facts for verification of these averments.”
He also referenced the by-election in Sinoe County for the replacement of Senator Joseph Nagbe who was nominated to serve as Associate Justice at the Supreme Court and the later Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff.
He contended that the Coalition deferred to the Congress for Democratic Change in consideration of the fact that the Congress for Democratic Change overwhelmingly won the elective positions for Sinoe County and overwhelmingly defeated the Unity Party in Sinoe County during the 2017 presidential election. On that basis, the Congress for Democratic Change went through its internal processes and procedures for the second time and nominated Augustine Chea to be the Coalition’s candidate for that by-election.
In the same vein, Ms. Paulita Wie was selected to contest the Montserrado County by-election but lost to Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the Liberty Party.
The selection of Ms. Wie and Mr. Abu Karama who also contested for the seat of fallen lawmaker Adolph Lawrence was based on the fact that Montserrado County and District 15 is a Congress for Democratic Change “controlled” territory.
He, however, lamented that he, being a member of the NPP, he and Senator Sando Johnson and Armah Z. Jallah, all of the NPP, have expressed their intent to contest the December 8 senatorial election. He disclosed that they have respectively been selected through primaries by their constituents to contest the senatorial election.
The decision, according to him, have been communicated to the Coalition and press releases were subsequently issued.
He stated that the Coalition Agreement provides that its constituent political parties which have seats in the Legislature shall reserve the right of nomination to those seats. In constituencies where, the Coalition members don’t have seats, the candidates that provide the best option for victory shall be considered as the Respondent Coalition’s nominees.
He contended that the Coalition should not subscribe to any other process or procedure, such as a primary election of the Coalition or a second primary election of the National Patriotic Party to determine who the Respondent Coalition’s candidate for the ensuing mid-term senatorial election for the Senator for Maryland County should be.
He prayed the NEC to ensure that Coalition does not proceed with another process or procedure (e.g. a primary election as anticipated) while the declaratory judgment proceeding is pending before the Honorable Board of Commissioners.