Special Awards In Pictures

--As LP, UP Run To S/Court In Racketed Elections Claim
How positive or negative Cllr. Varney Sherman, Vice President Joseph or the Unity Party as well as Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine or the Liberty Party will be remembered in the annals of Liberian history lies with the outcome of their legal battle against the October 10 elections which they claimed was massively flawed.

LPUP S.Court 9x6From the National Elections Commission where their wishes did not materialize, they have turned to the Supreme Court of Liberia, as long expected, to make final determination – either to justify or disqualify –of the allegation of electoral fraud. What cannot be denied is the anxiety, the constitutional debacle, additional hardship their action has brought to bear, for which most Liberians are uneasy. As Joyclyn Wea reports, the case is now in its final showdown before the full Bench of the Supreme Court.

As the final arbiter of justice, the Supreme Court of Liberia is the remaining hope for both opponents and proponents of the October 10 polls as the Liberty Party (LP), the complainant, and Unity Party (UP), co-intervenient complainant, have run to the highest court to overturn to rulings of the National Elections Commission.

It is the final showdown in the legal struggle initiated by the concerned political parties against the results of the elections, for which the runoff between the UP and the CDC is being put on hold.

The Supreme Court ruling, whether nullification or affirmation of the rulings of the Hearing Officer and the Board of Commissioners of NEC against the LP and UP, will bring an end to the legal process which has brought the country close to the brink of constitutional crisis. The complainants, LP and UP, took appeal to the Board of Commissioners of the NEC after the Hearing Officer ruled against them one and half weeks ago.

The same was the decision of the Board of Commissioners, but the parties have taken exception to the ruling, and described the decision as ‘humors.’ The Board of Commissioners (BoCs) last Friday denied the appeal filed by the two parties.

The two parties filed the appeal following a ruling from the NEC chief dispute hearing officer denying their complaints of systematic fraud and gross irregularities arising from the October 10, 2017 polls.

Handing down the ruling, Commissioner Davidetta Brown Lasana ruled that the pieces of evidence adduced by the complainant (LP) and co-intervenient complainant (UP) do not meet the Supreme Court`s definition of fraud.

The NEC defined the Supreme Court definition of fraud as the employment of tracks or defection of anti-facts or to mislead another which it said must be established or proven.

Lawyers representing the legal interest of two parties, Cllr. James Innis and Cllr. Benedict Shannon, accepted the BoCs’ ruling but announced an appeal to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Reacting to the ruling, Unity Party’s lead lawyer in the case Cllr. Varney Sherman described the verdict as humors. He argued that NEC’s chief dispute hearing officer acknowledged challenges in the October 10, 2017 polls, a decision that the Board of Commissioners over ruled.

Against this, Cllr. Sherman stated they were taking an appeal to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court so as to revise the NEC ruling. He said the party is preoccupied with two options, either a re-run or runoff, and added NEC must correct the wrongs it created in the system “if the NEC should proceed with the runoff.” When questioned that the tenure of the president is almost closer and there is a fear that an interim government could take over; Sherman asserted that it is not about the president or wanting to delay, but rather setting the record straight for the next generation.

Cllr. Sherman said: “There is nothing in the constitution that talks about interim or caretaker government. Our constitution provides that when the tenure of the president expires, the Speaker of the House of Representatives will take over the country.”
Also speaking, the defeated presidential candidate for the opposition LP says its quest to seek justice is to set the record straight in Liberia. Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine clarified that he is not seeking his personnel interest as being perceived in some quarters. He further urged others to take ownership of the legal process of law and to as well embrace the ongoing legal process.

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