Supreme Court Clears Unity Party For Lofa By-election

Joseph N. Boakai, Unity Party Political Leader

The Supreme Court of Liberia, has upheld a writ of petition filed by the Unity Party seeking legitimacy to participate in the upcoming Lofa Senatorial Race.

The filing of the petition by the Unity Party and the All Liberian Party (ALP), to the Supreme Court and subsequent postponement grew out of an earlier request by the CPP, through embattled Liberty Party (LP) chairman Musa Bility, who had requested the NEC to prevent UP and ALP from fielding candidates in their own names in the Lofa by-election and by extension, the 2023 presidential and legislative elections, on the basis of their withdrawals from the CPP. 

The NEC’s full Board of Commissioners on Monday, 25 April 2022, reaffirmed a decision taken by its hearing officer to stop Unity Party from contesting the Lofa by-election until Liberia’s Supreme Court could decide. The Unity Party  then took the matter to the Supreme Court.

Originally made up of four opposition parties – UP, Alternative National Congress (ANC), ALP and LP – the CPP later broke apart, leaving only ANC and a faction of LP as allies following bitter internal conflicts

It may be recalled, the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission on May 9, announced that it had rescheduled the planned Lofa County by-election scheduled for May 10, 2022, and would be held based on the outcome of legal proceedings filed by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), Unity Party (UP) and the All Liberian Party (ALP).

NEC chairperson, Mrs. Davidetta Brown Lansannah also announced the NEC has received the budgeted amount of US$1.2 million for the conduct of the election in Lofa County.

As it is, the NEC is awaiting a mandate from the Legislature to schedule a new date for the conduct of the election and it is believed that lawmakers had made an early return because of the situation involving the NEC and the Lofa County by-election.

Now that the Supreme Court has decided that the candidate of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), can contest in the Special Senatorial By-Election in Lofa County, there are mixed views as to whether or not the Legislature or the NEC should schedule a new date.

The decision to postpone the May 10 special Senatorial Bi-Election in Lofa county came after NEC Hearing Office claimed that he lacks jurisdiction to render any judgment in the matter to declare the participation of the UP candidate due to the constitutional questions and concerns raised.

The NEC staff ruled that due to the constitutional issues, in this case, the NEC is hereby prohibited from proceeding with any action regarding the endorsement of the Unity Party’s candidate for the Lofa County Senatorial by-election until the Supreme Court considers the constitutional questions involved.

Unity Party Chairman Amin Modad (left) and Constitutional Lawyer Cllr. Pearl Brown-Bull addressing the press at different intervals; while angry supporters of Mo Ali throw jibes at police

“WHEREFORE AND IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, and so as to allow the opportunity for the Honorable Supreme Court to possibly consider the constitutional questions raised in this matter, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is hereby prohibited from taking any further action or endorsement and form or other documents put forth by defendant(s) herein regarding the fielding of a candidate until otherwise determined,” ruled Atty. Fomba M. Swaray, NEC hearing officer. “It is worth noting that the Constitution governing documents of political parties are not written at the bar of the administrative forum. Hence, questions as to whether a political governing document is wise or unwise, are best directed at the political parties.”

He said “Moreover, questions as to whether such agreement is constitutional or unconstitutional are best reserved for the honorable Supreme Court. Accordingly, this investigation does not make any determination on the Constitutional issues raised by complainants and defendants respectively.”

In a rather swift response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Unity Party political leader, Joseph N. Boakai,  stated that victory at the Supreme Court is not only a victory for the people of Lofa County, but a momentous victory for the people of Liberia, and signifies renewed hope that Liberia is on its way to experiencing selfless, quality leadership; a leadership that you can trust!

“As Standard Bearer of the ever-potent Unity Party, I congratulate the legal team headed by former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Chairman Amin Modad and the leadership of the Party, the legislative caucus, partisans and supporters of the UP, the All Liberian Party of my good friend Benoni Urey, and Liberty Party of our distinguished Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence for this remarkable success. This victory is the beginning of what will happen in 2023!”

See full Text of Joseph N. Boakai’s Statement

‘My Fellow Liberians,

Today, the Supreme Court of Liberia has ruled that the Unity Party can field a Candidate in the Lofa County Senatorial by-election.

This is not only a victory for the people of Lofa County, but a momentous victory for the people of Liberia, and signifies renewed hope that Liberia is on its way to experiencing selfless, quality leadership; a leadership that you can trust!

As Standard Bearer of the ever-potent Unity Party, I congratulate the legal team headed by former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Chairman Amin Modad and the leadership of the Party, the legislative caucus, partisans and supporters of the UP, the All Liberian Party of my good friend Benoni Urey, and Liberty Party of our distinguished Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence for this remarkable success. This victory is the beginning of what will happen in 2023!

In the coming days, you will begin to see a mass movement of Liberians, both at home and abroad, subscribing to this vessel of honor, with a strong determination to restore Liberia’s lost image. Get ready, Liberia will rise again!

Let’s celebrate this victory! I am upbeat!

Let’s now go and win Lofa!

THINK LIBERIA, LOVE LIBERIA and let’s join hands together, and BUILD LIBERIA.

JNB’

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About Cholo Brooks 17490 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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