Opinion

Liberia’s Electoral Crisis and Legal Scope: The Prediction

The NEC Versus the Supreme Court

MY TURN: Bravo! For a change, this is a supreme decision by the Supreme Court of Liberia. I was one of those who took the Court to task in its double-talk and flip-flop ruling in the Code of Conduct Law cases.

The Court ruled in one of the cases that the Code of Conduct law was constitutional and then said in another case it was unconstitutional. But the Court got it right this time in upholding the prohibition request by Liberty Party leader Charles Brumskine.

There are good laws and there are bad laws, but conscience tells us to stand up when it matters. Because the law states that the NEC has 30 days to hear a complaint doesn’t make it right to deny others their due process rights.

In upholding the prohibition request, the Supreme Court told the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC) to not put the cart before the horse.

L/R: Justices Youh, Jan’eh, Chief Korkpor. Justices Wolokollie and Banks

The Court is simply telling the NEC to adjudicate the allegations of fraud and vote-rigging by Liberty Party before holding any runoff elections if in case a rerun is unlikely.

The NEC is saying it has 30 days to hear Mr. Brumskine’s fraud and vote-rigging complaint.

The question then is: what happens if there is merit in Mr. Brumskine’s complaint that the NEC rigged the elections? Would the NEC then call for new elections even after the NEC declares a “president-elect” from the November 7 runoff?

The NEC says it has up to November 23, 2017, to hear the complaint of the Liberty Party leader. The Supreme Court says it makes no sense to hold the runoff, then declare a president-elect and then hear Mr. Brumskine’s complaint later.

Conflicted NEC’s chairman Jerome Korkoya. Don’t follow mama Ellen’s orders, boy.  She na put you in trouble.

The Court noted that what if Mr. Brumskine decided to appeal his case to the Supreme Court if he didn’t like the decision by the NEC, that he has a right to appeal his case to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Court told the NEC to delay the runoff elections until Brumskine’s case is adjudicated.

The Court says if Brumskine should win his case, the NEC has 60 days to reschedule new elections, therefore time and money should not be of any consideration when someone or other’s constitutional rights are violated.

This is the debate we are having. To say that Mr. Brumskine who taught law does not have the right to protest any alleged fraud by the NEC is total nonsense.

We are not going to allow a few power-hungry Liberians to have their way and deny our people their fundamental human and constitutional rights.

Leaving office with big disgrace; no transition’s ceremony, ah ya!

If what Mr. Brumskine is alleging in his complaint are true and the Court agrees with him, then there must be new elections and the NEC’s chairman Jerome Korkoya and his fellow commissioners must be replaced before new elections are held.

Then, of course, President Ellen Johnson cannot name the new NEC’s Commissioners. It also means she and VP Joe Boakai must leave office on January 18, 2018, while we navigate our way forward to holding new elections.

Liberia is 170 years old and it must and will go on with or without lame duck President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The constitution spells out her replacement. Then she can go and retire all she wants.

It is a sad legacy to leave behind, that after serving as president for more than a decade, all the Harvard ‘graduate’ leaves behind is chaos when the world and Liberians expected a smooth political transition.  This is sometimes when one thinks he or she knows too much or is smarter than everyone that is exactly what happens.  The chicks are coming home to roost.

ARMAH-ZOLU-JALLAH, Incoming Caretaker President for two months, effective January 18, 2018.

Hence, our prediction is: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will not hand over power to her successor; she is too controversial and untrustworthy.  She will be replaced by a caretaker president for a month or two, probably that might be the president of the Liberian Senate, Senator Armah Jallah, who will conduct the election and hand over power to a new president.  President Sirleaf’s second term ends on January 2018.  She must go! Liberia needs peace.

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Jerry Wehtee Wion

Jerry Wehtee Wion is a veteran Liberian journalist and political commentator. His work experience includes serving as a former radio announcer and sports journalist for the ELWA radio in Liberia, press commentator to the Liberian presidency (1980- 1981), and as a staffer with the Associated Press in New York. He is currently based in Washington, DC and runs an informative call-in Liberian news hotline known as LANSNews.

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