UP Fielding Candidate In Lofa Unlikely As NEC Let’s Go of CPP UP and ALP Saga

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has declared itself prohibited from taking any further action on any endorsement form or other document put forth by the Unity Party (UP) regarding the fielding of a candidate in the pending Lofa County Senatorial bi-election until otherwise determined.    

In a ruling handed down by Attorney-at-Law Fomba A.M. Swaray, NEC Hearing Officer, the decision of Thursday, April 21, 2022  will allow the parties the opportunity for the Supreme Court to possibly consider the constitutional questions in the matter.

NEC’s ruling emerged after the former ruling UP was denied a request by the Board of Commissioners on April 5, 2022 in order for the NEC to recuse itself from the complaint filed by the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), now compromising Liberty Party (LP) and Alternative National Congress (ANC).

It can be recalled that CPP complained the UP and All Liberian Party (ALP) to the NEC after the latter announced their exits from the CPP.

CPP argued via the complaint that the exits by UP and ALP were not in accordance with the laid out procedure prescribed in the CPP Framework Agreement.

Therefore, CPP believes, they should not be recognized by the NEC as individual political parties or be given an opportunity to field candidate (s) in their names.

The contesting CPP parties further argued that a clause in the CPP Framework Agreement 8.52 forbids parties exiting from fielding candidates in an ensuing election in their name.

“There have been no official communications from the ALP or UP to either the CPP National Advisory Council or National Executive Committee regarding the said withdrawal. We also learned that both parties have requested the commission to bar the use of their names and logos from the CPP logo,” the communication stated.

UP, notwithstanding, responded with the argument that its withdrawal from the CPP was made public and that its executives were removed from the CPP WhatsApp chat room upon the pronouncement.

UP also argued that the issues raised can only be validated by the court, for which the former ruling party wanted the case to be dismissed.

But, the NEC Board of Commissioners ruled that after reviewing the petition, there was no merit in the issues presented to warrant judicial review.

Therefore, the NEC Board of Commissioners affirmed the Hearing Officer’s disposition of those issues without further discussion.

The NEC Board ruled, “Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, petitioners’ petition is hereby denied; and because time is of the essence, the hearing officer is hereby directed to immediately resume jurisdiction and proceed as expeditiously as possible in keeping with law.”

Despite the NEC ruling, former Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai, as UP  Standard Bearer, insisted that there was no way that the NEC would release a candidate listing for the by-election in Lofa County without a UP candidate.

Former VP Boakai expressed the confidence of the UP in the competence of the NEC as far as the matter is concerned.

Ex-VP Boakai noted, “We have very competent lawyers who have been representing our interest at the National Elections Commission. They met the full Board of Commissioners and I want to assure you that our National Elections Commission has the competence and we have the confidence in them that the right thing is going to be done. So far, there has been no posting of any list of candidates, not even our candidate from the Unity Party. We want to assure you that there will be no election list posted that will not have the name of our Unity Party candidate, you may be assured of that.”

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