By: Jerromie S. Walters
9th Street Sinkor, Liberia: The National Elections Commission (NEC) today ordered the resumption of jurisdiction over the Collaborating Political Party (CPP) versus Unity (UP/All Liberian Party (ALP) case. The NEC further denied UP’s motion to dismiss a case filed by the CPP. UP in it’s motion indicated that the Framework Document is currently a matter in court and cannot be the subject of a complaint before the NEC.
During a major ruling on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the Commission mandated it’s Hearing Officer to proceed with the case as swiftly as possible; given the fact that there has not been any finality of the case.
The Unity Party’s motion comes following stands by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to the National Elections Commission to scrutinize the UP unfinished legal standing with the CPP, especially inline with its Framework Document, to feed candidate in the upcoming Lofa County senatorial election.
In a communication dated March 24, 2022, both the Alternative National Congress (ALP) and the Musa Bility fraction of the Liberty Party (LP) complained that hasn’t been any notice for the UP’s withdrawal, though there are reports indicating same.
In their complaint, the CPP called on the NEC to provide them with the official status of the ALP and UP as it relates to the CPP, and to further compel the ALP and UP to provide official communication to the CPP in their withdrawal. “Neither the National Advisory Council, nor the National Executive Committee of the CPP have been officially notified of the Parties’ withdrawal”.
The ANC and Bility’s fraction of the LP however reminded the NEC of Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document which prescribes the process by which a constituent party may withdraw its membership from the collaboration.
Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document provides that, “Constituent Party desiring to withdraw from the CPP shall first exhaust the dispute resolution mechanism stipulated in the framework document. If the Constituent Party which has satisfied the dispute resolution mechanism is not satisfied with the outcome, it shall file a resolution to withdraw from the CPP signed and duly executed by two-thirds (2/3) of the membership of the National Executive Committee, it is being understood, however, that a party withdrawing from the alliance prior to the next presidential, legislative and local elections shall not field candidates in its name”.
The CPP communication was issued under the signatures of embattled Chairman Bility and Martin Kollah Chairman and Secretary-General of the LP, and Daniel Naatehn and Aloysius Toe, Chairman and Secretary-General of the ANC respectively.
Referencing Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document as a fundamental tool for the jurisdiction, the ANC and LP urged the National Elections Commission to reject any application from the end of the ALP and UP to put up candidate (s) in their names in any election until the expiry of the 2023 elections, including up to a period of six months in line with the collaboration agreement.
Sharply counter reacting to the CPP’s complaint, the Unity Party (UP) provided that NEC does not have jurisdiction to hear the CPP complaint, arguing that an agreement between political parties, and any violation thereof, is not cognizable before NEC because NEC only has jurisdiction over elections cases not political party cases. Additionally, the UP argued that the matter of the Framework Document is the subject of an ongoing litigation and therefore the NEC cannot provide advisory opinion or status to any party. However, NEC in it’s Tuesday ruling signed by the various Commissioners, Co-chair and Chairperson, affirmed that following the review of its records proceedings on issues presented by the UP, it found absolutely no merit in any of the issues and further authorized proceeding in the CPP complain. “We note that the petitioners in the instant case did not present any record/precept from the Monrovia Coty Court to support it’s lis pendens argument. Taking administrative notice of however public information, we note that there is a criminal case pending before the Monrovia City Magisterial Court cautioned : Republic of Liberia By & thru All Liberian Party, by and through it’s National Chairman, Theodore Momo of the City of Monrovia (Plaintiff) v. Alexander B. Cummings, Aloysius Toe and Daniel Naatehn, by way of contract, the Party before us are the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) versus All Liberian Party & the Unity Party,” NEC noted. The National Elections Commission further clarified that Parties in the referenced actions before the Monrovia City Court) are not the same, as those in the instant action before.