The National Elections Commission has with immediate effect,placed a halt on all activities toward conduct of the December 08 Special Senatorial election, pending outcome of a writ before the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Addressing a news conference Friday at the Commission headquarters in Monrovia, NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah said, the decision is based on a writ served the commission by the Supreme Court bench.
Chairperson Lassanah said, being respecter of the rule of law, the board of commissioners of the National Elections Commission has placed a halt to every activity toward the holding of the December 08 Special Senatorial elections.
She narrated that NEC should have released list of qualified candidates for the election and officially declared political campaign open but all have to be put at standstill until the Supreme Court hears the suit against the commission.
Political parties, candidates, sympathizers and Liberians in general hadmobilized for commencement of official campaign activities last weekend that could see their respective candidates of choice mounting a senatorial seat at the Capitol for the next nine years, but things fell apart and to their dismay, the Supreme Court placed a Stay Order on the December 08 Special Senatorial election, pending hearing of the lawsuit against the NEC.
Recently, leaders of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties filed a writ of Stay Order, first before the Justice in Chambers but the request was denied. Not being satisfied, the leaders, including former vice president Joseph NyumahBoakai, of the former ruling Unity Party; Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of the Liberty Party, NyonbleeKarnga Lawrence; businessman turned politician Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress and Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party took the stairs of the Supreme Court building in ensuring that the process be halted until the Final Voters’ Roll is cleaned technically and professionally.
Their appeal before the Supreme Court was denied. In a tweet on Saturday, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote “The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Liberia to deny the opposition appeal for a cleanup of the Voters Roll is a strike at our hard earned democracy.
During the 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections, the Liberty Party then headed by fallen Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine sued the commission for unfair play before the Supreme Court. The High Court, in its ruling, called for the cleaning of the Voters’ Roll Update, but it appears that the board of commissioners of the National Elections Commission failed to adhere accordingly.
The 2017 Voters Roll has since been in circulation for five by-elections, including the by-election that brought Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darious Dillon to the senate.
Liberians through their respective representatives and senators agree that citizens reaching age 18 and plus should register to be added to the current voters roll, something, that politicians took advantage of by trucking voters from one point to another.
However, the opposition community raised eyebrows on the process, and it is also believed the trucking of voters is one of the accounts in the stay order before the high court.
Constitutional lawyers here are cautioning that any delay in the conduct of the December 08 Special Senatorial election could lead the country to a constitutional crisis.
Liberians are expected to elect 15 senators before the end of this year or else, their tenure will expire on the second working Monday in January 2021, which could render the Senate an incomplete body (30 Senators) to perform its statutory duties. Such situation could also seePresident George Manneh Weah deliver his Annual Message before an incomplete body on the fourth working Monday of January.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne