Monrovia, Liberia – The weariness of Liberians over the fate of their electoral process dogged by legal hurdles after four parties sued against results of the first round on 7 October 2017 charging “massive fraud and irregularities” has been settled by the country’s high court.
The opposition Liberty party sued demanding a re-run of the presidential and legislative elections meant to produce a president expected to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was democratically elected, a historic moment since 3 January 1944 when Edwin J. Barclay turned over to William VS Tubman.
Following weeks of legal arguments, the hearing officer at the National Elections Commission adjudged that evidence adduced by lawyers of the Liberty party, the ruling Unity Party as well as opposition Alternative National Congress and All Liberian People’s Party was not sufficient to necessitate a re-run of the poll.
But the aggrieved parties appealed to NEC’s board of commissioners which swiftly upheld the decision. But Liberia’s Supreme Court has now heard and issued a ruling on the appeal of the Liberty Party.
Perhaps conscious of the race to beat the 16 January deadline for inauguration of a new president to avoid a constructional crisis, Liberians are relieved that the court has acted to move to the run-off poll between incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai and opposition leader George Weah who came 28.8 percent and 38 percent respectively in the first round of elections on October 10th.
Meanwhile, public opinion has been divided with youngsters who comprise majority of the population up in arms saying this is the time for Weah who resembles their kind to win while elder citizens on the other hand differ insisting Weah lacks sufficient experience and education to govern Liberia at this time demanding sophistication.
Notwithstanding the protracted court proceedings marked by bitter war of words involving supporters of candidates Weah and Boakai on radio talk shows there has been no reported violence.
The country’s electoral body, the National Elections Commission (NEC) was instructed by the Supreme Court, in its ruling, to clean up the voters rolls prior to the holding of the run-off elections. The NEC has yet to indicate how it will undertake the process and timetable for completion in order to set a date for the run-off elections.
By T.K. Sannah in Monrovia
West African Journal Magazine