It could be recalled that recently, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) filed a petition for a writ of prohibition before the Supreme Court, requesting the court to put a stay order on the January 7, 2021 election activities, but the National Elections Commission (NEC) went ahead and conducted the election. The four centers were delayed as the Town chief of Nomodatanau, McGill Wleh seized the ballot boxes and prevented the election from taking place due to what he termed as illegal voting. The seizure and confiscation of the four ballot boxes resulted to the closure of the polling precinct until the end of the day.
After settling the matter with the Town Chief and residents, the Commission conducted a re-run of the process in that part of the county on January 7, but it has suffered another setback due to the stay order issued by the Supreme Court of Liberia. Justice –In- Chambers, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Youh , in her writ, issued a stay order on all actions, pronouncement and announcement on the election of the affected area(s) of Gbarpolu County pending the hearing and decision of the complaint filed before the Election Magistrate of Gbarpolu County, up to and including the hearing and disposition of appeal by any party even up to the Supreme Court.
According to the petitioner, the NEC failed to investigate the allegation of voter fraud, election violence and irregularities that took place during the December 8, 2020 Gbarpolu Senatorial Election. The lawyer of Candidate Alfred Koiwood of the CDC, Cllr. Arthur Johnson, requested the Justice-In- Chambers to grant the petition for the Writ of Prohibition, issue a Pre-emptor Writ to stay all other proceedings and subsequently issue an alternative Writ against the NEC. Additionally, Cllr. Johnson said Madam Botoe Kanneh, who is the leading candidate, also filed a complaint before the NEC, alleging election violence and fraud, which affected the conduct of the election in the county.
Cllr. Johnson said their action of reaching to the Supreme Court was due to numerous complaints filed on behalf of their client, Rep. Koiwood. It included a motion for change of venue for the hearing of his case before the NEC’s Assistant Magistrate in the Gbarpolu County, Willie Sumo and also the petition for summary proceeding filed before the Board of Commissioners of the NEC. Cllr. Johnson pointed out that they informed the Board of Commissioners to prohibit and correct the alleged illegal conduct of Magistrate Sumo and they also filed a stay order before the board of commissioners against the conduct of the election, but the Commissioners did not address the matter.
The petitioner says the NEC did not accord Rep. Koiwood due process under the 1986 Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, Article 2 and Chapter III, Article 20. It can be recalled that on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh cited the CDC Gbarpolu County Senatorial Candidate, Kiawood legal team and the Commission thru its Chairperson Davidetta Brown- Lassanah to a conference on Friday, January 8, 2021 at the hour of 11:00am in connection with the said Writ of Prohibition.