News / Africa

Liberia Braces for Possible Legal Challenges to Referendum Results

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

Liberians are bracing for a possible legal challenge to the results of last month’s constitutional referendum.  Voters rejected a proposal to change the residency requirement for presidential candidates from 10 to five years.

This could mean many of the announced candidates in next month’s presidential election, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, may not be qualified to run.

Chief Cyril Allen, chairman emeritus of former President Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party, lost his case before the Supreme Court on the grounds that he was not domiciled in a district in Margibi County and, therefore, could not represent that district.

Allen said his case could serve as a precedent for rejecting presidential candidates who may not meet the 10-year residency requirement.

“My case is a precedent.  I think this is one of the cases in Liberian history that the Supreme Court has ruled on the domicile clause.  And, anyone taking up the case now with the 10-year resident clause will have grounds based on previous rulings. Yes, it is, in fact, very relevant as it relates to the 10-year residency clause. You have to reside in the country 10 years prior to your election.  It must be interpreted by the Supreme Court as that,” he said.

Allen describes the ruling against him as a conspiracy engineered by those he said did not want an official from former President Charles Taylor’s government to run for office.

“There was a by-election in Margibi District, a district in which I reside and have a business and have been operating from for several years.  And, there was a case filed with the Elections Commission that I was not [a] resident…and the Supreme Court ruled that I was not resident,” Allen said.

On the other hand, in 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Representative Evans Koah that he could run for the House of Representatives in Nimba County’s District #6.

Koah said the court ruled that he was domiciled in District #6.

“It was a long ruling but, basically, the court did say that I was indeed domiciled in the district since, in fact, the evidence introduced in court clearly substantiated the fact that I had a residence in the district, the district was where I had been residing and spending all of my time outside of Monrovia, and I was born there and I grew up there,” Koah said.

He said he does not think his case can be a precedent for anyone who might want to challenge the 10-year residency requirement for presidential candidates.

“No, I don’t think the two are the same because that particular proposition [in the just concluded referendum], I think it’s a constitutional requirement to run for the presidency, that one has to live in the country for 10 years, whether consecutively or intermittently.  That part…the legal analysts are still debating it.  That has no connection with being domiciled in a particular district in order to be eligible to run as representative in that district,” Koah said.

It is not clear when and where the first complaint challenging the qualification of any candidate based on the recent referendum results would be filed.

There are suggestions that the Supreme Court may not have “original jurisdiction” and that anyone wishing to challenge any candidate’s qualification may first have to do so with the National Elections Commission.

Some legal analysts argue that the Supreme Court should consider the residency issue as a urgent constitutional matter and immediately address it, especially in light of the referendum results.

You May Like

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid