The Supreme Court of Liberia has annulled several legislative election results in Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Maryland counties, ordering the National Elections Commission to conduct recount and fresh polls in the disputed regions.
In northern Nimba County alone an estimated 38,500 votes will be recounted following the counts ruling.
The National Elections Commission said Wednesday it will conduct a re-count in 70 Voting Precincts in Electoral District Number Four in Nimba County on Jan. 19.
“This re-count in Nimba County is based on a mandate from the Supreme Court of Liberia. An 18-member team of technicians from the headquarters of the commission has been deployed to assist the Magistrate to conduct the re-count in Nimba County.”
The electorial body will also conduct a re-run in Electoral District number 2, with Precinct Code number 27020, named Old Sodaken Town Hall in Maryland County on Friday, 25 January 2024.
“The Commission informs the public that the re-run in Maryland is also based on a mandate from the Supreme Court of Liberia. Campaign in Maryland County begins today Wednesday, 17 January 2024 and will end on Wednesday, 23 January 2024.
“A 12-member team of technicians from the headquarters of NEC has also been deployed to assist the Magistrate to conduct the re-run in Maryland county.
“Meanwhile, the Commission is inviting all stakeholders, including political parties, local and international observers and the media to witness both the recount in Nimba and to observe the re-run in Maryland counties.”
NEC’s credibility comes into play based on the volume electoral related cases the High Court has reviewed, which points to significant elections mismanagement and organized fraud.
Local and international observers rated the Oct. 10 2023 legislative and presidential elections as free fair and transparent.
President George W speedy and graceful acknowledgement of defeat to rival Joseph Boakai earned the electoral process more plaudits. But the content of the cases show institutional reform including personnel recruitment is paramount before the next electoral cycle.
After hearing cases and making determination Wednesday, January17, the High Court mandated the following recount include Madam Ruth Sawmadal, Coalition for Democratic Change, Representative Candidate, District #2, Rivercess County, Vs. Mr. Steve Tequiah, Independent Candidate declare winner, District #2, Rivercess County; and Juah S. Dennis Representative candidate District #5 of Grand Bassa County and and Mr. Thomas Goswell, Declared winner CPP, District #5 of Grand Bassa County.
The Supreme Court in its Wednesday’s judgment mandated the National Elections Commission to conduct the recounts of the disputed election of the parties involved within seven (7) working days.
The High Court maintained that it having thoroughly reviewed the facts and the evidence and analyzed the laws relevant to the issues raised by the parties, it hereby looked at the overriding objective of the Elections Law is to secure transparent and accurate determination of the results of an election that reflect the will of the electorates; that the appellant having substantially alleged and established that some valid votes were declared invalid and that the Representative Record of the Counts were withheld in two centers, coupled with the alarming number of declared invalid votes in many polling places in District #2, Rivercess County, a recount in the eleven (11) centers alleged in the appellant’s complaint which were testified to and testimonies corroborated, is imperative.
“wherefore and in view of the forgoing, the appellant’s appeal is hereby
granted and the ruling of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) affirming the ruling
of the Hearing Officer of the National Elections Commission (NEC) is reversed,” stated the Supreme Court.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) is hereby ordered to conduct, within seven
(7) days as of the reading of the Mandate of this Court, a re-count in the eleven
(11) centers including the two (2) centers where the Representative Record of the Counts were withheld.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has denied an appeal by Hon. Mary M. Karwor, CDC Representative candidate District #2, Grand Bassa County after she lost the election to Mr. Clarence Tenpenneh, Independent Candidate.
The Supreme Court said madam Karwor allegation does not constitute proof, and unless said allegation is supported by evidence they shall remain mere allegation, because it is evidence alone which enables the court, tribunal or administrative forum to pronounce with certainty the matter in dispute.
In the instant case, the records having established that the appellant failed to provide sufficient evidence to support her allegation of election irregularities, fraud and tampering with elections materials, her request for a re-count and re-run, respectively in polling places specified in her complaint cannot be sustained; and That it is the law, that “for an election to be declared void on account of an elections offense, the offense must be committed by the candidate or by a third party who has the consent and knowledge of the candidate to commit such an offense.
” In the instant case, the appellant failed to establish that the individual in whose vehicle purported ballot boxes were placed was connected to the 2nd appellee, or that the 2nd appellee had knowledge of the alleged acts or that he authorized said acts.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the ruling of the Board of the Commissioners (BOC) of the National Elections Commission (NEC) is affirmed; however, for the reasons stated in the Opinion. The National Elections Commission is ordered to proceed with the certification of Mr. J. Clarence T.Banks as the winner of the Representative seat for District #2, Grand Bassa
The Clerk of this Court is ordered to send a mandate to the National Elections Commission to resume jurisdiction over this case and give effect this Judgment,” the High Court mandated.