The grounds of the Liberian National Elections Commission (NEC) in Sinkor, the suburb of Monrovia on today, Saturday, January 3, 2015 was a scene jubilation and surprise when the Supreme Court of Liberia put a hold on the certification of three Senators elected in the just-ended senatorial elections.
Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah, Chairman of the National Elections Commission announced the decision to place the certification of the trio on hold during official program marking the acceptance of the results of the senatorial on hold. Supreme Court halts certification of Former Minister of State for Financial and Legal Affairs, Morris Saytumah, Cllr. Varney Sherman and James Tornollah of Margibi.
Korkoyah told attendees at the certification that he received a phone call from a member of the Supreme Court notifying him of a complaint against Cllr. Sherman and two separate complaints against the declared winners in Margibi and Bomi Counties respectively.
In the contested counties, Saytumah of the ruling Unity Party was declared the winner with 8,093 for 47.2% ahead of incumbent Senator Lahai G. Lansanah of NPP who has so far got 6276 votes 36.6% of the provisional vote cast.
In Grand Cape Mount County, the ruling Unity Party candidate, Varney G. Sherman captured 13,651 votes totaling 61.7% defeating Fodee Kromah of the CDC who won 3,431 votes for 15.5%, signaling the end for the incumbent Abel M. Massalay of NPP.
In Margibi, the incumbent Senator Clarice Jah in Margibi County bid the Senate farewell after losing out to Womba Jim Tornonlah of PUP who, after 100% precinct reporting won 7,893 votes for 30.5% ahead of CDC candidate, Ansu Sonii with 6,640 votes 25.7%
On Saturday, in a rather stinging indictment of the Supreme Court House Speaker Alex Tyler cautioned the high Court to stay clear of political issues and focus solely on legal matters. The statement is in line with prohibition against senators elect.
According to the Election laws of Liberia, if a candidate is aggrieved he or she has the first line of complaint, followed by an appeal to the hearing officer and then the NEC board. A decision of the board can be put forth to the supreme court if the complaining party is not satisfied. However in this case, the process was skipped to the high court without going through the required process.
The icing of certification of the three candidates is the first time in Liberia’s history that elected officials have had their certifications iced.
Cllr. Theophillus Gould told reporters after the ceremony that Speaker Tyler was out of line to question the wisdom of the high court regarding the placing of the certification on hold. “Surprised at Tyler to question the wisdom o fth supreme court. It puts him in contempt of the supreme court. He should be held in contempt because he has no place to question the wisdom of the Supreme Court. You cannot question the wisdom of the Supreme Court and Alex Tyler is in the wrong and I am very surprised.”
IN late December, the Supreme Court itself had distanced itself from the political process when in a 3-2 opinion marred by dissent from two members of the bench, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, opined that the court is not a political branch, thus the issue before this court is political making it impossible for the court to hear the petition. "Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the majority of the honorable Supreme Court bench hereby quashed and denied the writ of the prohibition and the stay order on the pending special senatorial election is hereby lifted.
Explained Chief Justice Korkpor: "This court is not a political branch and the issue before this court is political and we cannot hear this petition.”
In a related development, Senator elect and football legend George Manneh Weah has ruled himself out of the race for the Pro Temp, saying he is not opting to contest. “I’m watching, observing and whoever wins the pro temp will be deserving and do the work of the Liberian people.”