The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

PUL Elections Halted

By Alex Yomah
Several Liberian journalists who converged in Monrovia to vote for their respective candidates in the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) scheduled elections were disappointed when the process was halted abruptly following the report from the Election Committee that the court had placed an injunction on the already ongoing process.
On Saturday, November 9, while the voting process had commenced at the rescheduled venue, the headquarters of the PUL, the 6th Judicial Circuit of the Civil Law Court of Montserrado County placed a Notice of ‘Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order’ on the much- talked about and widely-anticipated process upon the requests of petitioners Sekou Sherif, W. Omecce Johnson, Sebo Williams and Samuel Hassay, all of the city of Monrovia on different media-related issues.
In the Notice of Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order, a copy which was obtained by this paper, it directed PUL’s president, Charles B. Coffey, Secretary General, Daniel Nyakona and the EC chairperson, Jarlawah Tonpo, the PUL Elections Commission and others acting and operating under said authority of Judge Roland Dahn, Assigned Circuit Judge, that they are restrained and enjoined from further proceeding to conduct the elections, until the court determines the petitioner’s request for cancellation of the ensuing PUL elections.
Judge Dahn’s Injunction Order states: “You and all person or persons whomsoever acting directly or indirectly under your supervision or authority are hereby temporarily restrained and enjoined from further proceeding to conduct the elections of corps of officers of the Press Union of Liberia and other election-related activities thereto, until the court shall finally determine the petitioner’s petition which is now pending before it. Or until further notice from the court.”
“And you are also notified of the petitioner’s petition for preliminary injunction and that you are hereby required to appear before this honorable court on or before the 19th day of November A.D. 2019. If this preliminary injunction should not be granted, a Writ of Injunction shall be ordered issued against you.”
The injunction by the Civil Law Court follows a request made by some petitioners for the cancellation of the ensuing PUL election due to gross violation of the PUL’s Constitution and ill-regularities of the process leading to the election.
In the petitioners’ request among other things which is before Judge Dahn, they prayed that the leadership of the PUL would not be allowed to go ahead to conduct the election due to inconsistencies of the PUL’s membership roll.
Another issued cited by the petitioners is the willful violation of the PUL’s constitutional provision establishing a timeline for the publication of the entire membership roll which states that, that should be done within 30 days prior to the holding of the said elections.
Other points raised in the petitioner’s petition was the expulsion of Journalist Sekou Sheriff and noted that it is in violation of Article 29 of the PUL Constitution and the petitioners argued that he was not accorded due process and that the action against Journalist Sheriff was illegal and done with malevolence.
The petitioners also stated that the continuous glaring, deliberate and flagrant constitutional breaches and violations perpetrated by the leadership of Charles Coffey have the inclination to impugn upon the integrity of the PUL and render it a club of cronyism, if left unaddressed.
Additionally, the petitioners stated that those constitutional violations which range from illegal recruitment of individuals who have not been certified by the criteria of being a full member and which states that an application must first be submitted to the Secretary General and subsequently forwarded to the membership committee for subsequent action as guaranteed by Article 18 (a) and circulation to institutional membership, copies of financial reports and statements and comprehensive reports of programs and projects during the stewardship of the leadership for the last three years was not observed and taken into consideration as required by law.
Furthermore, the petition further states and attempt to abort the prerogatives of the Rule of Law and proceed on the contrary to continue recruitment of illegitimate members for the purpose of participating and voting in the ensuing PUL elections, as stated in article 4, section 1 (a) I & II, is unwarranted and would cast aspersion on the integrity of the Press Union of LIBERIA and its accompanying results which would not represent the democratic aspirations of professional Journalist organization.
The Notice of Injunction and Temporary Restrain Order was received by lawyers representing the PUL leadership headed by Cllr. Bobby Livingstone while the petitioner’s lawyer filling the writ for cancellation was Atty. Patrice Weah.
Following the issuance of the prohibition, the PUL’s Election Committee assured members of the PUL that the election will be resumed shortly
Meanwhile, prior to the prohibition, 47 members have voted including the Inquirer’s Newspaper Managing Editor, Atty. Philip Wesseh. Out of the 47 who voted, one was disqualified due to violation of the Election Committee’s rule.
The voter’s name withheld was disqualified by the Committee with consent of the poll watchers after he was caught taking photo of the ballot paper after voting.

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