Supreme Court Halts Special Election…Meets Concerned Parties Tomorrow
The Supreme Court of Liberia has with immediate effect halted all activities leading to the Special Senatorial Elections which is scheduled for December 16th this year. The high court’s is further ordering all political parties and their candidates, including independent candidates contesting in this pending Special Senatorial Election to put an immediate halt to all political campaigning, rallies and any related campaigning activities pending the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The leader of the Movement for Progressive Change, Simeon Freeman and buttressed by former Grand Kru County Senator Blamo Nelson, former Information Minister, Emmanuel Bowier, former Finance Minister, Nathaniel Barnes, JUPICA and Edwin K. Martin who other things prayed the Supreme Court recently to place a stay order on the December 16th special senatorial election a process which had already begun with crowded gathering of campaigners in violation of the public health law.
The petitioners using as their basis Article 2 of the Liberian Constitution said the holding of the special senatorial elections in the midst of the Ebola crisis is also dangerous and counterproductive in the fight against the virus.
The prohibition which is intended to restrain and stop the NEC from proceeding with the conduct of the election any further, the petitioners informed the high court that they feel threatened, completely defend less and will 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, campaigns terming it a violation of the health procedure set in place to combat the Ebola outbreak.
The petitioners believe that the rallies and huge gathering which carries the rubbing of the crowd together will further exacerbate the current Ebola crisis and lead to new cases at a more alarming rate thereby preventing the nation from reaching zero new cases by Christmas as envisioned.
The Prohibition is also to remind the high court about 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.
The petitioners informed the court that the holding of the senatorial election at this time amounts to misplaced priority which would further harm the nation’s treasury and undermine the future allocation of financial resources to support educational and health institutions when they are reopened.
The petitioners further told the Supreme Court that their fear is bordered on the fact that for pending senatorial election, there is no voters’ roll and that this could become a contending issue to cause chaos and confusion and undermine the current democratic order while the country will be plunged into a serious political crisis with one contestant challenging the nonexistence of voters’ roll as a basis for their defeat.
At the same time, the Liberia Council of Churches has added its voice to the petitioners’ plea over the holding of the special senatorial election citing its credibility when the voters’ list has 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 commenting 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.’
The LCC also concurred with the petitioners on the issue of new outbreak of the Ebola virus should there be an election of December 16 because the virus is spread by contact and to uncontrollably congregate in mass would be at the detriment of the people.
The LCC craved the indulgence of the President, the National Legislature, the NEC, the Judiciary, traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations and as well as political parties to soberly reflect on where Liberians are and the consequences that would follow if the election were held as planned as together they consolidate the gains already realized by the reduction in the Ebola outbreak.
The parties involved are expected to appear before the Justice in Chamber on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 for investigation.