NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne-Lansanah Question Mark on UP Candidate for Bye election -As NEC Releases Prelims List

There were anxiety and uncertainty hanging over whether the Unity Party will be able to feed a candidate or not in the ensuing Senatorial bye election to fill the vacant seat for Lofa County scheduled to be held on May 10, 2022 when the name of the party’s candidate , Galakpai Kortimai was not included on the preliminary list of those cleared by the electoral umpire and released yesterday, April 13, 2022.
The preliminary list contained the names and particulars of Momo Tarnuekollie Cyrus, Mariamu Beyan Fofana, Joseph Kpator Jallah and George Beyan Samah all contesting as independent candidates and Sumo O. Kupee who is in the race on the platform of the People’s Unification Party(PUP). Kortimai’s name was placed below a line on the list drawn to indicate a demarcation between those who have passed through the preliminary screen and him that was still going through scrutiny.
“Galakpai W. Kortimai of the Unity Party is still before the Nomination Committee’s Scrutiny Panel. Hence, the list of aspirants/candidates for the said Bye-election may increase or decrease as a result of the scrutiny; and/or the outcome by any investigation or learning”, NEC said in the release.
The participation of UP candidate is being challenged by the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) being represented by the Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress at NEC citing the violation of Section 8.5 of the framework document which dwells on the process and conditions for a constituent party to exit the collaboration.
CPP maintains that a party leaving the collaboration without either exhausting the internal dispute resolution mechanism or presenting a resolution signed by 2/3 of its executive committee is in default of the provision and therefore cannot field any candidate in any election until after 2023 when the duration of the agreement might have elapsed. The CPP noted that UP did not execute any of the conditions and therefore it is barred by framework document not to field any candidate in all elections until after 2023.
For the past few days, the Headquarters of NEC has been witnessing political and legal fireworks across the divide, hoping to have a better hand over their rivals. NEC is expected to do the final ruling to give determination on the case.
Though there is a deep sense of anticipation in the air about what becomes of the case, there are strong indications that the case may end up at the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of justice in the country.
Having seen its former candidate and eventual winner of the December 8, 2020, Mr. Brownie Jeffrey Samukai denied on legal grounds from taking his seat, the UP this time around may have been nursing applying another strategy to make sure that no other channel is being used to deny participating in the race that it is sure of winning.
The Former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, recently said that no matter what may, the candidate of the Unity Party in the ensuing Senatorial Bye Election, Galakpai Kortimai will be on the ballot and called on citizens and partisans of UP to remain calm as the legal team representing the party is working with the National Elections Commission to sort out the situation.
Mr. Boakai made the assertion on April 5, 2022 shortly after the Board of Commissioners ruled to deny the petition of Unity party and All Liberia Party to dismiss the complaint of the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP) seeking NEC to stop the UP from fielding candidate in the Lofa County Senatorial Bye election for violating the provision of the framework document of the CPP which states that any constituent party wishing to exit the collaboration should either exhaust all alternative dispute mechanism or come out with a resolution by 2/3 of its executive committee. The CPP maintains that none of the two was ever executed by UP.
“My name is Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Former Vice President of Liberia and Standard Bearer of the Unity Party. Fellow Liberians and in particular our people in Lofa County, I am sure you are following what is happening. We have very competent lawyers who have been representing our interest at the National Elections Commission. Today, according to our laws, they met all the Board of commissioners and I want to assure you that our National Elections Commission has the competence and we have the confidence in them that the right thing is going to be done”, VP Boakai said.
The former ruling Unity Party seems to be looking at the implication if Kortimai is not allowed to contest on the basis of the complaint by the CPP as it will mean that the party will not also take part in the 2023 presidential and general elections next year. Political pundits are of the view that unlike in the case of Samukai where it allowed the government to prosecute him and brought down a conviction, the party may want to take a new direction by exerting some form of radical approach to dissuade the government or any other means to deny the party from fielding a candidate.
The coming days will be decisive for the party.

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