LP Cites Contradictions in NEC ‘Stay Order’ -But Agrees to Postpone Convention as believer in the Law
MONROVIA – In the wake of recent communications flooding the Internet purportedly from the National Elections Commission (NEC) mandating the Liberty Party to halt its convention scheduled for November 4-6, 2022, the Liberty Party has sharply reacted to the said communications, stating that it is perplexed with the NEC’s supposed stay order which among other things contravenes the Liberian and Liberty Party Constitutions. Notwithstanding its stated reservations, the LP has however concurred to postpone the planned Convention based on the fact that it is a party well-grounded in the rule of law.
According to a November 2, 2022 Press Statement, the Liberty Party registers grave concerns over the contents of two communications purportedly from the National Elections Commission (NEC); one from the Office of the Chief Dispute Hearing Officer, Cllr. Muana S. Ville; and the other from the Political Affairs Officer, Ignatius B. Wesseh, requesting a stay on the LP National Convention scheduled for November 4 – 6, 2022, on the basis of a complaint filed against Musa H. Bility and others by Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and others.
“It is unclear whether or not these communications are indeed official communications from the NEC, as they were never served on, or received by, any officer at LP. Additionally, the LP is not aware of any such complaint nor has not received any notification from the NEC about the complaint referenced in the communications,” the LP noted.
Explaining further the confusion caused by the two purported NEC communications, the Liberty Party said, first and foremost, it is yet to ascertain the legal reliance upon which the NEC based its request to stay the Convention, as no such law was provided in either of the communications.
The LP further stated that the planned Convention, which is the new bone of contention for the Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence camp, was previously delayed because it was the subject of a Petition for Prohibition filed at the Supreme Court by Sen. Karnga-Lawrence and others.
“This petition has already been disposed of by the Supreme Court ruling from the then Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, in which the prayer for prohibition was declined and the writ was not issued. In accordance with NEC Regulations, the LP informed the NEC of its planned Convention weeks ago and received confirmation of receipt by NEC. Since then, the NEC has never informed LP of any such complaint filed by Sen. Karnga-Lawrence, much less one relative to the holding of its Convention,” the LP further noted in its statement.
Most importantly, the LP distinctly notes that the NEC Regulations require Political Parties to hold Convention no later than one year prior to Presidential and General elections. The LP Constitution also has the same requirement, in line with the NEC Regulations.
The LP averred that the request to stay the Convention, especially given the prior stated contradictions, is in complete contravention of both the Liberian and LP Constitutions, given that the timing of this supposed NEC request is a clear ploy to disrupt and delay the Convention with the deliberate intention of leaving the LP with no time to seek a remedy before the Convention start date, most especially considering that Thursday, November 3, 2022 is Thanksgiving, which is a national holiday, and the Convention is scheduled to be opened on Friday.
“It can be recalled that Sen. Karnga-Lawrence and others pulled the same stunt when they filed a Petition for Injunction to halt the last LP Special National Convention one day before the Convention start date. Their stunt failed as the injunction was lifted and LP was allowed to carry on with its Convention. As such, this comes as no surprise that they are again making a last-ditch effort to continue to cause chaos in the LP, something they have become well known for.
“The above notwithstanding, and being an institution grounded in adherence to the Rule of Law, the LP has decided to postpone its Convention to allow itself to respond to the supposed NEC request. We will not allow the actions of others, however wrong, to dictate its response. As always, we will continue to follow the necessary legal processes in the handling of this matter. The LP will communicate with the NEC on Friday to verify the veracity of these communications and, if they are indeed official NEC communications, file a formal appeal to the NEC Board of Commissioners and, subsequently a petition to the Supreme Court, if necessary, praying for a dismissal of any injunctive action by the NEC,” the LP stated, while assuring its partisans, Convention Delegates, Convention Observers, and the general public that the Convention will be held in the soonest time possible.