The Supreme Court of Liberia’s latest ruling that qualifies two vice presidential aspirants to contest the October elections has generated mixed reactions with some politicians and legislators criticizing the High Court’s opinion.
The full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia Thursday ruled that the vice standard bearers of Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) violated the Code of Conduct for government employees and public officials but unanimously reversed the rejection and disqualification of the aspirants on grounds that their breach of the law was not substantial enough to warrant the punishment given to them by the National Elections Commission (NEC).
This ruling means all aspirants who violated the law but resigned before the Supreme Court’s March 3, 2017 ruling are qualified to contest as candidates in the scheduled October Elections.
For the Liberty Party and the appointed public officials who were feeling the crunch of the law, the ruling is a redemptive relief.
Mr. Harrison Karnwea, whose candidacy the Court restored told journalists the July 20 ruling reinforces his confidence in the judiciary to dispense justice for all.
But the crafters of the law are unhappy. Maryland County Senator Dan Morais Friday walked out of a special-plenary session intended to approved the 2017/2018 National Budget in protest.
“ I am waking out because there are serious issues that developed overnight that has all of the ingredients to plunge this country into chaos and my colleagues have refused to include it on the agenda to be discussed, ” he said.
“There is something we called ‘legislative response to a judicial review. I think it was urgent to place that item on the agenda to be discussed. For me, the issue today is how we can address an issue that is bringing divisiveness in Liberia, where one person because of name and status can be adjudged guilty while others who have big names, though they also violated as well and we are satisfied to say, they are not guilty.”
The Senator said “Chaos comes when laws are not respected; chaos comes when people can apply two separate laws to one group of people.
“Justice should be served to everyone regardless of where they come from. I believe justice was not accorded to everyone.
“The Supreme is telling us that CoC did not exist until the court ruled that it was constitutional on March 3, 2017 ? Is that what the Court is saying. I disagreed with that aspect. CoC was passed into law June 20, 2014 that means, it was the effective date of the law- so, to start analyzing the law as of March 3, 2017.”
The Senator also lamented that the high Court should have also allowed Mr. Abu Kamara who was denied earlier despite acknowledging that there was procedure errors from the National Elections Commission to be find as well.
The action by the court “seems to me that every law we make here, we have to go to the supreme Court to get approval before it becomes law. We have to wait until the law is constitutional before it becomes applicable”
Writes Alex Yomah