Liberia: Will Supreme Court Decision Repair or Divide Sirleaf-Boakai Relationship?

Lifelong friends and teammates of 12 years, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joe Nyuma Boakai, might be forced to settle their scores in court.

The Supreme Court will today, November 12, 2019, hear oral argument in the Unity Party (UP) expulsion of its former standard bearer, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and four other stalwarts, which result could repair or further divide the relationship among members of the former ruling party, and their former standard bearer.

Today's legal arguments before the Court are complex as they border on briefly summarized arguments as to whether or not refusing to support former Vice President Joseph Boakai, during the 2017 presidential elections, which Boakai lost to President George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was in violation of the UP's constitution, or former President Sirleaf was legally right to meet with elections magistrates and some commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the privacy of her home just near the eve of October 10, 2017 elections, which the party claimed was "inappropriate."

Other arguments are that behaviors of those expelled constitutes sabotage, undermined the existence of the party, and they also violated party rules requiring members to support all UP candidates in the elections, or the January 13, 2018, expulsion decision by some members of the UP was made without the two-thirds vote required by the party constitution.

Initially, the NEC Board of Commissioners (BoC) reversed the ruling by its Chief Dispute Hearing Officer, Cllr. Muana Ville, rejecting the reinstatement argument of the expelled partisans of the UP that included Patrick Worzie, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senator Conmany Wesseh, and Madam Medina Wesseh.

The expelled officials had argued that the action contravened the 1986 Constitution, and the Party's Constitution that calls for due process, and a decision of two-thirds majority votes of the executive committee, which they argued was not respected by those that expelled them.

In that ruling, the NEC's commissioners said, "The January 13, 2018 expulsion decision in this matter, having been made without the two-third votes required by the UP constitution, is hereby declared null and void as having no legal effect upon Mr. Worzie, Madam Sirleaf, Senator Wesseh and Madam Wesseh."

A senior member of the party, who confided in the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity, said that the party will remain divided on how they believe the Court will rule on these contentious issues, and the outcomes are likely to reunite former President Sirleaf, and her former Vice President Joseph Boakai.

The party stalwart believes that, regardless of the result, it is important for members of the UP to be aware of the arguments made by each side, and be prepared for how the opinion (judgment) may impact Sirleaf's/Boakai's relationship, including required updates on policies, procedures, and constitution.

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