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...Law Group Petitions Chambers Justice
The Justice and Public Interest Consortium Africa (JUPICA) has filed a petition for a Writ of Prohibition before the Justice-in Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia to halt the special senatorial election.
The petitioners, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus and Atty. Edwin Martin, said the petition is urgent because it is the only remedy available to restrain and prohibit the respondents from proceeding with the conduct of a purported mid-term senatorial election, which according to them, is a violation of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
Cllr. Cephus and Atty. Martin, who filed the petition on behalf of their organization, told Justice Philip Banks that the 1986 constitution neither provides for a mid-term election, nor grants the first and second respondents (NEC) and Government of Liberia the authority or power to do so.
Petitioners argued that the petition is necessary and it is the surest way of averting a serious constitutional breach, because according to them, the respondent's actions and activities for the holding of a 'so-called' mid-term senatorial election in December 2014, is unconstitutional.
Citing Article 83 (a) of the 1986 constitution as reliance, the two lawyers informed Justice Banks that the first respondent (NEC) is relying on the presidential and general elections as a basis for its action, which involves with electing a president, a vice president, senators and members of the House of Representatives.
The petitioners submitted that Article 1 of the 1986 constitution gives the people of Liberia the authority to determine electoral issues in the country.
Petitioners averred that to prohibit the respondents from proceeding with the senatorial election in any manner and form is necessary because the 1986 constitution does not provide for the holding of a midterm special senatorial election while senators are in power; rather, it provides for By-elections when the senators have served their terms and shall have vacated their offices as provided by Article 46 and 37 which state that “the seats of senators of the first category shall be vacated at the expiration of the ninth year.”
In further testament of the lack of interest in the wellbeing of the lives of the Liberian people, petitioners told Justice Banks that the respondents herein, NEC and the Government, despite the alarming deaths toll from the Ebola outbreak, has only been able to earmark and has provided a meager resources of US$5 million from the national budget to fight against the Ebola virus, which according to Cllr. Cephus and Atty. Martin, is nothing more than a 'drop in the ocean.'
Petitioners prayed that the Justice-in-Chambers to grant its petition to prevent the abuse and wasteful spending of precious state resources.