Liberia’s Supreme Court has ordered the National Elections Commission’s Board of Commissioners to certificate Margibi County Senate- elect Jim Wonba Tornonlah, having lifted a stay order placed on his certification due to his contender’s rejection of the December 2014 election results.
The defeated Margibi County senatorial candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC, Professor Ansu D. Sonii challenged the election outcome of Margibi at the level of the NEC, and later took both the commission and winning candidate before the highest court under a prohibition against certificating Mr. Tornonlah.
But the court on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 confirmed Mr. Tornonlah, a candidate of the People’s Unification Party or PUP as the winner of the Margibi senatorial polls.
The court ruled yesterday that Mr. Tornonlah was entitled to all benefits and emoluments retroactively as is [he had] seated on January 112, 2015.
In the high court’s judgment authorized by Associate Justices Kabineh M. Ja’neh, Jamesetta H. Wolokolie, and Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, the clerk has been ordered to send a mandate to the NEC to give effect to the judgment.
Following the December 2014 Special Senatorial Election, similar challenges erupted in many counties, with defeated candidates appealing to the Supreme Court to prohibit certification of several senators-elect while complaints against their victories were still pending at the NEC.
The high court heard series of related election matters following defeated candidates’ protest, on grounds that the NEC was attempting to certificate others when it had not concluded probe into concerns rose by the defeated parties.
Protests mounted against NEC’s declared results favoring incumbent Grand Cape Mount County Snator Cllr. Varney G. Sherman, Maryland County’s Gble-bo Brown, River Gee’s Comany B. Wesseh, as well as Bomi’s Morris Saytumah, among others.
In February this year, the Supreme Court equally confirmed the NEC’s declaration of Cllr. Sherman as Senator of Grand Cape Mount County and Mr. Morris Saytumah as Senator of Bomi County.
With the confirmation of Margibi’s Tornonlah yesterday, the 15 newly elected senators may now be fully seated at the Capitol, as Mr. Tornonlah appeared to have been the remaining newly elected senator to be awaiting conclusions into legal battle before he would taste power in the Senate.
By Winston W. Parley