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The Justice-In-Chambers at the Supreme Court of Liberia has brought all electoral related activities of the special senatorial election to a complete halt until matters that have been brought to the attention of the constitutional court examined and determined forthwith. A stay order was issued last Friday by the constitutional court mandating the National Elections Commission (NEC) to halt all campaign activities leading to the midterm senatorial election.
The Decision Followed two separate petitions for the Writ of Prohibition filed against respondents, NEC and the Government of Liberia. The first petition was filed by Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus and Atty. Edwin Martin, while the second petition was filed by the same counsels who filed the first suit thru the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) and some eminent citizens headed by Messrs. Blamo Nelson and Rev. Emmanuel Bowier.
Due To The exigency of the matter, the Justice in Chambers, Philip A.Z. Banks, III., has requested the NEC and the Liberian government to file their returns within the time prescribed by the high court in order to proceed into the case as expeditiously as possible. Meantime, the full bench of the Supreme Court will hear the matter because of the constitutional concerns raised by the petitioners.
The Petitioners Argue that they see a serious constitutional breach for which they decided to file the prohibition. They 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.”
The Stay Order is a sufficient notice to all candidates, political parties and/or sympathizers to refrain from making any declaration or comment that have the proclivity to undermine the process. Supporters must be warned; especially those who are overly enthusiastic about their candidates should restrain themselves from every disorderly conduct and understand that the entire process is at the crossroad. Whether the senatorial election will continue or not, that will depend on the judiciousness and audacity of the full bench which we hold in high esteem.
While Liberians Anticipate the outcome of the case, we call on the high court to reprimand individuals who will make irresponsible comments about their political opponent or the Elections Commission while the electoral process is under the jurisdiction of the court. Liberians must understand that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and whatever it says must be respected and upheld by all parties.