The Supreme Court, which is situated at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill, Monrovia, is regarded as the final arbiter of justice in the country. The writ seeks to compel the National Elections Commission (NEC), the House of Representatives, and the Executive Branch of the Government to conduct the Representatives ’By-Elections in Montserrado and Sinoe Counties that were supposed to be held on or before October 28, 2020. Associate Justice Jamesetta Howard Wolokollie, who delivered the ruling, said the Writ of Mandamus will not lie against NEC, because the NEC set the By- Elections’ time within 90 days after receiving notification from the presiding officer of the House of Representatives as mandated by the Liberian Constitution, which is regarded as the organic law of the country.
Associate Justice Wolokollie said the House of Representatives notified NEC of the death of Representative J. Nagbe Sloh on September 10, 2020, seventy -two (72) days after his death, while in the case of Representative Munah- Pelham Youngblood was September 10, sixty-four (64) days after her death. Predicated on this, Associate Justice Wolokollie further ruled that the NEC is not in violation of the constitution. "The delay in the conduct of by-elections to fill vacancies in the Legislature negatively impacts and undermines the exercise of the right enshrined in the constitution of Liberia. Institutions of government are therefore obligated to strictly adhere to timeless set by the constitution and other laws for the conduct of by-elections,” the Supreme Court adjudged.
The court ruling was based on the fact that before the filing of the Writ of Mandamus, the House of Representatives had already notified the NEC of the vacancies in the House of Representatives occasioned by the deaths of J. Nagbe Sloh of District# 2 and Munah Pelham-Youngblood of District #9, and therefore, there was no duty left to be performed since the extraordinary writ is not intended to correct the late performance of an official duty. Additional to that, there is no showing of any dereliction or non- performance of an official duty to warrant the issuance of the Writ of Mandamus. It can be recalled that October 8, 2020, the CPP, which comprises of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), and All Liberian Party (ALP), prayed the high court to compel the National Elections Commission, the House of Representatives and the Executive Branch of Government to conduct the Representatives’ By-Elections in both Montserrado and Sinoe Counties on or before October 28, 2020.
The four leading opposition political parties contended in their petition that the Legislature as though gravely unmindful of its constitutional duty and as a demonstration of further disregard for the fundamental law of the country, notified the NEC of the death of Rep. Sloh on September 10, 2020, seventy -two (72) days after his death, while in the case of Rep. Youngblood was also September 10, sixty-four (64) days after her death. Among other things, the CPP asserted that the NEC's “unilateral announcement” without the involvement of the political parties to conduct the two by-elections on December 8, 2020 "is a deliberate, calculated, wanton and vicious assault on the letter and spirit of the 1986 Constitution and with callous disregard for its consequences.”