Cllr. Johnson Takes Gov’t, NEC To S/Court

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-To Stall NEC Nominees confirmation Hearing

By R. Joyclyn Wea: j.wea@newrepublicliberia.com

Seeking to stall the confirmation hearing of two nominees of the National Election Commission (NEC), Liberian lawyer Cllr. Arthur Johnson has dragged President George Weah before the Supreme Court of Liberia for alleged breach of the Constitution.

Cllr. Johnson is pleading with the high court to prohibit and restrain the Liberian Senate from conducting any hearing or confirming Mrs. Tarplah Reeves, and Mrs. Davidetta Browne-Lansannah, as Co-Chairperson and Chairperson as their nomination is ‘unconstitutional.’

He is also praying the Supreme Court of Liberia to determine the constitutionality of the appointments of Mrs. Teplah Reeves and Mrs. Davidetta Browne-Lasannah as Co-Chairperson and Chairperson, respectively, and declared the appointment of the presidential nominees and confirmation hearings presently being conducted by the Liberian Senate as unconstitutional for the following factual and legal reasons as showed to wit:

The criminal lawyer claimed he is affected by every action growing out of the appointment(s) of the commissioners to head the National Election Commission (NEC) of Liberia and under the public interest doctrine; Petitioner has the legal right and capacity petition the Honorable Court to determine the constitutionality of president’s latest appointment.

The president appointment Cllr. Johnson said violates Titled 11, Liberian Code of Laws Revised Chapter 2, Section 2.2, which revolved around appointment and Tenure of the Commissioners of NEC.

The law states “The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission the Chairman, Co-Chairman and other members of the Elections Commission, and who shall hold their office during good behavior for a period of seven (7) years, effective as of the date of their commission; they may however be removed upon proof of misconduct.”

It can be recalled in July 2020, two qualified females currently holding position at the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia, Mrs. Teplah Reeves, Commissioner, and Mrs. Davidetta Browne-Lansannah, Co-chairperson  while serving their seven years tenure as required by the National Elections Law of Liberia were appointed by the president to serve as commissioner and co- chair

“Petitioner says that when the two NEC officials in persons of Mrs. Teplah Reeves, and Mrs. Davidetta Browne-Lansannah were appointed by the 2nd Respondent, the President of Liberia, their names were forwarded the second time to the Liberian Senate, the 1st Respondent for confirmation as defined in the constitution of Liberia “

Further to Count 6 of his Petition, Petitioner says that the 21st Respondent began the conduct of the confirmation hearings of the two NEC officials, and that process is presently ongoing which is in sharp violation of the spirit and intent of the Elections Law of Liberia as well as the Constitution of Liberia , Articles 53, 54, 55, and 89.

He alarmed that the Act establishing the National Elections Commission (NEC) Law of Liberia and that the appointments of the two nominees fundamentally violate the tenure requirements spelled out in the very Act of NEC Law and also the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.

The appointments of these Presidential Appointees, though they are qualified women competent for leadership positions in this nation, but their present positions at the National Elections Commission (NEC) cannot allow them to be re-appointed in the very and same Commission as Co-Chairperson and Chairperson, respectively while serving their seven (7) years tenure because such appointments constitute effective removal and in violation of the tenure requirement of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Law and the Constitution of Liberia , specifically Articles 54 , 55, and 56, and all state who the President of Liberia can appoint and remove at his will and pleasure. Chapter X, Article 89 of the Constitution of Liberia gives the President of Liberia the appointment powers to nominate commissioners of  NEC , but not the “ will and pleasure” powers that are enumerated in Articles 54, 55,and 56 of the Constitution of Liberia .

Further to Count 5 of his Petition, Petitioner says that not only is the nomination unconstitutional, but also if the Liberian Senate, the 1st Respondent confirms the two nominees in persons of Mrs. Teplah Reeves and Mrs. Davidetta Browne-Lasannah as Co-Chairperson and Chairperson of NEC , respectively, it will undermine the very independence that the framers of the Act of the National Elections Commissions(NEC) Law vision because Commissioners of the Commission(NEC) will effectively work at the “will and pleasure of the Executive “ and this had never been the intent of the framers of the Constitution of Liberia and the Act Establishing the National Elections Commissions(NEC) Law of Liberia .

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