MONROVIA – On Saturday, April 16, 2022, the team of lawyers representing the legal interest of the Unity Party (UP), and the All Liberian Party (ALP) requested the hearing officer to subpoena the clerk of the Monrovia City Court to produce a copy of the subpoena served on Mr. Alexander Cummings regarding the CPP Framework Document of May 19, 2020.
The National Elections Commission Board of Commissioners, however, on Monday denied the two parties’ request on grounds that he lacks such authority to issue a subpoena on the clerk of the Monrovia City Court.
“Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, petitioner application is hereby denied and the hearing officer is directed to immediately resume jurisdiction and proceed as expeditiously as possible in keeping with the law.”
It can be recalled that on April 6, 2022, the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) denied a request from the Unity Party and the ALP opting that the NEC recuse itself from the complaint filed by the ‘remaining fragment’ of the Collaborating Political Parties – the Liberty Party and the Alternative National Congress – because the issues raised can only be validated by the court, hence the case should be dismissed.
However, the NEC Board of Commissioners opined after reviewing their petition, that there was no merit in the issues presented in the petition to warrant judicial review, and accordingly, the Board of Commissioners affirmed the hearing officer’s disposition of those issues without further discussion.
“Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, petitioners’ petition is hereby denied; and because time is of the essence, the hearing officer is hereby directed to immediately resume jurisdiction and proceed as expeditiously as possible in keeping with law,” the NEC Board ruled.
The CPP under the signatures of the truncated Liberty Party and the embattled Alternative National Congress complained that the Unity Party and the All Liberian Party who claim to have exited the CPP, however, were not in accordance with the laid out procedure prescribed in CPP Framework Agreement, therefore, they should not be recognized by the NEC as individual political parties.
The contesting parties also argued that a clause in the CPP Framework Agreement forbids parties who exit the Collaboration from fielding candidates in an ensuing election in their name.
“There have been no official communications from the ALP or UP to either the CPP National Advisory Council or National Executive Committee regarding the said withdrawal. We also learned that both parties have requested the commission to bar the use of their name and logo from the CPP logo,” the communication stated.
However, the Unity Party argues that its withdrawal from the CPP was made public and that its executives were removed from the CPP WhatsApp chatroom upon the pronouncement.
NEC sources have informed FrontPageAfrica that the ongoing case has caused a delay in activities leading to the date for the Lofa County senatorial by-election. According to our source, if not for the case the list of candidates would have been published on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
The feud and animosity among executives and members of the shattered Collaborating Political Parties continue to intensify on a regular basis as evidenced by the latest request made by the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Mr. Alexander Benedict Cummings and the Musa Hassan Bility’s fraction of the Liberty Party (LP) to the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the rejection of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) and the All Liberian Party (ALP) from contesting in the 2023 general and presidential elections.
They indicated in the complaint to the NEC: “Section 8.5 (2) of the CPP framework document states that: Constituent Party desiring to withdraw from the CPP shall first exhaust the dispute resolution mechanism stipulated in the framework document. If the Constituent Party which has satisfied the dispute resolution mechanism is not satisfied with the outcome, it shall file a resolution to withdraw from the CPP signed and duly executed by two-thirds (2/3) of the membership of the National Executive Committee, it is being understood, however, that a party withdrawing from the alliance prior to the next presidential, legislative and local elections shall not field candidates in its name”.