LIBERIA: Supreme Court Justice Orders Trial Judge to Hear PUL Election Case After ‘Midnight’ Voting in Gbarnga

His Honour Yusuf D. Kaba

The presiding Justice in Chambers of the Supreme Court has mandated the Resident Circuit Judge of the Ninth Judicial Court in Gbarnga, Bong County to resume jurisdiction into the Action for Declaratory Judgement filed by the National Campaign Management Team of Julius Kanubah for the presidency of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).

In the mandate, contained in a judicial notice of 02 December 2022, Associate Justice Yussif D. Kaba, ordered Judge J. Boima Kontoe to proceed with the case in keeping with law.

The mandate comes two weeks after the Julius Kanubah Campaign Team filed a Petition for a Writ of Prohibition before the Justice presiding in Chambers on 21 November 2022.

The Writ of Prohibition was in relation to a contentious decision by Judge Kontoe to revoke and vacate, without hearing, a Writ for a Preliminary Injunction which he had earlier granted along with the Action for Declaratory Judgment as prayed for by Team Kanubah.

Although Associate Justice Kaba declined the Petition for a Writ of Prohibition prayed for by Team Kanubah, he mandated Judge Kontoe to take legal seize of the PUL controversy by assigning the case for judicial hearing and determination thereof.

Team Kanubah strongly believes the mandate by Justice Kaba is significant in one respect: Because in granting the Action for Declaratory Judgment on 18 November 2022, Judge Kontoe had ordered, amongst others, the Clerk of the Ninth Circuit Court “to temporarily restrain, enjoin, and prohibit the respondents [the administration of the Press Union of Liberia] and all those under their scope of authorities and supervision from carrying out any conduct of elections, or any other activities of the Press Union of Liberia pending the determination of the Declaratory Judgment Action filed by the Petitioners [Team Kanubah].”

Team Kanubah would like to make it unambiguously clear that until a legally conclusive determination is made into its Action for Declaratory Judgment, any actions/activities undertaken in the name of the PUL by what is considered the axis of voter roll fraud in the PUL comprising Charles Coffey, Daniel Nyakonah, Musa Kenneh, and Akoi Baysah as well as their network of enablers and collaborators who were strategically deployed on the PUL 2022 Congress Committee, chaired by Carolyn Myers-Zoduah, the sub-Committee on Elections and Inauguration, chaired by Atty. Ade Wede Kekuleh, and the two-person Membership Committee of Fabine Kwiah and Eddie Harmon, are and would remain null and void.

We should also note that Justice Kaba’s mandate comes after the now erstwhile and failed leadership of Charles Coffey and Daniel Nyakonah along with their Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) parachuted lawyer Samuel S. Pearson had misleadingly informed the Associate Justice on 30 November 2022 that “no progress” was made in finding solutions to the PUL controversy.

The fictitious “no progress” narrative by Coffey–Nyakonah and Pearson runs contrary to the proclaimed “Independent Media Stakeholder Committee” constituted by Coffey and publicly communicated by Musa Kenneh on 23 November 2022 and welcomed by the Daniel–Bettie Team on 24 November 2022. It is an act of sheer deception and fraud for Coffey – Nyakonah to set up and welcome their own Committee and then dishonestly select to tacitly disown the initial investigative workings of the very Committee comprising not only reputable voices but some of the moral guardians of the practices and ideas of media, journalism and communication in Liberia.

Team Kanubah is delighted that the Justice presiding in Chambers, Yussif Kaba, came up with the mandate for the application of the law to ensure a logical conclusion to the Membership Register (Voter Roll) fraud case beclouding the PUL, occasioned by the failure of the PUL erstwhile administration and its relevant Committees’ refusal to disaggregate and timely publish the Membership Register in line with Article 10 Section 7 of the PUL Constitution.

The judicial mandate, we think, is in keeping with Justice Kaba’s earlier statement during a conference on 23 November 2022 that unless the parties to the PUL controversy meet within a week and amicably find a common ground, he would make a determination in keeping with law, something that would prolong and drag the PUL crisis up to the full bench of the Supreme Court.

The trick by the trio of Coffey–Nyakoyah–Pearson to mislead the Associate Justice was sinister but Team Kanubah is resolved to ensuring electoral integrity in the PUL and would work with the leadership and membership of the Independent Media Stakeholder Committee to aid its investigative work in the interest of the PUL and the public.

With intent to hijack the PUL and plunge it in a state of anarchy at the behest of known and unknown benefactors, the undemocratically rapacious leadership of Coffey–Nyakonah failed to constitute such a Committee when the case of irregularities amounting to acts of fraud were first raised by Team Kanubah on 21 October 2022 and officially communicated and recommended to Coffey on 02 November 2022.

It is therefore vital that the Committee makes a public statement that its work remains in full swing despite the misrepresentation by Coffey–Nyakonah–Pearson. If not, we are afraid the Committee would be rendered a failure, something that would undermine and stain the reputation of its leadership and membership comprising Prof. Weade Kobbah-Boley, Chairperson; Kenneth Y. Best, Advisor; Mrs. Melissa Chea–Annan, Representing the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas; Martin Browne; A. Trokon Tarr; Euriahs Togar; Teah Doegmah; and Maureen Sieh.

Together with the legal hearing into the case of immense irregularities amounting to acts of fraud regarding the PUL 2022 Full Membership Register (Voter Roll), Team Kanubah is urging the Weade Kobbah–Boley Committee to ensure the right thing is done in the PUL because the credibility and moral voice of the Union has been extremely shredded by the six years of leadership failure under Charles Coffey and his competent escort Daniel Nyakonah, encircled by a network of fraudsters.

In 2019, Coffey and Nyakonah introduced and extensively employed the practice and tactic of Membership Register (Voter Roll) fraud. Unless concerted actions are mobilized to stem this dangerous undemocratic act, it would continue to dent and weaken the reputation and legitimacy of the PUL in the national conversations on good governance, with deleterious effects, especially in the context of the impending 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

Team Kanubah is keen on the reform of the PUL. Our manifesto represents a clear break from the malaise epitomizing the Coffey-Nyakonah disastrous nine years stay at the helm of the Union, scandalously climaxed by the holding of Midnight Elections on 19 and 20 November, outside of the Electoral Guidelines.

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