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NEC wins another election case

Liberia’s Supreme Court has denied another elections appeal filed against the National Elections Commission (NEC) by defeated Liberia Transformation Party (LTP’s) Grand Gedeh County District #2 representative candidate, Mr. Patrick Bowah who disputes ex-warlord Dr. George Boley’s victory.

Following his defeat at the October polls in Grand Gedeh County, Mr. Bowah challenged the results before the NEC’s Elections Magistrate in the County but lost the case. The Supreme Court finds that Mr. Bowah failed to comply with the provisions of the law regarding the filing of an appeal with the NEC’s Board of Commissioners, thus rendering his appeal dismissible.

The Court’s ruling on Wednesday, 13 December comes after it earlier on Thursday, 7 December denied an appeal filed before it by opposition Liberty Party (LP) against the NEC, dismissing a request by the party for a rerun of the entire polls over alleged elections fraud and irregularities.

Both the defeated candidate Mr. Bowah and representative – elect Dr. Boley appeared at the Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon, 13 December when the high court unanimously handed its final ruling on the matter.

The hearing at the Supreme Court bordered on the technical formalities that the parties must observe from the first appeal process before the NEC’s Board up to filing appeal at the Supreme Court level, which would have paved the way to either hear or decline to hear the main case of alleged irregularities claimed by Mr. Bowah.

“That the filling of the appeal with the Elections Magistrate by the appellant, did not constitute filing as contemplated by the elections law,” Associate Justice Sie – A- Nyene G. Yuoh says in reading the unanimous opinion of the Court.

Mr. Bowah had earlier lost an appeal before the NEC’s Board of Commissioner on grounds that he filed it outside the statutory period. He raises issues of bad road condition that contributed the constraints of filing the papers before the Board in Monrovia within 48 hours as required by law.

The Supreme Court is cleared that the filing of the bill of exception through email is ultra vires because the law does not allow the electronic filing of court orders, or notices, or other official court documents.

The Court says the Constitution here makes it mandatory to hold presidential and general elections in October, a month at which the rainy season is at its peak here. But the Court notes that until the law is amended, elections will be held in the season, NEC will continue to transport materials and candidates will continue to campaign in the season as well.

The Court says if it were to rule on the contrary, it would have set a precedence that candidates will rely on when they have cases of such.
The representative – elect Dr. Boley may now be at ease in awaiting January when the new batch of elected lawmakers are due to assume offices, given the close of the case filed against his victory

By Winston W. Parley-by Mr. Bowah.

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