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S. Court Orders NEC To Announce Gbarpolu’s Winner

The Supreme Court of Liberia has laid to rest the long standing electoral dispute following the conduct of the December 8, 2020 election in Gbarma District, Gbarpolu County.
The high court on Wednesday, March 24, ruled mandating the National Elections Commission (NEC) to proceed with the result of the December 8 election in the county so that there is a representation of Gbarpolu at the national level.
On February 24, the Board of Commission ruled in a complaint of electoral violence filed by Alfred Koiwood against his female counterpart Botoe Kanneh of fermenting electoral violence in the just-ended election thus calling for a re-run in the 13 polling places in Gbarma District.
In that verdict, the Board ruled revising its magisterial decision to dismiss Koiwood’s complaint thereby mandating the conduct of a full-scale investigation to establish the causes of the December 8 violence in the county on grounds that an individual cannot cause election violence.
The ruling was objected by the female senator-elect thereby taking an appeal to the Supreme Court to revise the said verdict of the Board of commissioners.
Reading the opinion on behalf of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie agreed with the Gbarpolu County Senator-elect legal team that the NEC lacks jurisdiction to preside over the alleged election violence in the area as it is bordered on criminality and that the Ministry of Justice had already taken cease of the matter.
According to the Associate Justice, NEC committed a revisal error when it ordered the magistrate to conduct a full-scale investigation into the violence to establish preliminary findings to forward same to the relevant authority for onward prosecution.
Justice Wolokollie noted that only the Ministry of Justice had authority or power to probe into issues of violence and that the MOJ is yet to make any pronouncement of those suspected of the December 8 violence in the Nomadatuon Town.
“With the exception of the Nomadatuon Town in Gbarma District, there is no complaint by the CDC Senatorial candidate, Alfred Koiwood, of electoral violence and irregularities in other areas within the district where the election was held,” she stated.
The Associate Justice holds that the dismissal of Koiwood’s complaint by the NEC Magistrate does not in any way violate his right.
On the other hand, the high court ruled that there is no record of the Town Chief of Gbarma District filing a complaint with the election magistrate in the district and that the Town Chief had filed a formal complaint that Alfred Koiwood is not in the position to raise any issue to that effect.
The court further holds that Koiwood also did not file any complaint on behalf of the Town Chief or was he given the authority to do so on his behalf.
This is the second time that the Supreme Court has ordered the NEC to announce the result of contesting candidates declared winners in the just ended elections.

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