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NEC Declares Campaign Open

By Alex Yomah
At long last, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has officially declared campaign open in Liberia.
The elections authority’s decision followed the Supreme Court’s ruling and subsequent lifting of the stay Order placed on all election activities.
Making the declaration yesterday, NEC Chairperson, Davidetta Lassanah-Brown declared campaign open beginning yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 18, and ends December 6, midnight across Liberia.
NEC also published the full names of 108 persons inclusive of males and females that duly met the requirements to contest the Dec. 8 senatorial race as required by elections law.
“For the pending by-elections, eight candidates registered and qualified for Montserrado District #9, while other eight persons also registered and duly qualified for the Sinoe County by-elections bringing the total number of qualified candidates to 122,” NEC disclosed.
The NEC however admonished all parties to submit campaign launch schedules, noting that there will be no two parties launching the same day.
On yesterday, the Supreme Court lifted the Stay Order on the electoral activities across the country including campaigns and mandates the National Elections Commission (NEC) to proceed in keeping with law.
The high court’s mandate to voluntarily discontinue the matter is due to a note from the petitioner, Mulbah Jackollie, informing the court of his withdrawal from the electoral process citing security threats on the lives of him and his family.
The NEC which began the activities leading to the election on December 8 on a rather guided schedule will now be forced to adjust all of its timetables regarding the dates for each event if the December 8 elections are to be held as planned.
Recently, Mr. Jackollie filed an application to the Justice in Chamber, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus which would have placed a Stay Order on the electoral process because according to him, he did register but his name was omitted from the provisional listing released by the NEC.
The lawyer representing Jackollie who is an aspirant for the senatorial seat in Margibi County, Cllr. Jallah Barbu said, his client’s withdrawal came as a shock to himself because he received the information while enroute to court on yesterday.
On October 9, 2020, Associate Justice Yuoh notified the NEC through its Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah to halt the publication of the final list of qualified candidates for the upcoming poll predicated upon a Writ of mandamus filed by Mr. Jackollie.
A Writ of Mandamus is a special proceeding to obtain a writ requiring the respondent to perform an official duty. It is not a preventive remedy, but is essentially a coercive writ, one that commands performance.
As a result, NEC through its Chairperson, announced in a news conference October 10, 2020 that it will no longer publish the list of candidates listing as well as declare campaign open across Liberia as expected; until the actions before the court are heard by the Chamber Justice.
Justice Youh ordered the NEC Chairperson and her deputies on Elections matters to immediately put halt on publishing the listing of candidates following a writ of Mandamus filed by Jackollie through his legal Counsel, Barbu.
“You are hereby commanded to notify the NEC of the Republic of Liberia by and thru its chairperson and all commissioners and authorities responsible for elections matter serving under her leadership and their authority of the republic of Liberia, respondent in the above entitled cause of action to appear by filing their returns before her Honor Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh Associate Chambers Justice of the Supreme Court on or before the October 14, 2020 at 9: a.m. to show cause why the petitioner’s petition prayed for should not be granted” Justice Youh Instructed.
It furthered “You are further commanded to instruct the respondent (NEC) to file their returns to the Writ of Mandamus in the office of the Supreme Court clerk on or before October 14, 2020” she stated
By this order from the Supreme Court, the NEC has been ordered to halt all proceedings and or actions on the listing and publication of candidates name pending outcome of the hearing on the matter.
On the other hand, the Collaborating Political Parties also filed another petition for the Writ of Mandamus but the Justice-In-Chamber of the high court declined to issue the previous writ as pray for by the CPP to compel NEC to perform a legal action by cleaning the 2017 voter roll.
CPP in its petition was resisting the holding of the representative by-elections for the vacancies caused by the fallen of district #9 and district #2 Representatives on the same date of the senatorial election.
They emphasized that based on the unethical and unconstitutional act by the Legislature by not notifying the NEC within 30 days of the vacancies created in the Legislature of the deaths of District #2 and District #9 Representatives pointing out, “It is profoundly regrettable to bring to the attention of the court that the NEC has declared that it will conduct the by- election for these two vacancies on December 8, 2020.”
The lawsuit claimed NEC’s unilaterally announced December 8, 2020 as the same date for the holding of the two Representatives by-elections without the involvement of the political parties; something it believes is deliberate, calculated, wanton and vicious assault on the letter and spirit of the 1986 Constitution and with callous disregard for its consequences.

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