Liberia: Bility’s Mobile Broken – allAfrica.com
Liberia’s Supreme Court has upheld a petition filed by the Unity Party seeking legitimacy to participate in Lofa’s upcoming senatorial race.
The UP lawsuit arose out of an earlier request by the CPP, through embattled Liberty Party (LP) chairman Musa Bility, asking the electoral governing body to stop the UP to present its own candidates in the by-election of Lofa and by extension. , the presidential and legislative elections of 2023, on the basis of their withdrawal from the CPP.
This was confirmed by the NEC Hearing Officer and subsequently reaffirmed by its Board of Commissioners on 25 April 2022, denying the party the constitutional right to participate in an electoral process, until the High Court can make a decision to this effect.
This ruling by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) was challenged and the party appealed to the Supreme Court which is the final arbiter of justice in Liberia.
In its judgment over the weekend, the Supreme Court ruled that Article 8.5(2) of the CPR Framework Documents violated the Constitution which is the organic law of the land on this basis the Unity Party was awarded the full right to nurture a candidate of their own in the ongoing Lofa County by-election.
The High Court finds that the CPP is wrong in including such a clause in its legal document, knowing that it contravenes the Constitution, which supersedes all other laws, statutes, etc.
According to the Supreme Court, the constitution of Liberia is the supreme and fundamental law of the land and its provisions have binding force and effect on all authorities and persons throughout the Republic.
This means that all laws, treaties, statutes, decrees, customs and regulations found to be inconsistent with it, to the extent of the inconsistency, are void and of no legal effect and must be declared so by the Supreme Court.
Section 8.5(2) of the CPP Framework Document which prevents constituent political parties of the CPP that have duly withdrawn from said collaboration from fielding candidates for election violates Article 17 and Article 79 of the Constitution of the Liberia.
As purported Article 8.5(2) of the CPC Framework Document, being manifestly contrary to the Constitution, statutory laws and public order, the Supreme Court further declares it null and void.
“The Appellants, ALP, and UP having duly withdrawn from the CPP are free and unfettered to pursue any political interest on their behalf, including fielding candidates for the Lofa County Senate by-election, if they choose” , the court added.
The High Court recognizes and subscribes to Article 25 of the Constitution of Liberia which adheres to the principle of sanctity of contract; however, where a contract violates the Constitution or any statutory law, such a contract, the Court said, has no sanctity to be confirmed, protected or enforced.
The CPP originally consisted of four opposition political parties to include: UP, ANC, ALP and LP, the CPP later split, leaving only the ANC and a faction of the LP as allies following bitter internal conflicts.
It should be recalled that on May 9, the Board of Commissioners of the National Election Commission announced that it had postponed the planned by-election in Lofa County scheduled for May 10, 2022 and that it would be held according to the result of legal proceedings brought by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), the Unity Party (UP) and the All Liberians Party (ALP).
NEC Chairman, Mrs. Davidetta Brown Lansanah also announced that the NEC has been awarded the budgeted amount of US$1.2 million for the conduct of elections in Lofa County.
At present, the NEC is awaiting a mandate from the legislature to set a new date for the conduct of the election and it is believed that lawmakers have made an early return due to the situation involving the NEC and the by-election. of Lofa County.
The decision to postpone the May 10, 2022 special senate election in Lofa County came after the NEC hearing officer asserted that he lacked jurisdiction to make a judgment in the matter to declare the UP candidate’s participation due to constitutional issues and concerns raised. .
The NEC staff has ruled that due to the constitutional issues, in this case, the NEC is hereby barred from pursuing any action regarding the endorsement of the Unity Party candidate for the County Senate by-election. Lofa until the Supreme Court considers the constitutional issues involved. .