A ruling by the Supreme Court on Thursday July 20, mandating the National Elections Commission or NEC to revert an earlier decision rejecting the nomination application of Liberty Party or LP vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea appears to have ignited the party’s hope of a 2017 victory.
Thousands of LP partisans took to the various streets across the country in jubilant mood following the superior court’s pronouncement that the party’s vice standard bearer should be allowed to contest.
Partisans in both Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties- the homes of both LP standard bearer Charles Brumskine and vice standard bearer Karnwea respectively took to the streets celebrating the court’s decision as a sign of victory for their party.
Reports from the South East and other parts of the country spoke of similar celebrations following the ruling. In Nimba where Brumskine and Karnwea visited shortly after the court’s ruling thousands of supporters trooped to the streets of Nimba welcoming their first and second partisans.
Many of the LP partisans and other political commentators believe that the ruling of the Supreme Court has put the party in a comfortable position in a sense that the ruling has foiled all attempts to deny the party victory.
Many of the party supporters believe that the Brumskine and Karnwea ticket is the best for 2017. Karnwea’s nomination was rejected on Friday July 7, by NEC on grounds that he felt short of the controversial Code of Conduct particularly Section 5 under political participation, which bars public officials from contesting for elected offices unless they had resigned two years prior to seeking office.
But officials of LP which filed an appeal before the court seeking a reversal of NEC’s decision said the Code of Conduct is not applicable to Karnwea.Karnwea announced his resignation from the ruling Unity Party in February at a news conference where he also disclosed his move to the LP.
The court in reversing NEC’s decision Thursday said Karnwea’s “violation of the Code was not egregious in nature”.
“…[As] of the date of the decision of this Court in the [Selena Mappy -] Polson case, the violation not be considered egregious and that the National Elections Commission shall apply only the applicable penalty laid in the Code, short of disbarment or disqualification”, Associate Justice Phillip A. Z. Banks said in the Supreme Court Opinion Thursday, 20 July.
“… [As] appeared on forms filled by him and filled with the National Elections Commission, that he had not resigned said position in accordance with the two years’ timeline prior to the ensuing October 2017 elections prescribed by the Code, he was in violation of the Code”, the Supreme Court admits.-Othello B. Garblah