What Happened at Supreme Court Hearing -Inside Accounts of what really transpired

The opposition Liberty Party, a key constituent member of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) that has vowed to unseat President George M. Weah and his governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in 2023, is itself fighting a heightened Herculean battle for its political relevance at the Supreme Court of Liberia. After an exhaustive legal wrangling at the National Elections Commission to establish a perennial leadership question, and prove or quash allegations of the LP Constitution alteration, embattled Chairman Musa Bilty and cohort were dragged by an equally frustrated Political Leader Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and her camp to meet with the Justice-in-Chambers over the weekend. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court initial hearing presided over by Justice-in-Chambers Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie, the conflicting narratives from interested political actors and their surrogates have left the general public more than dumbfounded as to the true picture of what obtained that day. In an attempt to gauge those narratives and leave the rest with the discerning or gullible public, The Analyst presents a kaleidoscope of views, both public and exclusive, on what really happened when the estranged Liberty Party officials met last week.

Taking to social media after the Supreme Court hearing last Friday, Senator Abraham Darius Dilllon who has thrown his weight behind embattled LP Political Leader Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and erstwhile CPP Chairman Joseph Nyumah Boakai, immediately stated his position and understanding of the SC meeting.

“And so the Supreme Court of Liberia, by and through Justice-in-Chambers Her Honor Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie has given a 72hr mandate to Liberty Party to withdraw the contested 2021 Constitution unlawfully deposited at NEC by Musa Bility, to correct and reflect the contents of the Constitution that was agreed and voted at the 2021 Gbarnga National Convention as reflected in the October 2, 2021 Farmington MOU. This means, the altered version at NEC will be withdrawn within 72hrs and replaced by the proper Constitution of the Party,” Senator Dillon stated.

Amplifying Senator Dilllon’s position about outcome of the SC hearing, LP Political Leader Karnga-Lawrence whose position is now being advertised by the Bility camp, had this to say:

“Today, the Supreme Court in a conference with Justice Jamesetta Wolokolie, the justice in chambers, ordered that in 72 hours the Liberty Party 2021 Constitution should be withdrawn, all altered provisions corrected and resubmitted in keeping with the Farmington MOU”.

Wadie Powell is the current Vice Chair for Political and Legislative Affairs, replacing Senator Dillon on the Hassan Bility-led LP faction. Madam Powell, a Bility confidante, has presented her views on what transpired at the Supreme Court hearing last week.

“There is no disagreement on the content of the Farmington MOU but rather on the lawless manner in which the PL (political leader) attempted to effectuate the MOU. The Farmington MOU was an agreement between the Political Leader and the National Chairman in which they both agreed to the terms. However, neither the Chairman nor the Political Leader possess the constitutional authority to commit the Party without the consent of the National Executive Committee, therefore that MOU had to also be approved by the National Executive Committee. In addition, even the approval by the National Executive Committee is subject to final resolution by the Special National Convention. The Political Leader did not want to follow the proper procedure and instead rushed to NEC to “withdraw” the LP Constitution, an action that she has no authority to carry out. Contrary to the claim that the Chairman refused to implement the Farmington MOU, within a week of the Farmington sitting, he called a National Executive Committee to pass on the matter. The National Executive committee DID pass on it and it was slated for final approval by the Special National Convention (SNC). This SNC was held in December 2021 and the body DID pass on the amendments. Immediately after the SNC, LP submitted an amended Constitution, incorporating the agreements from the Farmington MOU, to the National Elections Commission. As a matter of fact the Farmington MOU was the ONLY amendment made to the Constitution in December 2021,” Powell stated.

Based on Mr. Bility’s summation, Madam Powell disclosed on her social media platform that the SC Justice, upon hearing the information that an amended version of the Constitution, encompassing the agreements from Farmington MOU, had been filed with the National Elections Commission, information, surmised that it would seem that the matter is resolved.

“Therefore the Justice in Chambers instructed that the NEC provide evidence of the refiled and amended Constitution to ascertain whether or not the claim made by LP is correct. Said instruction is to be carried out within 72 hours,” Powell reiterated.

Among other things, Wadei Powell said the Justice in Chambers quashed a motion for nullification of the December 2021 Special National Convention; prohibition on all LP activities, and a return to status quo ante that would recall the 2015 Constitution and disregard the amended LP Constitution.

Exclusively, this paper reached out to a number of interested LP stalwarts from the two divides. However, prominent among the myriad of opinions is one from an inside source who was present at the meeting, but claims to speak anonymously.

“Senator Karnga and her team asked the Court to place a prohibition on the Bility camp activities. That was the main reason that took Bility to the court. But the Justice in Chambers declined and did not give them what they wanted. Secondly, they wanted the SC to declare illegal the Special National Convention held in Gbarnga in 2021. But the Justice in Chamber denied the request on grounds that the person who brought the complaint was the same person that presided over all of the activities, which was the political leader.

“They also wanted for the Azango case to be an issue with the SC, but the Justice in Chamber thrashed that, saying that Azango went to the election, submitted to the process and was defeated. They also wanted for the Justice to return the Liberty Party to status quo ante, thereby bringing in the 2016 constitution; which was also denied.

“However, the Farmington Agreement became an issue of subject. So the Justice in Chambers said she could not understand why the both parties went to Farmington and agreed on a specific thing and they didn’t want to implement it. From our end, we said we have been willing to implement, but it is the Political Leader who thinks she can do anything by herself. She nullified the Executive Committee, which she cannot do. That was in the old constitution. We have been willing, but we just felt it should be subject to our internal procedure. When the Justice in Chambers asked if they had not implemented it already, Chairman Bility said it had already been implemented already.     According to Chairman Bility, they went to the Ganta Special National Convention and included all of these corrections that were agreed to in Farmington into our document.

“Bility said the errors that were agreed upon in Farmington, were already in the document. It was at that point that the Justice in Chambers said, bring the document to me for verification, and the both parties agreed. It was at that point we were given 72 hours to bring that document, along with the Constitution. The 72 hours mandate was not just for us, it was for both parties.

“In fact, what was also thrashed out yesterday was when Senator Dillon said there was an attempt to restore all the political leader power, the Justice in Chamber said, we are far beyond that. The other lawyer said, “what came out of Farmington was quite different from what carried us to Farmington,” the Liberty Party insider stated to this paper,” the LP inside source disclosed.

It can be recalled that Liberty Chairman Musa Hassan Bility, in cohort with the National Executive Committee, suspended Political Leader Kargar-Lawrence and key executives for delinquency of dues payment.

In a tit-for-tat gesture, Senator Lawrence expelled Chairman Bility and his key executive supporters, an action that led to Chairman Bility finally expelling PL Lawrence and others, replacing them with other party stalwarts.

According to a release signed by LP Secretary General Martin Kollah and approved by LP Chair Musa Hassan Bility at the time,those appointed were Wadei Powell, Vice Chair for Political and Legislative Affairs, replacing Senator Dillon; and Menipakei Dumoe, Vice-Chair for Press and Public Affairs, replacing Daniel Sando.

Other appointees were Alexander Bealded, Vice-Chair for Auxiliaries, replacing Agatius Coker; and Daniel Gbassagee, NEC Eminent Member, replacing Kla Toomey.

Mohammed Sesay was appointed NEC Eminent Member, taking over from Prescilla Cooper; and Ayouba Kamara, NEC Eminent Member, replacing McCarthy Weh.

Of late, the Musa Hassan Bility camp has advertised the position of Political Leader.

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