By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberty Party (LP) embattled chairman Musa Hassan Bility has filed a double lawsuit before Liberia’s Supreme Court.
Bility’s lawsuits are filed against the National Elections Commission (NEC) over its decision to halt the party’s planned national convention.
Bility told a press conference in Sinkor Monday that LP faction filed the lawsuit and a writ against the NEC because the commission decided to reverse a previous decision authorizing the LP’s convention.
“This morning, we authorized our legal team headed by Cllr. Hilton Powo to file two writs/lawsuits at the Supreme Court against the National Elections Commission,” Bility said.
Liberty Party is divided into two factions between Mr. Bility and the party’s political leader and Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence.
The split in the party follows a prolonged internal fight that continues today.
Over the weekend, the NEC denied the consolidated motions to dismiss the judicial review as prayed for by lawyers representing Mr. Bility in the inter-party conflict of the Liberty Party.
The Board of Commissioners in their ruling Friday instructed the Hearing Officer, Cllr. Muana Ville to take charge of the matter.
It instructed Cllr. Ville to resume jurisdiction in the inter-party case involving Bility and Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Emmanuel Azango, all of the Liberty Party.
Lawyers representing Mr. Bility led by Cllr. Hilton Powo excepted the ruling and said they were taking advantage of the law controlling.
The Nyonblee faction was represented by Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and Cllr. Augustine Fayiah.
In the Board’s ruling on 18 November 2022, read by its Clerk, Fofee Sheriff, it said the Hearing Officer did not err when he issued the stay order on the Convention of the Liberty Party and the motion for judicial review.
The five members Board of Commissioners, led by the presiding and Acting BOC Chairperson, Cllr. P. Teplah Reeves, Floyd Oxley Sayor, Cllr. Ernestine Morgan Awar, Josephine Kou Gaye, and Barsee Leo Kpangbai, signed the two motions in the Liberty Party case.
But Bility said his LP faction has filed the lawsuits against the NEC for the Supreme Court to give an interpretation and make the correction.
He said he wants the Supreme Court to take the appropriate action because he is convinced that the NEC’s action is illegal and wrong.
“Our legal team has filed a writ appealing to the Supreme Court to review the decision and action of the NEC and interpret it and [take] the appropriate action,” he said.
He added that his lawyers have also filed a second writ to review the illegal action of the NEC Board of Commissioners to attempt to undo what it did previously.
He described the action taken by the NEC to halt his LP faction’s planned national convention as shameful, disgraceful, and disgusting.
He wondered how a mature body like the NEC which should be independent would be behaving childish and reversing its decision.
“Sadly, we have noticed a very dangerous step being taken by the NEC to engage in activities that it does not have the authority to do,” Bility claimed.
The NEC under our law does not have the authority to reverse itself. It’s only the Supreme Court and the national legislature that have such power,’’ he argued.
He explained that the board of commissioners on two occasions has ruled and informed Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Kangar-Lawrence that she had no authority to withdraw the LP constitution only if she goes to the convention and amend it.
However, Mr. Bility insisted that now for the NEC to reverse its decision to stop the convention is wrong because the commission does not have that authority.