EFFL’s lawsuit Puts EO #117 on Hold -Raises Hope for Appointees

MONROVIA – Presidential appointees with electoral ambition who were handed an Executive Order #117 to quit the government on or before April 7, 2023 may have received some form of relief over the weekend when the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) filed a writ of prohibit to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional reliance to take effect and asking for the apex court to void the order.

With this lawsuit, according to some legal experts who spoke to The Analyst over the weekend, the order issued by President George Manneh Weah, for appointees in his government to resign their positions 7 months to the election will not be honored and those who fell in the category will continue to hold their positions while actively pursuing their project which should have been a breach of the code of conduct for presidential appointees with political ambition.

In its lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court on March 28, 2023 EFFL, one of the few new political parties registered by National Elections Commission (NEC) few months ago, said among other things asserted that the bill is counterproductive to the amended Code of Conduct Act, as it is only seven (7)months before the scheduled October 10, 2023 general elections.

“We, request Your Honor to declare the Executive Order #117 illegal and should have no force and legal effect. It is the contention of the petitioner that laws are not retroactive and therefore not applicable to anyone appointed by the President of Liberia of this point in time, since the publishing date December 29, 2022 and the election date October 10, 2023 is ten (10) months and, as such, ten (10) months cannot be equated to one year threshold,” EFFL said.

“It is also the contention of the petitioner that the December 29, 2022 Act amending Section 5.2 and 10.2 of the 2014 Code Conduct has prospective effect and therefore cannot be equated to any governmental appointees in the pending October 10,2023 General and Presidential Election,” the party stated.

Some top government appointees with political ambition to contest various positions in the 2023 general elections who spoke to The Analyst weekend said the lawsuit from the EFFL was a welcome relief and hope that the Supreme Court interprets the bill properly and favorably as it will be a huge opportunity for them to leverage on what is expected of a politician going into a race where money is a major factor that ensures victory at the polls.

“My brother, nothing gladdens my heart more in recent time than the writ of prohibition filed by the EFFL and I just hope that the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia will do the needful to favorably interpret it for us. Imagine leaving the government that provides you the salaries and other benefits, some of which are being spent on achieving your aim as an elected lawmaker and all of the sudden you will be put out of job for 7 good months to the crucial election. God forbid it shall not happen”, an official of the government who said he is running for a representative position in one of the Southeastern counties said.

Another official who said he was appointed in government about two years ago and vying to be a lawmaker from his county described the bill as “anti-people, anti-democratic, and non-competitive” which according to him was meant to stop intending individuals from going against “greedy lawmakers”

“Nothing good was in that bill. It was meant to stop some of us from contesting against non-performing lawmakers because I do not just see any rationale behind the bill. I will be out of a job because I want to contest against a lawmaker who will be receiving all his salaries and benefits. So what is the level playing field they are talking about here?”, he said.

There were some startling revelations last night that some very influential top government officials who said they will not challenge the President’s bill openly have begun subtle moves to amplify public reactions against the bill so that it will be unpopular and may have an impact on what the Supreme Court decides in the lawsuit.

“I will not reveal to you what some of us have been doing lately to save our jobs, to maintain our loyalty to the President and to keep our ambitions alive. Definitely, we have chains of strategy embedded in our Plan B. As I said before we don’t want to come into open confrontation with the President whose confidence we are enjoying and may contest on the ticket of our great party, the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

“So we are telling people about the injustice being done to us through this bill that will not make us to represent our people in the national legislature and the message is resonating with a lot of Liberians, especially the civil society groups whose opinions have always shaped national decision making process and we trust their ability to save not just us but democracy in this country”, an optimistic government official who did not want to be quoted in the paper, said he was running to the senate in the North Western part of the country.

The Analyst check revealed weekend, that only Mr. Moses Kollie, Director General of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority who wants to contest for the senate from Lofa County has openly said he will resign on or before April 7, 2023, the deadline set for officials of government to leave their various posts if they are interested in contesting for any of the elective positions in the ensuing general election.

“Yes, I will resign my position in compliance with the Presidential order as I will be contesting for the senate from Lofa County. My people have asked me to represent them in the Senate and I have accepted the offer”, Mr. Kollie who is the National Chairman of the Liberia People’s Democratic Party(LPDP), one of the constituent parties within the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change(CDC) said.

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