8 August 2017

Liberia: Police Deploy At Temple of Justice to Curb Imminent Protest

Monrovia — The Liberian National Police (LNP) Monday deployed its officers at the main entrance leading to the Temple of Justice in a bid to curb imminent protests.

The deployment of the riot police sparked concern from several visitors at the court who wondered whether there is an imminent protest.

"These people still want to demonstrate for this one Code of Conduct business, why they can't leave this thing," a female visitor was heard saying.

The move by the LNP comes a week after youth supporting the representative bid of Abu Kamara staged an early morning demonstration in the courtyard last Thursday to protest the rejection of Kamara.

Representative Kamara, a former Assistant Minister of Post and Telecommunications desirous of contesting Montserrado County District #15 seat was rejected by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for breaching the Code of Conduct for public officials after he had applied to the election body.

The Code of Conduct for public officials requests that any Presidential appointee Ministers, Deputy and Assistant Ministers, County Superintendents among others desirous of contesting the elections must resign their respective posts two years prior to the election.

Mr. Kamara claimed that his rejection by NEC on the basis of the Code of Conduct for public officials was done without according him due process to hearing, an action he says violated Article 31 (a) of the Constitution which requires that no one should be deprived of life, liberty except after a due process is accorded that individual.

Representative Kamara then filed a petition to the Supreme Court seeking redress from the high court over NEC's decision to bar him from taking part in the election.

Following hearing the high court ruled and upheld the decision of NEC to bar Kamara because he failed to resign his post as Assistant Minister, even up to the time he filed the petition to the Supreme Court and act the Supreme Court says violated Section 5.1 of the Code of Conduct.

"You are currently serving in the government as Assistant Minister of Post."

if you had resigned your post that could have been a different case, therefore this court cannot issue an alternative writ of prohibition on NEC," said Chief Justice Francis Korkpor who read the opinion of the high court .

The rejection of Kamara by the high court led to criticisms against it from several quarters in the country including the Concerned Youths of Montserrado County District #15 who stated that the action of the high court to reject Kamara was selective as the action affected only Kamara leaving out other Presidential appointees who could have been affected also by the Code of Conduct but was yet vindicated by the Supreme Court to contest the forthcoming elections.

"We have come to the Supreme Court to demand justice for Kamara because the National Elections Commission (NEC) has told us that it was the Supreme Court that told them to reject Mr. Kamara" said Emmanuel Karmo spokesperson of the Concerned Youths of Montserrado County District #15.

Police Spokesperson Sam Collins could not be reached to comment on the deployment of the riot officers in the court premises as his phone was switched off when contacted.

However, a source within the Judiciary Security Service (JSS) has attributed the deployment of the police officers at court yard to the series of protest actions being staged in the courtyard in the aftermath of the ruling from the controversial Code of Conduct.

"As you are aware, we have experienced series of protests here since this Code of Conduct issue was brought here, thereby creating security risks, therefore we are deploying the police to beef up security," said the source who spoke on the basis of anonymity.

Liberia

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