By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Some concerned members and officials of the Grand True Whig Party (TWP), Liberia’s oldest existing political party in the country have filed a lawsuit against the Government of Liberia for taking over the party’s headquarters, the Edward J. Roye Building on Ashmun Street, Monrovia.
In their petition to the Six Judicial Circuit Law Court at the Temple of Justice, the TWP partisans including Reginald B. Goodridge, Chairman, Concerned True Whig Party Partisans, Preston Doe Knuckles, Executive member of the TWP, prayed the Civil Law Court to grant them Petitioners’ Petition and declare Petitioners rights as legitimate owners of the E.J. Roye Building; enjoin any further actions on the part of the Respondents and restrain, prohibit them from illegally entering upon, constructing thereon a structure or any form of renovation.
The concerned TWP partisans also prayed the court to restrain government from passing any order, making any declaration pursuant to the intent and purpose and ensure and guarantee unto the Petitioners their property rights as guaranteed in the 1986 Constitution and declare null and void the shadowy use of PRC Decree basis for illegally taking away the party’s property.
The partisans also want the Civil Law Court to restrain the Liberian Government from ordering/issuing any actions, orders or instructions that will grant any remedy or any such act, as provided for under Article 97(a) of the Constitution. They also prayed the court to grant unto them these and all further relief that are just, legitimate and legal to advance the aspirations of the True Whig Party credible democratic institution operating under the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
Mr. Goodridge and his colleagues want the court to order the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents to cease their shadowy transaction by using PRC Decree#11 to intimidate and harass peaceful and democratic institutions and declare null and void any transaction executed under such undemocratic decree so that property rights are constitutionally sacrosanct.
The petitioners represented by their legal team, Kemp & Association in the case entitled Cause of Action prayed the court and to declare their rights as bona fide executives and partisans of the True Whig Party (TWP) of the Republic of Liberia, the owner of the historic E.J. Roye Building located on Ashmun Street, Monrovia, which has been, and is unquestionably being owned by the party for many decades.
According to the writ of summon issued on the Ministry of Justice, the General Services Agency (GSA), among others, the petitioners said they are not only legally registered members of the TWP but are also recognized by the National Elections as legitimate members of the Grand True Whig Party and therefore have the right to go after their property.
The petitioners argued that the statutory laws of Liberia regarding the acquisition of private property, has chosen, without any provocation an iron-fisted policy to forcibly enter upon or has forcibly entered upon, seized, commandeered and occupied the E.J Roye Building, the headquarters of True
Whig Party under the pretext of enforcing a People’s Redemption Council (PRC) Decree #11. The petitioners alleged that the second respondent is an agent of the Government that is being used to enforce the PRC Decree #11 to harass and intimidate them.
“ In fact it is the 2 Respondents who took armed police guards to the E.J. Roye Building and aggressively walked into the courtyard of the building in a combat-ready position, broke the doors, drove away people, and behaving like a posse of invaders, seeking territorial conquest; violently took down the ‘party’s flag which was hoisted by Petitioners over the E.J. Roye Building, sealed up the place and posted armed guards to protect the building to prevent Petitioners from gaining access to their own headquarters,” the petitioners further alleged.
Among other things, Petitioners further revealed that the 3rd Respondent headed a faction of the feuding parties in the TWP. “They and Petitioners were recognized as partisans and leaders of the TWP by the Board of Commissioners (BOC) of the National Elections Commission (NEC), but were(3 Respondents) specifically mandated to the TWP to a national convention within a reasonable period that would have resolved all the disputes within the TWP, but instead, have become a group of ‘businessmen’, secretly selling and transferring the ownership of the E.J. Roye Building under the cover of darkness to the 1st Respondent and without the knowledge of the partisans.