Liberia: Boakai Drops Sirleaf's Expulsion Case

... Says they now smoke peace pipe

Lawyers representing former Vice President and standard bearer of the former ruling Unity Party (UP), Joseph Nyumah Boakai on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, told the Supreme Court that the former Vice President has withdrawn his opposition to the reinstatement of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after she was expelled for over a year from the party.

The lawyers explained that Mr. Boakai took the decision after holding discussions and reconciliation meetings with his long-time friend and former boss, with who he served at the helm of national leadership for 12 years.

"After several discussions and reconciliation meetings, we unanimously agreed to resolve our differences by withdrawing our appeal filed before the Supreme Court, challenging the reinstatement of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and three other partisans by the National Elections Commission (NEC) Board of Commissioners," the lawyers said, quoting Vice President Boakai's acceptance of the board of commissioners' decision to withdraw the case.

Immediately afterwards, the Supreme Court entered into a judgment without opinion, where they affirmed the ruling of the NEC Board of Commissioners and subsequently reinstated former President Sirleaf, Patrick Worzie, Senator Conmany Wesseh, and Madam Medina Wesseh to the party.

The reinstatement decision resulted when lawyers representing the parties (Sirleaf and Boakai) filed with the court a joint 'Notice of Voluntary Withdrawal', to which they agreed that their respective clients were aware of, and gave approbation to the voluntary withdrawal of the Bill of Information filed before the Court.

Shortly after leaving the courtroom, Madam Sirleaf's lawyer, Jonathan Massaquoi, described VP Boakai's action as announced by lawyers representing him, as "victory for the opposition UP."

Cllr. Massaquoi said with this judgment, it means that the former Vice President and the former President have truly reconciled their differences, and they can now go about with "political business" in the best interest of the peace and unity the country enjoys.

"This is victory to the rule of law, and that of the UP and its many supporters," Cllr. Massaquoi said.

Massaquoi said that since the UP has respected the law, the rights of the expelled partisans were restored and reinstated into the party.

Some of the arguments against Madam Sirleaf were that she refused to support Boakai during the 2017 presidential elections, which he lost to George Manneh Weah, Standard Bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was in violation of the UP's constitution. Also the UP claimed that the then President Sirleaf's meeting with elections magistrates, and some commissioners of the NEC in the privacy of her home just near the eve of October 10, 2017 elections was "inappropriate."

Other arguments were that behaviors of those expelled constituted sabotage, undermined the existence of the party, and they also violated party rules requiring members to support all UP candidates in the election.

However, Madam Sirleaf maintained her innocence and argued that her January 13, 2018 expulsion decision by some members of the UP was made without the two-thirds vote required by the party constitution.

She 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.

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.

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."

It was that ruling, Boakai and his supporters rejected and announced an appeal before the Supreme Court, which they later withdrew.

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