Dangerous precedence

– UP Chief Scribe

The National Secretary General of the ruling Unity Party has alarmed that the recent action of the Supreme Court, especially Justice-in-Chambers Philip A. Z. Banks to place prohibition on the certification ceremony of two of his stalwarts, is a dangerous precedence for the country in elections to come.

Mr. Wilmot Paye argued that without proper verifications  with the National Elections Commission or NEC, Justice Banks hastily placed prohibition on the certification of Senators-elect Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount, Morris Saytumah of Bomi and Jim Tornonlah of Margibi Counties.

Speaking at the certification ceremony of the Senators-elect, at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission on Monday in Monrovia, Mr. Paye described as unfortunate and unacceptable, for defeated candidates whipped by more than 10,000 votes to be favored by the Supreme Court which should be concerned with constitutional issues. Instead and unfortunately, he said, the highest Court reduced itself to mere unsubstantiated allegations, only to delay the certification ceremony of Unity Party’s senators-elect.

He asserted that the action was harmful and a clear manifestation of the abuse of judicial powers displaced by the Supreme Court of Liberia.

According to UP Secretary General, the unnecessary delay of his party stalwarts by the Supreme Court was a total ‘abuse of judicial powers’, noting that it was a precedence that others could  capitalize on during the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

He noted that the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections will bring on board many participants who may run to the court, if the results did not favor them- a situation the court will be compared to accept because of the precedence set by Justice Banks.

On January 4, 2014, NEC Chairman Jerome George Korkoya, narrated that the commission received an instruction from the court, requesting it to deny Senators-elect Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party and Tornonlah of Margibi County, and later before the start of the ceremony on Saturday morning, the court again issued another injunction- this time denying former Minister of State for Legal Affairs in the President’s office, Senator-elect Morris Saytumah of Bomi County for the same reason.

“We were informed by the Supreme Court through his Honor, Justice Banks that [the] three should not be certificated because there are some proceedings that the court had received and the matter is before the bench. We’re so sorry for the inconvenience this will [cause] winners, families, supporters and followers,” the NEC boss said.

Senator-elect Saytumah of the ruling Unity Party won with 8,857 votes, amounting to 47.1 per cent of total votes cast in Bomi, while Cllr.Varney Sherman won  13,651 votes, amounting to 61.7 per cent of the total votes cast in Grand Cape Mount County. Senator-elect  Jim Tornonlah of the People Unification Party or PUP and Margibi County  won 7,893 votes or 30.5 per cent of the total votes cast.

The first to condemn the action of the Supreme Court was Speaker Alex Tyler. Following the certification of 12 of the 15 senators-elect, he described the Court’s decision as a bad precedence for the country’s democracy, arguing that it was necessary for people who may expressed dissatisfaction over election results to follow the rules of the electoral commission.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

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