Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, who recently won a complaint filed to the National Elections Commission (NEC) against the governing Coalition for Democratic Change says, he owes no one an apology for pledging his support during the 2017 Presidential election to former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
Sen. Morais few months ago took the CDC before the Commission, contesting the Coalition’s election of former Representative James Biney in a primary conducted in Maryland County as its candidate for the impending midterm senatorial election in December, citing the framework agreement that unites the three parties (CDC, NPP, and LPDP) under which he should have had first preference to re-contest as an incumbent senator for the county.
Following full investigation into the complaint, the NEC Board of Commissioners ruled that the CDC acted illegally in conducting primary in Maryland County and electing Mr. James Biney as its candidate for the senate, rather than giving incumbent Senator Morais the first preference in line with its own standing rules.
Morais had argued in his complaint that the framework agreement that the tripartite Coalition submitted to the NEC contains an incumbency clause that provides that a party to the agreement with seat(s) in the House of Representatives and/or the Senate shall reserve the right of nomination of the seat(s), noting that on the basis of the agreement, the right to nominate a candidate to vie for the county’s senatorial seat that he currently occupies belongs exclusively to his party, the NPP.
But the CDC excepted to the ruling and appealed to the Supreme Court, while instructing its partisans across the country to remain focused and fully engaged with all delegated tasks and obligations in line with the party’s victorious agenda towards the December polls.
“We call on all our partisans to continue field work across the country supportive of all the Coalition candidates duly certificated as a result of the Coalition primaries conducted,” CDC chairman Mulbah Morlu instructed.
However, speaking to OK FM 99.5 on Monday Senator Morais said he supported the Unity Party presidential candidate Ambassador Boakai against the CDC, the Coalition had not come into being, and the Senate by then agreed unanimously to supporting Boakai’s candidacy, who was also President of the Liberian Senate.
According to him, President Weah himself is not angry over his support for Boakai, and wonders why the President’s supporters should be angry that he didn’t vote for Mr. Weah in 2017.
Morais notes that after the elections, President Weah called his supporters and told them to put everything in the past and move on, saying, “I will not accused President Weah for anything or conspiracy against me, I am willing to work with this government.”
He clarifies that he didn’t take the Coalition to court, but rather before the NEC, seeking proper interpretation of the framework agreement that binds all three constituent parties, including the NPP.
“Those who are going to the President to tell him that I sue the Coalition, it’s not true. I sought an interpretation from the NEC of a certain Article in the framework of the Coalition.”
However, the Maryland Senator says no matter what happens, he is still a member of the Coalition, saying that his party, the National Patriotic Party is a member of the framework of the Coalition for the next six years.
He maintains that he did not have to be at the table when the documents were crafted, but by virtue of the fact that he is a member of the NPP whatever that was discussed there affects every constituent member including him that was physically absent.
He cites that section 7(g) of the Coalition’s working framework contains an incumbency clause which says that incumbent lawmakers of a constituent party shall enjoy first priority in an pending election before any other person, adding that Article 21of the framework says there is no law that is retroactive.
“Someone is trying to help a friend over the laws of Liberia; that’s why they ignored the framework and all that are in it, just to disintegrate the Coalition”, he points.
He discloses that during hearings at the NEC, the two parties (CDC and NPP) were told unequivocally the Maryland senatorial seat belongs to the NPP’s incumbent senator, which happens to be him, noting that the other Party took an appeal before the full board of commissioners, while five out of the six commissioners confirmed the ruling by the hearing officer against the CDC.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne