LAST WEEK, THE Justice in Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Associate Justice Philip A.Z. Banks announced the halting of all activities leading to the Special Senatorial Election which is scheduled to take place on December 16, 2014 throughout the country.
THE JUSTICE IN Chamber’s decision was based on a Writ of Prohibition filed to the Supreme Court by several petitioners including the leader of the Movement for Progressive Change, Simeon Freeman, the former Grand Kru County Senator, Blamo Nelson; former Information Minister, Emmanuel Bowier, former Finance Minister, Nathaniel Barnes, Justice and Public Interest Consortium Africa (JUPICA) represented by its Case Management, Director E. Kartusan Norris and a registered voter, Edwin K. Martin who had earlier termed campaign activities as a violation of the public health law.
THE PETITIONERS PRAYED the Supreme Court recently to place a stay order on the December 16 special senatorial election, a process which began with campaign activities that was ongoing before the enforcement of the petitioners’ plea as they among other things are also arguing that there was no mass consultation for the holding of the election on the said date as announced by the NEC.
A WRIT OF Prohibition is intended to restrain and stop any ongoing process through legal means and the petitioners complained to the high court about how they felt threatened, completely defenseless and might live in fear should the NEC and the government of Liberia go ahead with the holding of the process which is characterized with huge public crowd of campaigners which might likely infuriate this demonic plague (EBOLA) to intensify its scourge remorselessly.
AT THE SAME time, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) has added its voice to the petitioners’ plea over the holding of the special senatorial election citing the credibility of the election when voters’ lists have not been made public as well as the identification of voting centers and precincts.
THE LCC SAID more needs to be done by the NEC to ensure a level playing field so that the election results will not throw the country into an unnecessary crisis and political instability; and also commented on the issue of deriving at a constitutional crisis should there be no election, the churches said the Liberian constitution is not ‘Lord and Gospel.’
INDEED, THERE MAY be several issues and concerns being raised pros and cons by institutions and individuals as well as some political parties ranging from unnecessary crisis and political instability to the absence of voters’ roll and precincts, as well as campaigners’ defiance of the Public Health Law.
WHAT IS MOST important in this matter is taking into account the forecast from the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that by November 30, to mid-January 2015, cases would have increased from 10, 000 to 1.4 million, having witnessed the toll the Ebola virus took on the population of our country.
WE ARE OF the conviction that whatever the claims or concerns are, it is equally important to adhere to the prohibition order by the Justice in Chamber as we urge all parties concerned to adhere to the legal restriction including supporters.
IT WILL DO us no good as a people to sit supinely and allow unscrupulous people ferment political instability because we are convinced that when there are healthy people then we are sure that there will be voters enough to elect people to positions of trust in government.
WE THEREFORE ENTREAT all of us to see the effort of the Liberian Judiciary as one that is in the right direction because the issues being raised stemmed from constitutional matters and would require interpretations.