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Liberia: Renegade Lawmakers to Ignore High Court Injunction


Last week, 46 members of the Liberian House of Representatives signed a resolution removing Edwin Snowe as speaker of the House. Snowe took his case to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the process to to remove him was flawed. Now the court has issued a Writ of Prohibition against the 46 members, ordering them to return to the status quo with Snowe as Speaker pending examination of the matter. The Court has also ordered the 46 members to respond to the writ of prohibition by Thursday.

Representative Elijah Seah is one of the 46 who voted to remove Speaker Snowe. He said his group does not intend to honor the court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court can order a subordinate court to return to status quo to stop all proceedings in a pending case. The Supreme Court cannot stop a branch of government from functioning. That in our minds is illegal, and I think the judge in chambers will be in error to want to stop the House of Representatives from functioning for the sake of one person,” he said.

Seah said the issue at stake is that the Liberian people gave Speaker Snowe an authoritative and have decided they no longer have confidence in him. He said the breakaway group does not intend to stop all further proceedings as ordered by the high court.

"The legal team is preparing to see them. But the work of the legislature continues because the write as I told you earlier was served on Honorable Ketterkumahn Murry (chairman of the House Standing Committee on Executive). He will be responding to write on Thursday. Meanwhile the work of the House of Representatives will continue on Thursday until a proper writ is filed against the House of Representatives,” he said.

Seah said said his group would continue to meet as a separate body from Speaker Snowe’s group.

“Under our rules, you only do business when you have a quorum. I doubt it whether Mr. Snowe and the four persons who were with him today will ever a quorum to conduct the business of the Liberian people,” he said.

Seah reiterated that the Supreme Court cannot stop the renegade members of parliament from functioning.

“The Supreme Court, as I said to you, has issued a writ Honorable Ketterkumahn Murry and not the House of Representatives. Our business continues. We had our session today under the gavel of Honorable Armah Sarnor of Bomi County who’s now the chairman on the House Judiciary Committee. In the line of succession, he had the gavel today because Honorable Ketterkumahn Murry we had information that he’s not well so he never attended session today. And so our business continues,” he said.

Seah said it was not the intention of the renegade lawmakers to disrespect the Supreme Court. But he said the highest court will have to file the proper writ in order to get a proper respond from the entire House of Representatives.

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