By: Staff Writer
Liberia-October 11, 2020-WTVNEWS: The National Elections Commission (NEC) has with immediate effect halted all activities leading to the conduct of the December 8, 2020 senatorial midterm elections following a notice from the Justice-in-Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh last Friday, October 9, 2020 notified NEC through its Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah to halt the publication of the final list of qualified candidates for the upcoming poll predicated upon a writ of mandamus filed by Mulbah S. Jackollie, an aspirant in the December 8 senatorial poll.
A Writ of Mandamus is a special proceeding to obtain a writ requiring the respondent to perform an official duty. It is not a preventive remedy but is essentially a coercive writ, one that commands performance.
As a result, NEC through its Chairperson, announced in a news conference on October 10, 2020, that it will no longer publish the list of candidates listing as well as declare campaign open across Liberia as expected; until the actions before the court are heard by the Chamber Justice.
Davidetta Browne Lansanah said, “As per the election guidelines, today should have been the day for the publication of the final list of candidates for the December 8, 2020, special senatorial election and declare campaign open; however, at 3:32 PM, the commission was served with a writ issued by the honorable supreme court of Liberia.”
She furthered “the writ grows out of petition for mandamus filed by Mr. Jackollie and it ordered the commission to stay all proceedings on the listing or publication of names of candidates pending the outcome of the hearing of the case.”
Madam Lansanah noted that in compliance with the court’s order, the commission will not publish the final list of candidates as planned and that it cannot also declare the campaign open in the absence of publishing the final list of candidates for the upcoming poll saying “We await outcome of the case and we will inform you accordingly.”
Over the weekend, Justice Youh ordered the National Election Commission Chairlady and her Deputies on Elections matter to immediately put a halt on publishing the listing of candidates following a writ of Mandamus filed by Mulbah S. Jackollie a senatorial aspirant through its legal Counsel, Cllr. Jallah Barbu.
“You are hereby commanded to notify the NEC of the Republic of Liberia by and thru its chairperson and all commissioners and authorities responsible for elections matter serving under her leadership and their authority of the Republic of Liberia, respondent in the above-entitled cause of action to appear by filing their returns before her Hon. Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh Associate Chambers Justice of the Supreme Court on or before the October 14, 2020 at 9am to show cause why the petitioner’s petition prayed for should not be granted” Justice Youh Instructed.
It furthered “You are further commanded to instruct the respondent (NEC) to file their returns to the writ of Mandamus in the office of the Supreme Court clerk on or before Oct 14, 2020” she stated
By this order from the Supreme Court, the NEC has been ordered to halt all proceedings and or actions on the listing and publication of candidates’ names pending the outcome of the hearing on the matter.
Subsequently; the Collaborating Political Parties has again filed another petition for the writ mandamus after the Justice-In-Chamber of the high court declined to issue the previous writ as pray for by the CPP to compel NEC to perform a legal action by cleaning the 2017 voter roll.
CPP filed a writ of mandamus, and later withdrew and refilled to compel the respondent to perform certain legal duties. CPP earlier asked the court to allow the NEC clean the voter roll with their participation or involvement, but the chamber justice declined to issue such writ for undisclosed reason.
The CPP is now pleading with the High Court to compel the National Election Commission, the House of Representatives and the Executive Branch of Government to conduct the Representative by-election in both Montserrado and Sinoe Counties on or before October 28, 2020.
CPP in its petition is resisting the holding of the representative by-elections for the vacancies caused by the fallen of district #9 and District #2 Representatives on the same date of the senatorial midterm election.
They emphasized that based on the unethical and unconstitutional act by the Legislature not notifying the NEC within 30 days of the vacancies created in the Legislature by the deaths District#2 and District#9 Representatives “It is profoundly regrettable to bring to the attention of the court that the NEC has declared that it will conduct the by- election for these two vacancies on December 8, 2020,” says the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claimed NEC’s unilateral announcement of December 8, 2020, as the same date for the holding of the two Representatives by-elections without the involvement of the political parties something it believes is a deliberate, calculated, wanton, and vicious assault on the letter and spirit of the 1986 Constitution and with callous disregard for its consequences.
“Therefore, the issuance of the writ of mandamus is instructing the NEC to perform its constitutional and statutory duty by conducting the pending by-elections in strict conformity with the constitutionally mandated timelines.”