Liberia: Electoral Body To Hear Expulsion Complaint By Former President

Liberia’s elections body, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to hear a complaint filed by the Standard Bearer Emeritus of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf challenging her expulsion from the party for supporting another party’s candidate.

UPDuring the 2017 Presidential and General Elections it was heavily rumored that
the then President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP) was supporting
Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah.

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf support of  the CDC was a clear
indication that she was against Presidential bid of her  former Vice President Joseph N.
Boakai who lost the 2017 elections after several weeks of court proceedings.

The Standard Bearer Emeritus Johnson-Sirleaf’s support for the presidential bid of
President George M. Weah was concluded on December 26, 2017 following  which the CDC became victorious. Later, the former ruling party, Unity Party (UP) decided in an executive meeting to expel its Standard Bearer Emeritus Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

NEC Liberia
NEC Liberia

As the result of her expulsion, legal counsels representing the former President of
Liberia and former Standard Bearer Emeritus of the Unity Party (UP) Johnson-
Sirleaf  filed a complaint which is now before the Board of Commissioners
alleging that her former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the party Joseph N.
Boakai orchestrated her expulsion from the party.

According to her legal counsels, the former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf terms the
expulsion as a violation of the party’s Constitution and the 1986 Constitution of the
Republic of Liberia.

In the 1986 constitution, Article 20(a) and (b) state that, (A)“No person shall be deprived
of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the
outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this
Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.

Counsels further quoted the country’s Constitution as saying that “…justice shall be done
without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in Courts not of record, under
court-martial and upon impeachment, the parties shall have the right to trial by jury
and; (b) the right of an appeal from a judgment, decree, decision or ruling of any court
or administrative board or agency, except the Supreme Court, shall be held inviolable.

The legislature shall prescribe rules and procedures for the easy, expeditious and
inexpensive filing and hearing of an appeal”.

No date has been set by the NEC for the hearing and argument into the complaint filed.

The Standard Bearer Emeritus along with other members of party executive were
expelled; those expelled included Senator Commany B. Wesseh of River Gee County
and member of the party’s Executive Committee, Medina A, Wesseh, ex-executive
member and chairperson on Publicity Committee and Patrick Worzie, Acting Secretary
General.

The complaint is expected to be heard on Tuesday, February 20, at 2 p.m. in the
Dispute Hearing Room of the Liberia’s Elections Commission.

VP Joseph Boakai

Former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai

The Unity Party executives and the former President were expelled early January
18, 2018 on grounds that they were supporting the candidacy of George M. Weah which
allegedly violated the party’s constitution during the just ended Presidential and
Representative Elections.

The Legal counsels of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are members of the
International Law Group (LLG) alleged among other things that the standard bearer
emeritus expulsion along with other executive members of the party secretly held a
meeting at the residence of former Vice President Boakai with 31 executive members in
attendance, but only 17 voted to which they believe is prejudicial and illegal.

The party’s constitution however, provides that the National Executive Committee shall
require at least 42 votes in favor to acquire the two-thirds majority of the 65 members at
the time of the decision; inappropriately only a majority of 32 were at the former Vice
President’s house when their decision taken against the former executives and the
former President Sirleaf was made.

By Lincoln Barcon in Monrovia

West African Journal Correspondent

Liberia: Incoming National Legislature Selects New Leadership

Monrovia, 16 January, 2018 – In the West African nation of Liberia, less than a week to the inauguration of President-Elect George Weah to succeed outgoing president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, lawmakers on Monday convened the first session of the 54th Legislature where a new corp of leadership was selected.

Speaker Bhofal Chambers
Speaker Bhofal Chambers

Maryland County Rep. Bhofal Chambers emerged as Speaker unopposed while Bong County Rep. Prince K. Moye was elected deputy speaker over Grand Bassa County Rep. Hans Barchue, who previously held that position.

But the election of Sinoe County Senator Albert T. Chie as president pro-tempore astonished political analysts who voiced criticisms that both legislative and executive powers have now gone to the southeast of the small West African nation, since President-elect Weah also hails from Sinoe in the southeast.

But the new President Pro-Tempore Senator Chie of  Sinoe differs, arguing that Weah had been Senator of Montserrado County; an unamusing reality since Weah ran and won and has been Senator for Montserrado County since 2014.

Yet Weah has, at no point, ever denied the truism of his roots in Sinoe County in southeastern Liberia, Senator Chie argued.

Meanwhile, outgoing Vice President Joseph Boakai and former House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay on Monday turned over their offices to their respective successors.

Vice President-elect Jewel Howard praised Dr. Boakai for his fine leadership as leader of the Liberian Senate during the past twelve years, and suggested retention of some of Boakai’s key staff for her start-off, saying “ we will be new to this office”.

Outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

In another political development, barely one week before President Sirleaf hand over power to her successor Weah, executives of the outgoing ruling Unity Party (UP) have expelled the Standard Bearer Emeritus President Johnson-Sirleaf and others including Commany Wesseh and Medina S. Wesseh for what has been described as party “disloyalty and gross violation of its constitution”.

Executives of the ruling Unity Party (UP), in a statement issued over the weekend in Monrovia, accused the expelled members of “campaigning for the CDC.”

But President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf rebuked the action as “illegal”, saying there was not even a due process prior to taking of the action.

Political Subdivision Map of Liberia
Political Subdivision Map of Liberia

Liberians are divided over this strange development as they countdown to a historical democratic transition never seen for more than seven decades since William VS Tubman was inaugurated on 3rd January 1944. President elect George Weah will be inaugurated on January 22nd to succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia