Liberia: 'Cpp Hope Dashed' As Supreme Court Affirms Koung's Victory

12 April 2021
The NEWS (Monrovia)

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The Supreme Court of Liberia appeared to have 'dashed' the hope of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) that was optimistic about its candidate, Edith Gongloe-Weh winning the electoral dispute case of Nimba County against Senator-elect Jeremiah Koung, backed by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

But after months of legal battle, the Supreme Court of Liberia last Thursday affirmed the decision of the National Elections Commission (NEC) declaring Koung as winner of the December 8, 2020 Special Senatorial election.

The High Court immediately instructed NEC to proceed with the certification of Senator-elect Koung.

Delivering the verdict last Thursday, Associate Justice Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie affirmed NEC ruling, ordering the Court Clerk Sam Mamolu to send a mandate to NEC to resume jurisdiction over the case by giving effect to the judgment.

Justice Howard-Wolokollie said "Madam Gongloe-Weh and her lawyers did not provide substantial evidence to prove their case of electoral fraud.

According to her, the certified records in the case showed that the results from the 741 polling places in Nimba County were certified by representatives of the political parties, including the representatives of Madam Gongloe-Weh and made public postings.

She furthered that the incidents of storage of election materials at the J. W. Pearson High School, swapping of votes during entry of election returns which was corrected, casting in cartons, breaking of seals in search of the tamper evidence envelops during tally for preliminary results and the partitioning of District #7 votes between lower and upper Nimba during preliminary counting of votes, did not impact the results of the election announced by NEC.

The Associate Justice added that it is the law extant in the jurisdiction that NEC shall certify elections results, acting in the spirit of the Constitution and ensures that the ballots cast constitute the true will of the people.

Justice Howard-Wolokollie maintained that in the jurisdiction "no election shall declared void on account of any delay of nominations; the polling or return of the writ, or on account of the absence of error of any officer which shall be proved to have affected the results of the election."

Recently, the Board of Commissioners declared Rep. Koung as winner of the December 8, 2020 senatorial election in Nimba County after hearing complaints of fraud and irregularities filed by the CPP candidate.

NEC reported that Rep. Koung won Nimba County senate race with 37,899, which represents 36.12 percent of the votes, while his closest rival, Edith Gongloe-Weh obtained 34,153, which amounts to 32.55 percent of all valid votes counted.

However, Madam Gongloe-Weh and her lawyers challenged the results and took an appeal to the Supreme Court, praying the indulgence of the Full Bench for a recount in Districts #1, #2, #4, #5 & #6 in Nimba County.

Following months of legal exchanges between lawyers representing the two parties, the Court finally ruled in favor of Rep. Koung, bringing to an end the Nimba County electoral saga.

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